NEN - the knowledge network
for standards development and application


NEN supports the standardization process in the Netherlands. If a party asks NEN to effect an agreement, we go to work. We start by investigating to what extent standardization is possible, and if there is an interest in this. We then invite all interested parties to participate. A broad base of support is a prerequisite. Agreements are effected based on consensus and are recorded in a document. This is usually a standard. Agreements recorded in a NEN standard cannot conflict with other valid NEN standards. NEN standards together form a cohesive entity.

An interested party can be a producer, consumer, service provider, user, but also the government or a consumers’ or investigative organization. We are not always asked to develop a standard. The government regularly asks us to investigate whether standardization is possible within a certain sector or in a certain field. NEN will subsequently investigate and, depending on the outcome, start a project. All interested parties can participate. NEN manages over 31,000 standards. Those are the international (ISO, IEC), European (EN) and national (NEN) standards accepted in the Netherlands.


Policy committees
Standards committees
members of standards committees


What is standardization?

Standardization is the process leading to the establishment of a standard. This process is open, transparent and focuses on achieving consensus, and takes place in standards committees consisting of representatives of all the parties concerned. This takes place not only at the national level, but also in a European and global connection.

What is a standard?

A standard is a voluntary arrangement between parties in respect of a product, service or process. Standards are not laws, but ‘best practices’. Everybody can benefit from adopting them, but this is always on a voluntary basis. Standards have an important function in business agreements. They offer market parties clarity about – and increase trust in – products, services or organizations, and challenge society to be innovative.

What is a standards committee?

Standards are not drawn up by NEN, but are developed by a group of people – who represent an organization – in a standards committee. Such a standards committee therefore contains organizations that have an interest in a particular standard. If you are curious to know the stories of committee members, read them here and discover the benefits that standardization can offer organizations.


Standardization helps in achieving this goal by:
  • 1Marketing knowledge
  • 2Upscaling innovations
  • 3Creating a common language
  • 4Strengthening cooperation
  • 5Promoting transparency, oversight and clarity

View current water-related projects


It is important that, as leader in the water sector, the Netherlands continues to reinvent itself and innovate. It is essential that we continue to share our knowledge and continue to innovate, within the borders of our country in cooperation with government agencies, knowledge institutions and market parties, but above all beyond those borders, because water knows no bounds. It flows, evaporates, freezes and melts, and falls on the land as rain. You can wash in it, store heat and cold in it, transport goods on it, play with it, and convert it into energy. Water is an element that connects.

The more the Dutch market shares its knowledge of the water sector, the greater the influence it will have on dictating the common language to be used. The Netherlands has a lead as regards knowledge, but in order to maintain this lead and boost exports, the country needs to play a pioneering role in drawing up international agreements.

NEN is keen to talk to other parties about:

  •  water problems of the future;
  •  how we can work together to strengthen the competitive position of the Netherlands;
  •  how we can promote integrated cooperation;
  •  new projects and collaborations.

Enter your details so that we can contact you or send you the information requested. You can also contact us directly on +31 (0)15 2 690 391 or at

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