Wassenaar first to offer cross border digital services for expats

Edition 28 December 2017

Ordering your birth certificate online with, say, an Estonian eID in the Netherlands? It’s already possible at the municipality of Wassenaar. The municipality was the fi rst to be connected to the cross-border electronic network that allows citizens and companies to securely prove their identities online. In this way digital borders are removed and eID methods of member states of the European Union may be accepted by other member states.

Alderman Freddy Blommers of the municipality of Wassenaar: ‘The landscape of service is changing rapidly. Everyone is already used to ordering all kinds of commercial products online. Our municipality wants to ensure our residents experience the same convenience in contact with us. Which is not so easy as the government really needs to be completely sure that the person who orders something is actually that person. Privacy and security are an absolute must. Being a hotspot for expats, our participating in the cross-border network was therefore quickly decided upon. Currently expats represent around 20% of all users requesting our services. They settle down in Wassenaar because of the excellent schooling options for children as well as its convenient location near different business areas.’

Requesting official documents in just one click

EID is short for electronic identifi cation and refers to a solution for citizens and business allowing them to prove their identity online. On a national scale, eIDs are widely adopted in Europe. Over 20 European countries have a nationally issued eID method e.g. the Dutch DigiD, the Buergerkarte in Austria, SuisseID in Switzerland. Services like requesting offi cial documents and fi lling your tax returns online become possible with just one click. By September 2018 all public services in the European Union are obliged to accept the eIDs of other member states under the socalled eIDaS regulation. EIDAS stands for Electronic Identifi cation and Trust Services for electronic transactions in the internal market of Europe.

No more mandatory visits

Wassenaar is one of the 81 Dutch municipalities to participate in a pilot project of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Connectis, subsidized by the European Commission. The municipalities are connected to biggest cross-border electronic identifi cation project in the world, which is built by e-identifi cation broker Connectis. In this way hundreds of millions of expats, students, tourists and representatives of Dutch business gain access to the online service environment of the municipalities. They save time and money by reduced and simplifi ed administrative processes without a mandatory physical visit to one of the municipalities. Blommers: ‘Currently, foreign users not having a Dutch eID have to visit our municipality on a regular basis. It often involves frequent contact through expat agencies. Services required are for instance: moving abroad or requesting an extract from the Basic Registration System (BRP). We are focused on offering non-Dutch speakers the same services as native speakers. I am happy my community was the first in the Netherlands to launch this amenity.’ It is now possible to log in with the Estonian login ‘Digital Identity Card’ at the municipality of Wassenaar. As a result, public services, such as the application of (parking) licenses, (birth) certifi cates, et cetera, are also accessible to citizens who have the Estonian login.

On July 6th alderman F. Blommers of the municipality of Wassenaar (2nd to the right) and the Charge d’affaires of the embassy of Estonia in the Netherlands, M. Murd (3rd to the right), celebrated this step in the presence of Connectis, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and portal supplier SIM group.