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

Government archives

Articles 15 – 17 of the Archiefwet (1995 Public Records Act) state that a custodian transferring documents to a public archival repository may impose restrictions upon access to them. For this, the custodian must seek advice from the manager of the archival repository. The custodian must identify and justify the desired restrictions on public accessibility to the manager of the archival repository, who will respond with appropriate advice.
The Public Records Act stipulates that access may be restricted on a number of grounds:

  • to protect personal privacy
  • to protect the interests of the State or its allies;
  • to prevent any unreasonable preference or prejudice to a person or legal entity mentioned in a document, or to any third party.

Such limitations generally apply for a limited period only. All archival records older than 75 years are publicly accessible. Only in a very few specific cases, for example if the Council of Ministers deems it necessary in the interests of the State, can older documents remain restricted.
When possible restrictions on public accessibility to government records are discussed, the decision must be recorded in the deed of transfer and restricted documents must be specifically listed using their inventory number.