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Country overview Netherlands

Date added: July 5, 2017

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Citizen engagement in the Netherlands is formalised at both national and local levels. The legal avenues for citizen engagement at the national level consist primarily of agenda-setting and advisory direct voting mechanisms such as citizen petitions and referenda. At the local level, citizens have a more diverse array of opportunities to engage in policy development. Yet, the availability of these opportunities depends on local administrative arrangements and as such it varies from place to place.

This report aims at providing an overview of the normative and institutional state of art of ICT-mediated citizen participation in the Netherlands. The first section provides an overview of the political and civic liberties framework in the Netherlands. In the second section the landscape of ICT mediated citizen engagement is mapped. In the third section, the report engages with the implications of technology mediations for deliberative democracy and transformative citizenship.

The findings of this report suggest that the Dutch e-government framework remains focused on service-provision, missing out on opportunities to foster the creation of ICT-enabled civic infrastructures that would enable citizens to engage in the governance of their lives. Furthermore, in addressing citizens mostly as consumers of digital governmental information or of online public services, this policy framework encourages the development of individual-centred information systems, ignoring the community-building potential of ICTs.

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