Charting the Course: Responsible AI in Dutch Government

The most recent Women in AI Circle event in Den Haag buzzed with conversation on a topic both timely and complex: navigating the ever-shifting landscape of AI within the realm of government. The event featured Elja Daae, Data, AI & Algorithms Coordinator at the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, and Monika Milanović, Legal Policy Officer at the same ministry. Their insights shed light on the Netherlands’ proactive approach to governing this powerful technology.

Rising Public Awareness and the Dutch AI Strategy

Public awareness of AI is on the rise, and governments across the globe are grappling with how to harness its potential while ensuring responsible development. “We’re witnessing a growing understanding of AI’s capabilities,” explained Elja, “and governments have a crucial role to play in ensuring its ethical and responsible use.” The Netherlands has emerged as a leader in this area, with a first place on the Global Index on Responsible AI. A welcoming place at the ranking, especially after having established a national AI strategy from 2019. 

However, navigating the intricate dance between innovation and responsible use presents a significant challenge. Regulatory frameworks need to be robust enough to mitigate risks without stifling progress. Additionally, many public sector organizations face a resource crunch, lacking the expertise and infrastructure needed to effectively implement AI solutions.

Building a Robust Framework: Transparency, Accountability, and User-Friendly Guidance

The Dutch government has taken significant strides to address these challenges. They’ve established a comprehensive national framework for AI governance, encompassing applicable laws, regulations, and best practices. A crucial element of this framework is the algorithm register, specifically designed for public sector AI use. This register fosters transparency and accountability, ensuring citizens are aware when AI plays a role in decision-making processes. “Transparency is paramount,” emphasized Monika. “The algorithm register allows citizens to understand how AI is being used and hold us accountable.” Additionally, user-friendly guidelines are being developed to aid practical implementation within government agencies.


The EU AI Act and International Collaboration

The recent EU AI Act also plays a significant role, which they have taken part in help creating. This act adopts a risk-based approach, with stricter regulations for high-risk AI systems. Notably, the act emphasizes transparency requirements, mandating that citizens be informed of AI involvement in decision-making that affects them. The Netherlands recognizes the importance of international collaboration in this rapidly evolving field. Elja and Monika actively participate in discussions on AI governance with international organizations like the OECD and the Council of Europe, contributing to the development of best practices and facilitating knowledge exchange.


The Road Ahead: Continued Collaboration and Adaptation

The road ahead necessitates continued awareness raising and education across all sectors. Only through a collaborative effort, involving government, policymakers, and the private sector, can responsible AI development and implementation be achieved. Striking a balance between openness and national security considerations is another critical aspect, particularly when dealing with AI in sensitive areas. Finally, continuous monitoring, evaluation, and adaptation of AI policies and practices are essential to ensure their effectiveness in the long run.


The Women in AI Circle event painted a clear picture of the Netherlands’ proactive stance on governing AI in a responsible and ethical manner. As AI continues to transform our world, the Dutch government’s commitment to collaboration and responsible development, as outlined by Elja and Monika, serves as a valuable model for others to follow.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Don't miss out on the Women in AI NL news and updates! Every month we will update you about what's new within the WAI community.