Digital Media Literacy: Netherlands

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Misinformation / DML Prevalence: Netherlands

The following examples of high profile misinformation or disinformation related events and reports in the Netherlands were identified. The events have been entered from row number 5 to 11 in the "1 - Misinfo / DML Prevalence" tab of the "Misinfo & Media Literacy: Research Plan (Netherlands)" spreadsheet and can be accessed at this link.

Example #1

  • Publication date: It was published on June 2019.
  • Summary: This media article describes how a Dutch teen author's death was incorrectly reported by international media as legal euthanasia.
  • Key data point: The story alleging euthanasia was initially published in Euronews and then in the British newspaper the Daily Mail. Later it was re-written and republished by several media houses across the globe and in multiple languages. This indicates how fake news can spread very easily from a single source.

Example #2

  • Publication date: It was published on May 2019.
  • Summary: This media article mentions research done at Leiden University on fake news and describes how most Dutch fake news originate from inside the country.
  • Key data point: Righ-wing extremists spread the most disinformation and try to hide their actual nature and identity on social media.

Example #3

  • Source title: Dutch Media Literacy Week 2018: the highlights
  • Publication date: It was published on December 2018.
  • Summary: This survey work carried out by the Dutch Safer Internet Centre found that low digital media literacy is prevalent in youngsters, particularly those with mild intellectual disability.
  • Key data points: Two third of youngsters in the Netherlands don't know how to use media properly, while 40-45% of youngsters in the 10-12 year age group are unable to recognize fake news or fake profiles.

Example #4

  • Publication date: It was published on March 2018.
  • Summary: This research paper published by the Open Society Institute — Sofia assesses and ranks the resilience of 35 European societies against fake news and propaganda through the "Media Literacy Index — 2018".
  • Key data point: The report found the Netherlands as the second most media-literate nation in Europe in 2018, with a Media Literacy Index of 71.

Example #5

  • Source title: #DigiTuesday — Nation-wide Dutch study on children's digital literacy in the classroom
  • Publication date: It was published on September 2019.
  • Summary: The Dutch Safer Internet Centre conducted this survey on digital literacy progress in primary schools in the Netherlands.
  • Key data point: The survey found that 56% of Dutch teachers think their school doesn't intend to make its students digitally literate.

Example #6

  • Source title: Iene Miene Media 2018 (The post is in Dutch and Google translate was used to comprehend the contents of this post)
  • Publication year: It was published in 2018.
  • Summary: The Iene Miene Media survey of 2018 concentrated on the questions faced by Dutch parents regarding media use in families with young children.
  • Key data point: The survey found that more than 40% Dutch parents want to know how they can make their children more digitally literate.

Example #7

  • Source title: Russia spread fake news during Dutch election: report
  • Publication date: It was published on April 2017.
  • Summary: This media article mentions a Dutch intelligence service report on Russia spreading fake news during Dutch election.
  • Key data point: According to the Dutch intelligence agency, the threat from Russia to the Netherlands is higher than the previous years.
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DML Government Actions: Netherlands


While the Dutch government does not have an official government strategy related directly to digital media literacy, this issue as well as the challenges of digital media misinformation were addressed in several ways; through related government initiatives, educational and social programs, and digital inclusion initiatives. In the attached spreadsheet is data on the most notable actions and decisions the government of the Netherlands has taken over the past five years, in order to either response to digital misinformation or to improve digital media literacy. Below is a written summary of these findings.


  • While there is no official national strategy on digital media literacy in the Netherlands, the Ministry of Education is the organization responsible for national policy on media.
  • In order to promote media literacy, the Ministry of Education established, a network of organizations focused on all areas of media, including digital literacy initiatives.
  • Mediawijsheid is a Dutch media literacy website for schools, also established through the Ministry of Education.
  • The Dutch government is collaborating with scientific councils in order to determine the impact of digital media and data accuracy on democracy, and develop strategies accordingly.
  • The Netherlands are also exploring the impact of digitization on government systems, in order to design strategies to protect democratic processes.
  • The Dutch government is making an effort to utilize open data and personal data security education to best analyze how increasing access to information can be used to better society and promote data driven decision-making, via the National Data Agenda.
  • In late 2017, the Dutch government supported their stance against fake news and foreign meddling as they approached an election by meeting with a number of media and social media companies and teaming up with the European Commission to prevent the spread of fake news.
  • The Dutch government also created "an online awareness campaign and implemented stricter standards for political advertising on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter ahead of the local and European elections in May 2019".
  • In March 2019, the Dutch government launched a campaign, ‘Stay Curious. Stay Critical’, to raise awareness of disinformation and to teach people digital media is filtered, and how algorithms can create biased news.
  • The Dutch government also reserved €20m to be spent over four years to support investigative journalism, with a partial focus on digital media accuracy.
  • Another project, Mediawise, shows migrants how to use media and process information effectively.

Research Strategy

In order to gain insight into the actions the Dutch government has taken over the past five years to focus on digital media literacy and empower technology users to identify misinformation, your research team began by exploring government publications and government websites focused on digital initiatives. Data released by the European Commission was also explored, which focused on Dutch policies as compared to the EU as a whole. After this, government supported but independently funded initiatives such as education and social organizations were explored, to understand how the government has played a role in these external initiatives. Actions considered most notable and worthy of inclusion were those that had the most current impact, or the most projected impact as related to their government or large organizational support.

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DML Players, Part 1: Netherlands

According to the European Commission, some of the key players in the key players in the digital media literacy space in the Netherlands are The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, the Information Society Platform, the National Library of the Netherlands, the Expertise Center for ICT in Education, and the Dutch Public Broadcasting Company, NPO. We have provided the requested details for each of the players in the “3 - DML Players” tab of the attached spreadsheet.

Summary of the Findings

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DML Players, Part 2: Netherlands

Five more key players were found and added to the attached spreadsheet. They include, Mediawijsheid, the Media Literacy and Empowerment Centre, the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and the Council for Culture.

Key Players

  • is the center of expertise in the Netherlands on digital media literacy. It functions as a national network of organizations that work in the media literacy space. It was established in 2008 and has over 1,100 organizations in its network, including the following core organizations: the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, NIBG; ECP, an information society platform; the National Library of the Netherlands Institute for the Public Libraries Sector; Kennisnet, a center of expertise for ICT in education; and NPO, a Public Broadcasting Company.
  • Mediawijsheid is an organization and website that provides information to the public about ways to stay media wise. It is intended for all people in the Netherlands: children, youth, adults, and the elderly.
  • The Media Literacy and Empowerment Centre is a consortium of social scientists based at Radboud University that work in the digital media literacy field. They work to produce research that informs and empowers the public as well as research that can inform policy around digital media.
  • The Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is the national government body that has the responsibility for creating policy around media and digital media. They create policies and conduct activities that help Dutch people consume media more wisely. For example, they created the Kijkwijzer program to help inform parents about whether different forms of media are appropriate for their children.
  • The Netherland's Council for Culture is a body of advisers established by Dutch law to advise the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science on cultural policy, including media issues. For example, they've provided advice about the future of public broadcasting in the Netherlands, which includes advice that relates to digital media literacy.

Research Strategy

The research team found 5 key players, but some of these organizations only had information on their website in the Dutch language. We used Google Translate to access the information on those pages in English. Where noted on the spreadsheet, quotes from websites are the English translation of the original Dutch.
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DML Initiatives, Part 1: Netherlands

Initiatives in the Netherlands in support of DML include the Network Media Literacy, a collaboration of multiple public and private entities dedicated to improving DML;, a site dedicated to providing a framework for DML to the public and a site supporting school teachers in delivering DML. Full information is available here.

Media Literacy Network

  • Media Literacy Network was established as a project in 2008 on the initiative of the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science. More than 1000 organizations, companies, independent professionals, and institutions are members of the network, all active in the field of media literacy.
  • "Think of Information Computer Technology (ICT) companies, libraries, cultural institutions, media coaches, learning materials developers, publishers, research institutes, media producers and platforms, educational institutions, and care and welfare organizations. Our joint mission: the Netherlands media-wise. Network Media Wisdom plays the role of connector, signpost, and pacemaker."
  • Began in 2008 and has continually expanded since then. In October 2019, the site for this initiative had 16.6 thousand hits.
  • "Network Media literacy is managed by five leading organizations in the field of media literacy:
— Dutch Institute for Image and Sound
— ECP | Platform for the Information Society
— Human
— Kennisnet
— Royal Library"
  • Like any entity with multiple managers, it can be challenging reaching consensus.
  • It also requires expert management skills to manage the complexity of a network of this size and diversity.
  • "There is no national strategy on media literacy and safe use of new media, but the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science is responsible for the national policy on media. The federal government helps parents and educators to educate children in dealing with media."
  • It is good to point out that in the Netherlands, media literacy, according to the definition used here ("the ability to access media and to understand, critically evaluate, create and communicate media content") is called 'mediawijsheid,' which translates into media wisdom."

  • " aims to provide all Dutchmen with a framework they can use to become more media literate to increase their full participation in society. Being 'media literate' means possessing the knowledge and skills to be able to function consciously, critically, and actively in a multi-media world."
  • " is an expertise center that links the activities of various organizations in the area of media literacy and promotes cooperation between them."
  • This is a sub portal of the main site described above. Unfortunately, a breakdown of the number of hits for the sub portal is not available to the public. Therefore, all we can say is that in October 2019, this site had 16.6 thousand hits.
  • "More than 1000 network partners bring together knowledge, expertise, and inspiration in the field of media literacy."
  • This site seems to be working well. The resources look useful, and the usage rate reflects that.

  • This site provides information for school leaders and school boards on how to give media literacy a permanent place in the school.
  • Two examples: (1) The brochure 'Media literacy at primary school' (Mediawijsheid op de basisschool) in which 21 teachers tell about their successful digital citizenship lessons; (2) The brochure 'Media literacy for school boards' which provides advice on how to make schools media literate.
  • A lot of instructional lesson material about digital citizenship is available. The Mediawijsheid website provides an overview of all available materials. They post lessons for various educational institutions, from child care to primary, secondary, higher, special, and vocational education.
  • "Seven different categories of videos, including for parents, for schools, about social media, and more. In the social media section alone, there are 13 DML topics like healthy online, digital detox, online radicalization, fake news, online manners, sexting, and influence of the media. This site averages about 100 hits per month."
  • A site to help school boards and principals give digital media literacy a prominent place in the curriculum of the school is an unusual and yet valuable idea. This information targets decision-makers in a way that is different from many other European countries.
  • While there are no apparent pitfalls, the minimal number of hits could indicate it is not meeting the needs of its target audience. The low number of website hits may also be because the school boards access the database directly from the host server, and requests do not go through the website.
  • According to, reading skills are essential for media literacy. Libraries play an increasingly important role in stimulating, supporting, and facilitating Dutch people in the area of (new) media. They will become the houses of media literacy.
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DML Initiatives, Part 2: Netherlands

Two DML initiatives in the Netherlands are the Media Literacy Competency Framework, used to track learnings by students and MediaMasters, an award-winning game for 9-16 year old students to learn DML. Full details can be found here.

Media Literacy Competence Model

  • "The Media Literacy Competency framework's goals are to achieve the following competencies:
— To have insight into the "medialization" of society
— Understand how media are made
— See how media colors reality
— Use devices, software, and applications
— Orientation within media environments
— Finding and processing information
— Create content
— Participate in social networks
— Reflect on your own media use
— Achieving goals with media"


  • "A game for children between 9 and 16 years in using social media responsibly and constructively. MediaMasters stimulates the dialogue between students, parents, and teachers about social media, commercials, information skills, programming, games, cyberbullying, video blogging, imaging, virtual reality, and online behavior."
  • "By playing the game, students build up basic knowledge about media literacy. How do you deal media wise with WhatsApp, privacy, cybercrime, and fake news? Pupils take on the media mode challenges together in the classroom and at home and join their media mode forces to complete MediaMissies."
  • This game won the Evens Price for Media Education in 2015 as the most successful European initiative for children between 9 and 16 years old
  • This is the first award-winning game for children found in DML research.
  • It is difficult to determine potential pitfalls without playing the game.
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The Future of DML, Part 1: Netherlands

According to the findings discovered by professors, university researchers, and public organizations detailed within the attached spreadsheet, the Netherlands has placed DML (digital media literacy) as a high priority in current and future curriculum for all students. Despite the high prioritization, there is still a lack of organization and collaboration amongst the developers of these programs, and the nation still faces problems regarding the education of marginalized groups, including migrants.

The future of Digital Media Literacy in the Netherlands

  • Although there are no official national policies or requirements regarding media literacy for students, educators and schools are already working to improve the digital citizenship of their students to improve their responsible use and intake of digital media.
  • Through active engagement of migrants in the development of media, their literacy, understanding, and general participation in digital media can increase.
  • Future educational programs focused on media literacy need to be flexible and context-aware when it comes to empowering migrants or other marginalized groups. Essentially, in developing these programs, there is a need to move away from the "one-size-fits-all" approach.
  • Media literacy is a high priority in the Netherlands, which has led to the development of several in-class programs that help students identify "fake news" and disinformation.
  • There is fragmentation or a "scatter-shot" approach that needs to be refined in the organization of programs, developers, and organizations regarding digital media literacy in the Netherlands.
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The Future of DML, Part 2: Netherlands

Digital media literacy campaigns are gathering momentum and success in Netherlands. The concept and its practical use are now being incorporated into the national school curriculum as well. Five additional insights around the future of digital media literacy in the Netherlands are detailed in the “5 - DML opinion / commentary” tab of the attached Google document.

Five Additional Insights/Online Commentaries: Future of DML in the Netherlands

  • The digital media literacy skills are not sufficiently included in the school curriculum in the Netherlands. An effort to include digital literacy, defined as "a combination of ICT skills, media literacy, information literacy, and computational thinking", into the curriculum started in 2018. This will be implemented in 2022.
  • In the country, the young generation has difficulty with evaluating the credibility of digital information. Schools in the country are not teaching digital skills to the students. Young people learn them on their own and hence they need support in this field.
  • In the Netherlands, there is a gradual growth in the number of digital media literacy initiatives. These initiatives mainly have been implemented by a few individual enthusiasts. The media literacy education in the country should focus more on developing skills such as critical thinking, and participatory skills.
  • The young refugees coming to the Netherlands are in urgent need of media literacy education. They are finding it difficult to decide which news or information to trust and "which opinions to follow". The consequence is that they make poor judgments that impair their survival in a foreign land.
  • In today's social context of the Netherlands, a research paper observes that digital media literacy is equally important as traditional literacy. This report defines digital literacy as inclusive of information and media literacy. It is also stated that there are different kinds of digital literacies, including several "attitudes and perspectives" on information and communication, to be considered while talking about the term.

From Part 07
  • "There is no national strategy on media literacy and safe use of new media, but the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is responsible for national policy on media. The national government helps parents and educators to educate children in dealing with media."
  • "Opinions about migrants and particularly refugees are commonly formed on the basis of visual representations. Through consuming stereotypical news images “most of us have a strong visual sense of what ‘a refugee’ looks like” (Malkki, 1995, p. 10). Dominant visual culture, however, often emphasizes refugees as others and “objectifies them, dismissing their historical, cultural and political circumstances” "
  • "While growing up in Syria during the civil war (2011-now), young people like Jad experience a complex media landscape shaped by propaganda and rumours. Demonstrating resilience, Jad developed a critical awareness of misinformation."
  • "the hunger towards clicks, likes and sensation (and the ad revenues that come with it) is taking us further and further away from what news media is supposed to do: to give us insight into what is happening around us, and what is happening in the world. Often, the extremes are highlighted in media more than the middle-voice, and everyone is a newsmaker nowadays."
  • "Experts have therefore long felt that there has been merely a “scattershot approach”, in other words that media education is provided with good intentions but without any coordination, and that it is not always effective."
From Part 08
  • "Based on the outcomes and the ongoing debate, the Netherlands started the development of a new curriculum framework for primary and secondary education in 2018. One of the new themes in this curriculum is digital literacy, which is defined as a combination of ICT skills, media literacy, information literacy, and computational thinking. "
  • "the increasing digitization of information and communication in society requires new skills that should get more attention, but that these skills (Digital Literacy) are not getting sufficient attention in education. Other discussion topics such as 21st century skills, equity, and the perceived overload of the current curriculum led to a broad national discussion about the future of education in the Netherlands."
  • "Young people are less digitally skilled than they think, and one of the things they struggle with is evaluating reliable information. This is concluded in two complementary research studies that were published at the start of the campaign: the "Monitor Jeugd en Media" (Monitor Youth and Media) and "Vanzelf Mediawijs?'"(Media literate by itself?) 2017. Furthermore, the studies show that school now only plays a small part in teaching digital skills, and that young people develop their skills in their free time and experience little challenge."
  • " Admiraal (2015) notes that in the Netherlands, the development of students’ reflective internet skills is not addressed directly in schools, leading students to develop these during their free time or in the course of other school assignments. The author observes that studies on internet skills among secondary school students show that although students generally possess the technical skills required to use the internet, they demonstrate a low ability to critically evaluate internet sources and awareness of their online audience (Ibid.). This shows that frequent use of the internet does not automatically lead to increased reflective competences. "
  • "And these children are not just crossing physical borders, but are shifting into the heightened technological spaces that all EU youth probably take for granted. It has been estimated, for example, that 83% of young people across the EU use their smart phones to access the internet – and generally use fairly up-to-date kit."
  • "From our findings, it’s clear that media literacy education is essential for these young people and their mentors. Indeed, for any teenager in the EU, popular apps and platforms are useful resources for learning new things, finding relevant information or simply as a way to connect with other young people. But as a refugee in a new country it can be hard to know how to access such help."