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Local e-Government in the Netherlands: from ambitious policy goals to harsh reality


  • Ronald Leenes


The Netherlands took up e-Government development relatively early and was considered to be one of the leading nations in e-Government developments. In recent years, it has slipped back in the various international benchmarks, and also other signs show that the country no longer is at the front of e-Service development. This paper discusses possible causes for the decline of Dutch e-Service delivery development. Important factors in the explanation can be found in the structure of the Dutch public sector which can be characterized as fairly decentralized. The central government sets ambitious policy goals, but lacks the means to have them realized on the local level which is the primary level at which public service delivery takes place. The municipalities on the other hand are incapacitated by relatively small scale, the large number of services they provide and the lack of real incentives to move service delivery online. As a result, e-Service development on the local level is inefficient and progresses relatively slow. There are signs though that things are changing: the central government takes on a more active stance, and local authorities join forces to develop services together.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald Leenes, 2004. "Local e-Government in the Netherlands: from ambitious policy goals to harsh reality," ITA manu:scripts 04_04, Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA).
  • Handle: RePEc:ita:itaman:04_04

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    e-Government; e-Government policy; electronic service delivery; public service delivery maturity; the Netherlands;

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