Open State Foundation

Open State Foundation is spearheading open data and open government in the
Netherlands. It managed within less than a year to open up public expenses data of all municipalities, provinces and waterboards. Openspending.nl is a tool that allows users to make comparisons of budgets with actual spending across years and quarterly periods. With this tool, Open State Foundation showed what unlocking financial data means and looks like. Starting with one borough in Amsterdam, within a year, Open State managed to unlock data of over 200 local governments with financial data covering quarterly spending data of the past four years. The result is that through this work and advocacy, the Netherlands Central Bureau of Statistics will unlock the raw data for all budgets and spending of all municipal and regional governments in the Netherlands. This is a great success since there isn’t a country in which such rich amount of local spending data has been disclosed as open data on such a big scale.

Open Sate Foundation built an Open Culture Data API, which offers an infrastructure to collect, search and re-use combined open culture datasets of Dutch cultural heritage organisations. The community-led Open Cultuur Data API is based on an Elasticsearch engine. This open source technology is used to centrally store the datasets and to make all the data searchable in a universal manner. An extract, transform, load system is used, through which all the different datasets are harvested (the original data always remains available in the API), adjusted, (to support the universal searchability) and eventually saved. All items included are cc0 which makes it for developers easily accessible since they do not have to fear difficult licenses.

Open State Foundation also built a community-led Open Education Data API in which all available Dutch open education data can be found. Although a huge variety of information is being collected from schools until recently this data was hardly open, difficult to find, let alone available for re-use. This API helps app developers with a huge set of open education data and at the same time it stimulates governmental education agencies to release education data faster and in the right formats. A variety of tools were build, such as schooltip.net, 10000scholen.nl, scholenvinden.nl, and scholenkeuze.nl. The various apps have been displayed on an education portal focussed on finding the right school. The portal is used to stimulate discussion among parents about data that they can and want to view. Currently, the various apps help on average 50.000 parents a months in finding the right school and allows them to compare its performance. Since education and job careers have a direct relation, Open State Foundation started also to include job information, vacancies and internship vacancies in the API. It currently organises a challenge for apps which help students with an informed choice of their study and to match the right job opportunities.

Open State Foundation also successfully lobbied the government of the Netherlands to start a government wide data inventory. In a letter to Open State Foundation Dutch Interior minister Plasterk wrote that he aims to have such a government-wide data inventory ready in the spring of 2015. By making these inventories public, networks and communities of re-users can prepare themselves and create applications, which creates value instantly. It also helps, through feedback loops, to improve the quality of government information.

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