Cookies on your website

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

If your website uses cookies, you must inform your visitors. In many cases you also need your visitors' explicit consent to set cookies.

What are cookies?

A cookie is a file that saves internet settings on your website visitors' computer, smartphone or tablet. There are different types of cookies. Some cookies are used to better the performance of a website, other cookies are used to follow the surfing behaviour and/or provide targeted adverts to website visitors. The Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) can give you further information about cookie regulations.

You must always ask your visitors' explicit consent to set so-called tracking cookies. You may only use these cookies if your visitor has given their consent. These cookies are able to keep track of your visitors' surfing behaviour and therefore enables you to tailor your advertisements. Please note that tracking cookies often collect sensitive personal data and thus you have to keep to the privacy rules (GDPR).

Do you use cookies that require a visitor's consent? Then you must tell the user clearly and comprehensively why you use cookies on your website and what you do with them. You can do this via a cookie notification or cookie declaration. This states which cookies you use on your website. Make sure visitors can clearly choose which cookies they agree to.

You do not need your visitors' consent to set cookies if you do not store any sensitive personal data. Examples are:

  • Functional cookies: used to make your website function properly, such as recording the contents of a shopping cart.
  • Analytical cookies: used for collecting anonymous information about the use of your website. The information is used only to improve your website's quality and functionality. Note: You are still required to inform your visitors about these cookies..
  • A/B testing cookies: used to determine which version of a given commercial or website is more appreciated by visitors.
  • Affiliate cookies / performance cookies: used to determine which advertisement affects the consumer's purchase decision.

Asking permission to use cookies

If you want to place cookies on your website, you need to ask permission first (consent). You must mention the following:

  • which information you want to collect
  • why you want to collect the information
  • how long you intend to store the information
  • with which companies you share this information
  • any other information necessary to give the visitor a clear idea of how you process the data

You must make sure that visitors of your website are given a clearly visible choice whether or not to consent to the use of cookies. You must also be able to show proof of your visitors' consent.

Consent is not valid if:

  • you state unclear information in the general conditions or the privacy statement of your website (for example: ‘If you visit this website you agree automatically to the use of cookies’)
  • the website visitor does not have to actively give consent (if someone does nothing, they do not automatically consent)
  • you use pre-checked boxes
  • you use a cookiewall that prevents visitors from entering your website if they refuse the cookies

You must make sure visitors to your website can withdraw their consent just easily as they have given it. If they withdraw their consent, you must still offer them access to at least part of your website.

This article is related to: