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

Retention schedules: regulatory issues

Article 5 of the Public Records Act (Archiefwet) obliges custodians to develop retention schedules. Finalised retention schedules form the legal basis for destruction or transfer of records. Retention schedules are finalised following a procedure involving both the custodian and the Director of the State Archives Service. Retention schedules are valid for a maximum period of twenty years.
An important aspect is that the retention schedule must support appraisal of archives that are already created, as well as archives that have yet to be formed. This is particularly important in the case of digital information management. If the value of a digital record is already explicit at the point of creation, then steps can immediately be taken to ensure its preservation and accessibility into the future. Yet if the value of the records is not known, far fewer of the important aspects of the records can be identified and appraised.

Retention schedules also support the interests of citizens. More information is available in the section on 'Appreciation and Appraisal'.