Netherlands wins fifth place in international Open Government Awards

The municipality of Tilburg’s MijnWOZ scheme has won the Netherlands fifth place in the first Open Government Awards, presented at the Open Government Partnership meeting in New York. The Netherlands was represented by foreign minister Frans Timmermans, who joined government leaders including President Obama in calling for governments to be open and more transparent.

First place in the Open Government Awards 2014 went to Denmark, where each municipality has its own council of senior citizens who directly influence decision-making in local government. The project explicitly focuses on digitisation and getting senior citizens involved. 

The Dutch entry, MijnWOZ, was devised by Tilburg municipality to give homeowners greater insight into how the value of their property is determined under the Valuation of Immovable Property Act (WOZ). Homeowners can see the markers the municipality uses in calculations and, importantly, can correct them online. MijnWOZ not only gives the public better understanding of how decisions are made; it has also resulted in a 40% drop in objections.

In the Netherlands, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is working with other government organisations to improve openness, giving members of the public more opportunities to contribute to government policy. ‘Internationally, the Netherlands is at the vanguard of open government,’ said interior minister Ronald Plasterk. ‘This autumn we will be making more open data available and encouraging members of the public and the business community to use it. Just look at the success of MijnWOZ: being open to people’s ideas can really improve the service we offer.’