Best practices in Open Data across Europe with a special focus on Belgium

By Heleen Vollers on Feb 27, 2018


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The latest European Data Portal (EDP) report on Open Data maturity, published in November 2017, shows that governments across Europe have started a race to the top. More European countries are now prioritizing a strong national Open Data policy combined with a more user friendly Open Data Portal enabling the re-use of data. The European Data Portal not only assesses the level of Open Data maturity across Europe, it harvests all metadata available on national Open Data Portals across Europe. The strategic objective of the EDP is to improve accessibility and increase the value of Open Data by addressing the whole data value chain from data publishing to data re-use.

Belgium matured into a fast-tracker

In 2016 Belgium was considered a follower. By 2017 Belgium has been able to mature into a fast-tracker based on a significant improvement on nearly all indicators. In general, Belgium’s Open Data maturity has increased from 14% in 2015, to 48% in 2016 to 68% in 2017. By 2017, all regional portals are included in the national portal, all datasets are automatically uploaded, data is collected weekly and 90-99% of datasets are openly licensed and free of charge. The social and political impact indicators have improved, as well as the use of Open Data. The national portal receives significantly more unique visitors per month, the portal is now API accessible, more information is known about the visitors of the portal, and specific activities are taking place to support the re-use of Open Data. However, also the EU average has increased; going from 57% in 2016 to 73% in 2017. Although Belgium has matured more rapidly than the EU average, still a lot has to be done to keep up with Open Data developments taking place in Europe today.

What’s next?

During the past few years focus had been put on having the basics of an Open Data policy and portal in place. The upcoming few years will bring the Open Data challenge for European countries to the next level. More focus will be put on data quality rather than data quantity, improving the re-use of data and making sure national coordination, licensing and sustainability of portals improve.

Do you want to know more about Open Data and how to improve your Open Data maturity, both in terms of policy and portal features? Then have a look at the EDP where you can find a diversity in materials ranging from 16 eLearning modules to a recently updated Goldbook providing guidance to data publishers to many reports providing recommendations helping you accomplish your goal.

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written by Heleen Vollers
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