Why do I need an exemption to take part in certain technology programmes?

The UN requires countries to prevent knowledge about producing nuclear weapons and delivery systems (e.g. ballistic missiles) from falling into the hands of North Korea. Dutch universities and knowledge institutions offer knowledge and expertise that could be used to produce nuclear weapons and delivery systems, such as ballistic missiles. Anyone wishing to pursue studies or conduct research in certain specialist fields must therefore apply for an exemption.

Without this exemption you will not be able to start your degree programme, graduation research or scientific research in these subject areas. These restrictions entered into force in November 2013.

Which subject areas does the exemption apply to?

The North Korea Sanctions Order 2017 lists the general subject areas for which an exemption is always required. An overview has been drawn up of the subject areas this applies to at each university.

• The overview describes the area or areas for which an exemption is required as specifically as possible. This is set out in article 3, paragraph 1 of the North Korea Sanctions Order 2017. New subject areas may be added to the list in the future.

The exemption is required for the following specialisations and research groups at Delft University of Technology:

At the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering:

  • Experimental and theoretical research in hypersonic aerodynamics
  • Re-entry technology
  • Control systems for guidance navigation
  • Launching and payload structures.

At the Faculty of Applied Sciences:

  • Physics of nuclear reactors
  • Specialised knowledge about the design and operation of the reactor hall of the HOR research reactor

At the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering:

  • Microturbine technology
  • Use of materials at extremely high temperatures

At the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science:

  • Radar-based missile guidance.
  • Student projects that involve studying rocket and missile technology, including the DARE – Stratos student project.

The exemption is required for research and graduation projects concentrating on nonlinear material modelling, algorithm development and nonlinear analysis and optimization of structures and processes at the University of Twente.

The exemption is required for research and graduation projects in the field of materials technology at Eindhoven University of Technology and for participants in student projects at Eindhoven University of Technology that involve studying rocket and missile technology, such as the PR3 Space student project.

The exemption is required for research and graduation projects involving experimental and theoretical research on materials engineering at the University of Groningen.

Who is required to apply for an exemption?

This exemption requirement applies in particular to MSc students, PhD candidates and research staff who wish to:

  • Enrol in a degree programme or conduct research in one of the aforementioned areas of education or research; or
  • Take part in a student project as described above.

However, the scope of the requirement extends to all those in a position to acquire ‘specialised knowledge’. This acquisition of knowledge can also occur in the course of practical work, for example in a reactor room or in the context of extracurricular activities.

How do I apply for exemption?

You only need to apply for exemption once. You can apply by completing this Ministry of Education, Culture and Science form and emailing it to OCW-loket_kennisembargo@minocw.nl. Sending your application via e-mail may contain risks regarding privacy. You can also send it by mail to:

Ministerie van OCW
T.a.v. ‘OCW-loket Kennisembargo’
Postbus 16375
2500 BJ Den Haag

A special working protocol applies. The protocol explains what documents you need to attach to your application and the procedure that will subsequently be followed. Your application will be assessed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. It will assess the risk of knowledge being used for the North Korean nuclear programme and delivery systems.

The ministry generally decides on applications within 3 weeks, but the process may take up to 13 weeks.

The ministry may decide on the basis of the application that further investigation is necessary. This may include an interview at the Dutch embassy in the country where the applicant lives or at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague.

Please note: the information you provide may also be used to monitor students and research staff with a possible relation with the Iranian ballistic rocket program in certain subject areas.

Why is an exemption necessary?

The exemption is required for certain areas of education and research. This is the result of a decision by the United Nations Security Council (resolution 1874). The United Nations prohibits countries from directly or indirectly making knowledge available to North Korea that could be used to produce nuclear weapons and delivery systems.