Using an electronic signature

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

If your company conducts transactions through the Internet, this often requires digital identification. If you conduct business with Dutch government organisations, you have to use eHerkenning (eRecognition). In other cases, an electronic or digital signature may be required. The signature can be used to inform your client that you are the legitimate sender.

What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature (online or digital signature) is an electronic version of a handwritten signature. It 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 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 a qualified electronic signature is legally the same (legitimate) as your handwritten signature. This does not apply to the other electronic signatures.

Qualified electronic signatures

Do you want to use a qualified electronic signature? Certification service providers issue these certificates. Companies offering a qualified electronic signature must be on the list of Trust Service providers in the Netherlands, which can be consulted via the European Commission's List of trusted lists (LOTL). In the Netherlands, certification service providers and qualified certificates are checked by Radiocommunications Agency (Agentschap Telecom).

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO