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Standards are agreements made by manufacturers, traders and consumer organisations about standardising processes in their area of expertise. Standards contribute towards uniformity, safety and sustainability of products and production methods. Standardisation allows companies to exchange knowledge and technologies and enter new markets more easily. The Dutch government may refer to standards in laws and regulations.
Netherlands Standardisation Institute
In the Netherlands, the Netherlands Standardisation Institute (Nederlands Normalisatie-instituut, NEN) supports the process of standardisation. NEN develops and manages these standards. NEN charges a fee if you would like to receive the standards on paper or digitally.
Compulsory standards free of charge
The government and NEN have decided to make some of their national standards available free of charge. If a law or regulation stipulates that you must apply a particular NEN standard, they will provide this standard free of charge (pdf, in Dutch). If reference is made to a NEN standard in a law or regulation, but its use is not compulsory, then you will continue to pay a fee for these standards.
eLearning course voor SMEs
The European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) offers a free eLearning course about standards and standardization specifically for SMEs. Topics: the use and application of standards and how to participate in the process of standardisation.