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If you want to do business online with a Dutch government organisation, you may need to login with eHerkenning, a standardised login system. For instance, if you want to apply for a permit or a subsidy.
More and more government organisations are making their services digitally available through eHerkenning. It ensures they know exactly with which company and with whom they are dealing, as well as whether these people are authorised to act on behalf of that company. An eIdentity (EID) key (eHerkenningsmiddel) can be purchased from recognised service providers. Find out more about the Digital Government Agenda.
In the Netherlands, there are two different eIdentity systems:
- DigiD for citizens
- eHerkenning for businesses (in Dutch).
Checklist for purchasing an eHerkenning key
Follow these steps if you want to purchase an eHerkenning key in the Netherlands:
In order to use eHerkenning, your company or organisation must be registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. Your company may not be eligible for registration with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, if so read the paragraph 'Foreign Businesses'.
The government organisation with which you want to do digital business selects a security level at which to offer its services. Your eHerkenning key must have the same level of security or higher. There are security levels, ranging from low to extremely high security. If you want to purchase eHerkenning for several employees, it would be advisable to purchase eHerkenning keys for different levels, in order to access various services.
Please note: Consider whether you need eHerkenning for services with a higher security level in the future. Will you apply for a subsidy at some point in time, for example? Or will you perhaps require an All-in-one Permit for Physical Aspects at some stage? If you want to increase your eHerkenning key at a later stage, you will have to upgrade your existing key.
You will pay a purchasing fee for an eHerkenning key. The costs depend on which type you choose and on the level of security. Service providers may charge a once-only price and/or recurrent costs. An overview of the costs is available in the Recognised Service Providers Matrix (in Dutch).
You can purchase eHerkenning from one of the six recognised service providers (in Dutch). Besides the security level, also take note of the costs and the key type, the application procedure, the lead time, the replacement procedure and the possible Help Desk availability.
Please note: In order to authorise a member of staff for eHerkenning (assurance level 4), a government PKI certificate is required. PKI certificates can only be used for the person named on the certificate. Standard Business Reporting (SBR) certificates are organisation certificates, which cannot be used to authorise members of staff. The reverse also applies. The personal certificates required for eHerkenning cannot be used for SBR. Do not forget this when purchasing SBR software and/or an eHerkenning tool.
Your EID service provider will keep an authorisation register from assurance level 2. Herein you will record the name of the person who is authorised to do digital business with the Dutch government on your company's behalf. You do so by assigning a legal representative or an 'authorisation manager' (machtigingenbeheerder) for your company. They inform your recognised service provider if there is a change in the authorisation or if the authorisation is withdrawn.
You can authorise an intermediary organisation to act on your behalf with eHerkenning. They can subsequently appoint one of their employees to represent them. An audit firm, for instance, may be authorised by their client to act on their behalf with regard to the application of a subsidy or for setting up a Message Box account. The firm then authorises one of their empoyees to be their actual representative. This is called chain authorisation. Not all eHerkenning suppliers support chain authorisation. Please do take this into account when selecting your supplier.
You will be able to log in to government organisations after receipt of your eHerkenning key. You can use the same token with different organisations.
Foreign entrepreneurs cannot use Dutch eHerkenning tools. To purchase eHerkenning, registration in the Dutch Commercial Register is mandatory - this is not always an option for foreign entrepreneurs.
In September 2018, the eIDAS regulation came into force. eIDAS stands for 'Electronic Identities And Trust Services'. eIDAS will eventually enable European citizens and businesses to access digital services in other European countries, further facilitating cross-border entrepreneurship. This means that European citizens will be able to access government services in EU countries other than their own using their own country's eIdentity system. This is only possible if the EU has approved the system.
Various EU countries are now rolling out their eIdentity systems. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency is also working to facilitate eIDAS. The Dutch eHerkenning system for businesses has already been approved by the EU. Find out more about eIDAS and the digital government (in Dutch).
Complying with eIDAS
You should enable European citizens and businesses to log in with their own country's eIdentification in case:
- Your organisation serves the public interest (this includes government bodies, as well as pension funds and insurance companies)
- Dutch companies can already log into your organisation with DigiD or eHerkenning with higher levels of security (in Dutch).
Your organisation is responsible itself to implement eIDAS. If you do not, it is possible that European citizens and companies may take legal action against you. To provide access to European citizens and businesses, you should contact a certified company that handles eHerkenning (in Dutch). There are 5 such companies at present:
If you have any questions or feedback relating to eIDAS, you can contact the digital government.