Environmental Data Compendium
68 factsheets about the environment

Frequently Asked Questions

The editorial staff receives many questions about the information that is available on this website. The most frequently asked questions have been collected and are presented, together with their answers, on this page.

Use of information

Nearly all graphs presented in the Compendium are supplied an MS Excel file containing the relevant data. This is not the case for maps, as these involve much larger amounts of data. The maps data can be obtained by sending an email to the editorial team via info@pbl.nl. Data download links are presented in a tab, on the lower right-hand side of the figures.

Unless stated otherwise, the ‘creative commons’ attribution licence (CC-BY) applies to the contents of this website. This means that copying, distribution and showing material and work that was derived from this material is allowed, provided that the original institute’s or author’s name is stated, in this case: the Environmental Data Compendium. For work that was derived from this material, it must be made clear that the Compendium not automatically underwrites this derived work.

The ‘creative commons’ licence does not apply to any of the photographs on the website as the Compendium does not own the related copyright.

Please send your question in an email to info@pbl.nl, or fill out the contact form on the website’s contact page.

Figures can be obtained in high resolution for the purpose of including them in your printed or digital publication. Please contact the editorial team by filling out the contact form or send an email to info@pbl.nl.

The general way of referring to information from the Environmental Data Compendium is as follows:

CBS, PBL, Wageningen UR (year). www.environmentaldata.nl. Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; and Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen.

The content of the Environmental Data Compendium is updated on a regular basis. Therefore, when you refer to the EDC, please also include update number and date of the indicator – the latter can be found at the bottom of the indicator page. For example:

CBS, PBL, Wageningen UR (2015). Road traffic: volume trends and environmental pressure, 1990-2013 (indicator 0127, version 23 , 21 April 2015 ). www.environmentaldata.nl. Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; and Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen.

The URL to the English homepage is: www.clo.nl/en/

However, you can also provide a deep link directly to a topic or an indicator page. In order to ensure that the most recent version of a certain indicator page can be accessed, use the following types of links, for example:

  • www.clo.nl/en/indicators/en0165 always links to the latest version of an indicator, here to: ‘greenhouse gas emmisions
  • www.clo.nl/en/indicators/en016526. When you are linking to a certain version of an indicator because you want to reference it in your publication, then also add the version number to the indicator code. This example links to version 26 of the indicator ‘greenhouse gas emmisions, 15 april 2015

Information about indicators

The information in the Environmental Data Compendium is presented in the form of indicators; raw measuring data summarised into relevant, useful information. Indicators show trends and spatial images, and compare these with, for example, policy targets and objectives, references, critical loads and benchmarks. Each indicator page features a concise key message, followed by scientific, policy and technical explanations.

Indicators can be search for in two different ways:

  • Navigation via the tree structure: topic -> indicators
    On the homepage you will find a list of topics. Selecting one of them will take you to the page on that topic. This page contains a list of recently updated indicators to choose from, or you can search for a particular indicator under the tab ‘indicators’. The breadcrumb trail at the top of each page tells you where you are within the website.
  • Searching for key words, using the search bar
    Typing in one or more key words will deliver a list of search results with, below them, links to the corresponding compendium pages containing one or more of your key words. Clicking on one of the links will take you to that page.

The Dutch Environmental Data Compendium contains over 700 indicators. The English website only contains the most important indicators. Most indicators are updated annually – an overview can be found under ‘Updates’ on the menu bar.

CBS, PBL and Wageningen UR provide the Compendium with data they manage themselves, but also with data that are made available via third parties. The Wageningen UR contribution is coordinated by their department ‘WOT Natuur en Milieu (Legal Research Tasks in the policy area Nature & Environment)’ with data mainly from Alterra, LEI Wageningen UR and the Institute for Marine Resources & Ecosystem Studies (IMARES). Other parties involved include the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Rijkswaterstaat Waterdienst, Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), private data-managing organisations and their umbrella organisation ‘Stichting voor Veld-Onderzoek Flora en Fauna (VOFF)’ and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (co-funder of CBS’s statistics on nature).

The Compendium’s indicators have a scientific basis and are subjected to a review process before they are published on the website. Users may consult the technical explanation (at the bottom of each indicator page) and follow the links to references, in order to determine how that particular indicator was created. For a large number of indicators, reliability is indicated according to a reliability code (A to F):

  • A. Integral observation.
  • B. Estimation based on a large number of very accurate measurements, with full or nearly full representativeness of the data.
  • C. Estimation based on a large number of accurate measurements; representativeness is largely guaranteed.
  • D. Estimation based on a number of measurements, expert judgements, and a number of relevant facts or published expert sources.
  • E. Estimation based on a few measurements, expert judgement, relevant facts or extrapolation of other measurements.
  • F. Estimation based on expert judgement, assumptions or extrapolation of foreign data.

The objective is to map the current situation for all the main issues around nature, spatial planning and the environment, and how these have developed. The precondition for doing this is correct measurement data. When choosing the indicators, the Compendium’s editorial team uses the following guidelines:

  • The Compendium contains facts and figures that contribute to the quality of political and governmental considerations in the fields of the environment, nature and spatial planning, and it is primarily intended for making strategic policy decisions and science.
  • Data presented in the Compendium must be representative of the main processes or policies on nature, the environment and spatial planning in the Netherlands, and they need to be expressive.
  • These data mainly concern national figures, but may also be presented on a smaller or larger scale. Many policy fields need spatial differentiation, which is in line with 1) the scale on which the issue has manifested itself (global, European, national, and where necessary also regional), and 2) the sphere of influence of the competent authorities (EU, national government, provinces and municipalities).
  • Data must originate from research that is repeated on a regular basis. Ad-hoc indicators are only presented if the current situation calls for their inclusion, or if the particular subject fills a certain gap. This concerns data that provide a picture of the current situation and the trend that has led to that situation. Where possible, the current situation and the trend are compared with policy targets and/or target values.
  • The Compendium does not contain policy assessing indicators that are based only on models and assumptions about the influence of government policy on the sectors involved. The indicator information does not contain policy suggestions, but merely determines whether policy targets have been achieved, and provides explanations for the situation and/or trend.

There are two situations that may lead to an indicator becoming ‘dormant’. The first would be that of an indicator becoming less relevant. An example of such a case is when a particular policy is no longer in effect. The second situation would be a lack of data. In order to keep indicators up to date, data must be gathered from measurement networks, surveys or research. Sometime the information is no longer collected because it has become less relevant or due to a lack of funding. The Compendium will keep those indicators in its archives, but with the message that a current version is no longer available.

The website of the Environmental Data Compendium offers information on new indicators via RSS. By adding one or more of the RSS feeds to your RSS reader, you will be kept up to date the moment new information on those indicators becomes available. In addition, you could follow the Compendium on Twitter where updates are also announced in tweets.

About the Environmental Data Compendium

The Environmental Data Compendium is a website containing facts and figures about environment, nature and spatial planning in the Netherlands. Target audiences are professionals as well as the general public.

The Compendium presents the current quality of the environment, nature and spatial planning in the Netherlands, coupled to related government policies. Subjects vary from waste issues to climate change and from accessibility to biodiversity. Information is mostly presented on a national scale, and in some instances, when relevant to decision-making processes, also on subnational or supranational scales.

The objective of the Environmental Data Compendium is making scientifically founded facts and figures available, in order to support social discussion and choices in the fields of nature, spatial planning and the environment.

The Environmental Data Compendium is jointly owned and managed by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and Wageningen University and Research Centre (Wageningen UR). Three editorial teams (on nature, spatial planning and the environment), together with a large number of experts both from within and outside these institutes, ensure the information on the web pages is kept up to date. The editorial teams are supported by a project team and a steering committee, the latter of which is made up of management representatives of the three institutes.

The Compendium does not contain any policy assessments or outlook studies. These can be found in other media, such as PBL's Assessment of the Human Environment. Where relevant, the indicator pages provide information to such studies, at the bottom of the web page.

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The Environmental Data Compendium is a partnership of PBL, CBS and Wageningen UR.