[FSFE PR][EN] Dutch government hands over education's keys to Microsoft

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Mon Nov 7 10:23:55 CET 2011

= Dutch government hands over education's keys to Microsoft =

[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/2011/news-20111107-01.en.html ]

The Dutch government wants to tie the country's schools to a single
software vendor for years to come. Dutch students using Free Software or
devices without Silverlight-support will find themselves locked out of
schools' online systems due to the use of proprietary technology and
closed standards. Marja Bijsterveldt, the secretary of education,
recently said that she is unwilling to enforce the Dutch government's
own Open Standards policy on educational institutions[1]. Instead, the
government will accept long-term vendor lock-in of educational

For Free Software advocate Jan Stedehouder this emphasizes the need for
a stronger and more robust Open Standards policy framework. Therefore
Stedeholder initiated the Dutch campaign to make the use of Open
Standards mandatory in the public sector and to ensure vendor-
independent access to all online service of publicly funded

The organisations and individuals supporting the campaign demand:

- to strengthen the Dutch action plan "Netherlands Open in Connection"
  by making the use of Open Standards truly mandatory for all publicly-
  funded institutions
- to make vendor-independent access to all online services and
  information mandatory for all publicly-funded institutions, in this
  case, educational institutions;
- to promote innovative education in IT-skills by broadening the
  educational program with vendor-independent skill-sets.

"The policy framework approved by the Dutch Parliament in 2007 was an
important, internationally acclaimed achievement", says Stedehouder.
"But political barriers have meant that this policy hasn't been
implemented. As a result, students, future knowledge workers, are still
locked in proprietary technology."

Stedehouder highlights that students who complain about being locked out
of their school's system are being advised to buy the proprietary
Microsoft Windows operating system. "This behaviour is not only
unacceptable but also illegal. Our campaign aims at passing new
legislation to ensure the mandatory use of Open Standards in education,
to make sure that students have access to the free technology they
deserve", says Stedeholder.

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) supports the Dutch
campaign[2] which is gaining traction and has received endorsements by
NLLGG[3], LPI Netherlands[4], NLUUG[5] and HCC[6], and almost 900
individuals. The Dutch parliament shares the disappointment with the way
the Open Standards policy framework is implemented in education. Mark
Lamers, coordinator for FSFE Netherlands, says: "Now it is time to act
for everybody who is in favour of a free competition in the software
market, and of course all Free Software advocates: Support this

"Though this problem is all too common around the world, the Dutch
government's stance is particularly disappointing", says Karsten
Gerloff, president of FSFE. "The Netherlands have some of the most
progressive policies on Free Software and Open Standards in the world.
But the education ministry utterly fails to implement them. I can well
understand that Dutch parliamentarians are dissatisfied and want to push
for a more robust policy."

*** More background information and up to date information on this topic
are available on"Unlocking education, for growth without limits":
http://fsfe.org/campaigns/nledu/nledu.en.html ***

1. http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/bestanden/documenten-en-publicaties/kamerstukken/2011/10/28/beantwoording-kamervragen-gebrek-open-standaarden-voortgezet-onderwijs/beantwoording-kamervragen-gebrek-open-standaarden-voortgezet-onderwijsdf
2. http://www.janstedehouder.nl/category/petitie-ictovergewicht-onderwijs/
3. http://www.nllgg.nl/
4. http://www.lpice.eu/nl/home/persberichten/steunbetuiging-en-oproep-voor-actie-ict-onderwijs.html
5. https://www.nluug.nl/
6. http://www.hcc.nl/

== Press contact ==

  Matthias Kirschner, Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)
  Linienstraße 141, 10115 Berlin
  Phone: +49-30-275 95 290
  Mobile:  +49-1577-178 000 3

  Jan Stedehouder <jan at stedehouder.org>
  Mobile: +31-644357105

== About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==
  The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
  non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
  involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
  participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in
  the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
  Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
  furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
  modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues,
  securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people
  Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues
  of the FSFE.


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