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

Requirements for retention schedules

Obligations concerning the formulation of a retention schedule are laid out in articles 2 to 5 of the 1995 Decree on Public Records. The following requirements concern the form and content of a retention schedule:

  • The schedule should have a title that clearly indicates which public body the retention schedule concerns
  • The schedule contains an overview of the tasks of the public body
  • The main body of the schedule contains a systematic overview of the categories of archival records to be preserved and destroyed.
  • The schedule should identify when destruction of records marked eligible for destruction should actually take place
  • Categories should be established, though this can be done in different ways, for example:
    • by identifying different categories for groups of records which have similar types of content
    • by identifying policy areas and herein the associated actors, tasks, and business operations.
    • By identifying policy areas and herein the information flows in which archival records fulfil a function.
  • The schedule should include an explanation to justify the methods used to compile it, including:
    • The role of the public body
    • The relationship of the public body to other public bodies
    • The value of the archival records as part of the Dutch cultural heritage.
    • The importance of the information in the records to public bodies, for researchers seeking legal and evidentiary information, and for historical research.
  • The explanation should include an account of the three-way discussions that took place in formulating the schedule and an account of the procedures followed.