Using an electronic signature

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

Does your company conduct transactions digitally? This often requires digital identification. If you conduct business with Dutch government organisations, you have to use eHerkenning. In other cases, an electronic or digital signature may be required. Digital signing can be used to inform your client that you are the legitimate sender.

What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature (online signature or digital signing) consists of electronic data which you send along with a digital document. There are 3 types of electronic signature:

  • an electronic signature such as for instance a handwritten signature on paper that you scan or write digitally to use in an e-mail or letter
  • an advanced electronic signature which secures your message or document with a certificate and a code (encrypted)
  • a qualified electronic signature which secures your message or document with a qualified certificate (extra security and verification)

In the EU, only a qualified electronic signature is legally the same (legitimate) as a handwritten signature. In the Netherlands there is no legal difference between electronic signatures as long as the method you use is sufficiently secure.

Qualified electronic signatures

Do you want to use a qualified electronic signature? You can get a certificate for a qualified electronic signature from a certification service provider. This provider must be on the list of Trust Service Providers in the Netherlands. You can consult the list via the European Commission's List of trusted lists (LOTL).

In the Netherlands, certification service providers and qualified certificates are checked by the Dutch Authority for Digital Infrastructure (Rijksinspectie Digitale Infrastructuur).

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO