National Archives of the Netherlands (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science)

Destruction

Article 3 of the 1995 Public Records Act states that custodians have a duty to ensure that archival records marked for destruction in a finalised retention schedule are properly destroyed. Furthermore, article 8 of the 1995 Archiefbesluit (Decree on Public Records) requires that a declaration of destruction must be drawn up that specifies which archival records have been destroyed.

The declaration must identify not only which archival records have been destroyed, buut also the basis on which they were destroyed and the manner of destruction. The State Archives Service assumes that the declaration will group records into categories. The declaration must also include data on the dates of the records as these relate to the pre-determined retention period. Finally, the declaration must be carefully stored in the organisation’s archive.

The destruction of archival records must always have a legal basis and should only take place on the basis of a finalised retention schedule. Government archival records often remain of interest to the persons referenced in them. It is therefore unreasonable to destroy government information without first undertaking a very careful assessment of it.