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The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy with a two-chambered Parliament. It has a population of 16,6 million (July 2010). In addition to central government, there are both regional and local administrations with 12 provinces (Provincies) and about 600 Municipalities (Gemeenten).
The Netherlands covers a total land area of 41,200 sq km and is one of the world's most densely populated and wealthy countries.

The capital is Amsterdam but the seat of government is in The Hague.

In 1886, consumer protection became the responsibility of Central Government having previously been carried out at a local level.

Organisational Structure and Background

The Dutch Legal Metrology Service was privatised in 1989. Since than it is called Nederlands Meetinstituut B.V. (NMi). Its independence was decreed under the Revision of IJkwet 1989 (new Weights and Measures Act).

Since the beginning of 2001 NMi is fully owned by TNO, a leading independent Dutch research organisation that provides a link within the innovation chain between fundamental research as a source of knowledge and practical application in the use of knowledge in a wide field of activities.

After several reorganisations, NMi is member of the Holland Metrolgy Group. The Holland Metrology Group is the holding company of three subsidiary companies:

  • VSL (Van Swinden Laboratorium) concentrates on Holland Metrolgy Group’s government contract responsibilities in the maintenance of a standards infrastructure and the provision of a primary calibration service for high quality industrial laboratories.
  • Verispect B.V. has three main activities: enforcement of the Weights and Measures Act and the Gaming Act by random inspections of measuring instruments and gaming machines and enforcing the requirements of the Netherlands' Hallmarking Act 1986 (on precious metals).
  • NMi concentrates on the manufacturer's market and provides type testing and approvals, verification services as well as certification of manufacturer's quality systems.

Overall the Holland Metrology Group responsibilities to the Dutch government may be summarised as:

  • Developing and maintaining Dutch physical and chemical standards
  • Developing the related infrastructure
  • Enforcement of the Weights and Measures Act, the Gaming Act, and the Hallmarking Act
  • Preparing metrological legislation
  • Representing the Netherlands in international meetings in the fields of metrology and gaming harmonisation and standards
  • Type testing and certification of weighing and measuring instruments and gaming machines, including EMC conformity testing
  • Certification of manufacturers and independent bodies quality systems for legal metrology purposes
  • Calibrations and measurements
  • Auditing of calibration laboratories
  • Deploying voluntary product certification schemes
  • Metrology training courses

The core activities are being performed in and from the main office in Dordrecht and from branches in The Netherlands (Delft, Rotterdam, Hengelo, Bergum, Brielle, Petten, Velp), Belgium (Kasterlee, via BMi), Italy (Padua) and Bangor (UK). The NMi Group offers her products and services worldwide.

The RvA (Dutch Accreditation Board for calibration laboratories, test laboratories and inspection bodies), grants certificates in these fields and cooperates within European Accreditation (EA) on behalf of the Netherlands.
As a national standards laboratory NMi has close links with RvA both through the Board and by participation of NMi experts in RvA activities.

The Netherlands has a long history of legal metrology, dating back to the Napoleonic occupation in 1804. The Dutch were the first to introduce the metric system in 1820. In 1937 initial verification became obligatory and in 1969 mandatory type approval was introduced.

De Dutch Weights and Measures Act with the Ministerial Decrees for most categories of measuring instruments are available (in Dutch language) on a CD-rom.

For more information, please contact:

NMi Certin B.V.
PO Box 394
3300 AJ Dordrecht
The Netherlands
Tel: + 31 - 78 - 633 23 32
Fax: + 31 - 78 - 633 23 09
e-mail: certinsales(at)nmi.nl
http://www.nmi.nl/

Equipment Subject to National Controls

  • Simple length measures in trade use (type approval and initial verification only)
  • Liquid volume measures (initial verification only)
  • Dipsticks (type approval and initial verification only)
  • Weights in trade use
  • Liquid volume metering instruments

    • Petrol
    • Liquefied petroleum gas
    • Lubricating oil
    • Heating oil

  • Gas volume meters
  • Electricity meters
  • Non automatic weighing instruments

    • Self indicating
    • Non self indicating
    • Automatic weighing instruments
    • Discontinuous totalising
    • Continuous totalising (beltweighers)
    • Gravimetric filling
    • Rail weighbridges
    • Catch weighers

      • Checkweighers
      • Weight graders
      • Weigh/price labeller and weigh labeller

  • Road traffic instruments

    • Exhaust emission meters
    • Pedal force meters
    • Airbrake pressure meters
    • Brake force testers
    • Deceleration meters
    • Speed limiting equipment for mopeds

  • Law enforcement instruments

    • Axle weighers
    • Speed detectors
    • Ethylometers

  • Depth gauges for liquids for tax purposes

New legislation on taximeters was introduced in 1995 and provides for mandatory type approval, verification and reverification of taximeters. Both electronic and mechanical taximeters are covered by this legislation.

Type Approval

Tests are performed by NMi Certin BV. Test facilities are very comprehensive and there is no call for contracting out. EMC testing facilities are provided in house. Certificates are published in Dutch, English and other languages on request. Fees are approved by the Minister of Economic Affairs and published.

In the year 2000, 71 EU certificates were issued for non automatic weighing instruments.

NMi Certin is the leading issuer of OIML certificates: in 1999, 45% of all OIML certificates were issued by NMi Certin and in 2000 this amount had increased to 48%.

For more information about type approval and the fees of NMi, please contact:

NMi Certin B.V.
Dept. C-MV
PO Box 394
3300 AJ Dordrecht
The Netherlands
Tel: + 31 - 78 - 633 23 32
Fax: + 31 - 78 - 633 23 09
e-mail: certinsales(at)nmi.nl
http://www.nmi.nl/

Initial Verification

Initial verification is performed by NMi Certin BV. There is also a self declaration scheme in operation. Private laboratories and manufacturers must conform to national regulations:

  • Regulations concerning the working mode of the national service of legal metrology and other legally authorised organisations (Government Gazette 1989, 139)
  • Regulations covering the authorisation of private bodies for the execution of legal verifications (Government Gazette 1989, 83)

The rules govern the testing and marking of instruments. Designation criteria are taken from ISO/IEC 17025. Test engineers and staff members from NMi Certin BV, experienced in type approvals work, form part of any assessment team.

Fees for initial verification are not specified in law. NMi determines its own fees. These are to be submitted to the Minister of Economic Affairs and published in the Government Gazette. Private bodies set their own fees.

For more information about initial verification and the fees of NMi, please contact:

NMi Certin B.V.
Sales Department
PO Box 394
3300 AJ Dordrecht
The Netherlands
Tel: + 31 - 78 - 633 23 08
Fax: + 31 - 78 - 633 23 09
e-mail: certinsales(at)nmi.nl
http://www.nmi.nl/

Inspection and Reverification

In the Netherlands, there is a random inspection policy. Inspection visits are unannounced carried out by Verispect BV.
There are no fees for such unannounced inspections; the Ministry of Economic Affairs covers these costs.
Equipment used for direct sales to the public is to be inspected every four years, and equipment in the industrial sector every five years.
For gas and electricity meters, there is a different system of enforcement in operation:
Gas and electricity meters are checked by the energy-companies on a yearly statistical sampling base. The results of this check are the basis of the decision whether a certain population of gas and energy meters has to be replaced by new ones. Verispect inspects the energy-companies to ensure that the checks are done correctly and that necessary replacements of meters are indeed carried out.

The permissible errors on inspection are for most instruments double the maximum permissible error (MPE) at initial verification. The only exception is for petrol pumps; there is the MPE "in use" the same as the MPE at initial verification.

The results of inspections are indicated by Verispect BV by means of a system of coloured stickers. A green sticker is attached to correct instruments.
In case of a minor non-compliance, a yellow 'warning' label is applied to the instrument. This label means that the instrument must be repaired within two months. If during a revisit after this time the instrument is found still incorrect, a red sticker is attached.
In case an instrument has a major incompliance (for instance the error is larger than the maximum permissible error), the same red sticker is applied.
These red stickers are applied in full public view and indicate that the use of the instrument is forbidden for applications where verification is necessary,
After a red sticker is applied, the user has again two month to have the instrument reverified. Depending on the kind of self-verification scheme, repairers are permitted to reverify instruments after Verispect has applied a sticker.
If, after the required period, the instrument still does not comply with the requirements, the instrument is confiscated and a formal report of the offence is made.

For more information about inspection of legally controlled measuring instruments, please contact:

Verispect B.V.
PO Box 654
2600 AR Delft
The Netherlands
Tel: + 31 -15 - 2691500
Fax: + 31 - 15 – 2612971
http://www.verispect.nl/

Legal Metrology Practitioners and Scope


Staff in type approval are normally engineers with a technical college background.
Employees in the verification and inspection areas have an intermediate technical school background. Staff are mainly trained on the job.

NMi restricts its service to metrology and associated functions. Inspectors are not involved in other consumer protection matters. They will investigate consumer complaints about inaccurate instruments and short measure and will generally advise companies about legal requirements, ISO/IEC 17025 matters and calibration services. Formal approval, inspection and monitoring of those systems are however the responsibility of other Dutch ministers with an interest in the particular product being packaged.

Sanctions

No system of administrative fines operates in the Netherlands. Use is made of warning labels.

Prosecutions may be taken in court for more serious offences. In such cases the inspector of Verispect B.V. will report infringements directly to the prosecutor for the Ministry of Justice. This was specifically provided for in the Weights and Measures Act, when NMi was established.
The maximum penalty is € 15,000 or six months detention.
Instruments may be seized and forfeited by inspectors where traders do not cooperate or when fraudulent use is evident. There are approximately 5 prosecutions and 1000 letters of warning in a typical year.

Directive 90/384/EEC

The Directive was implemented by a Statutory Decree on non automatic weighing instruments (Official Publication 1993,18).

The instruments in categories 4 and 5 of Article 1(2)(a) were not subject to Dutch national controls prior to the Directive's implementation. NMi has been notified for all existing type approval and verification activities to the Commission.

No gravity zones have been defined in the Netherlands.
The Dutch Decree makes it an offence to use an instrument outside of its marked weighing range.

Instrument classes are designated for particular applications::

General commercial transactions

Class III or better

Precious metals, pearls, precious stones, coins

Class I and II

Bitumen, mortar, sand, gravel etc (Determination of transport fees)

Class IIII or better

Details are available to industry

In the approval process of quality systems of manufacturers seeking self declaration status, certification by third party certification bodies will be taken into account where appropriate.
The Netherlands has a national quality assurance accreditation scheme in place, overseen by the RvA (Dutch Accreditation Council).

Updated July 2010