The Netherlands Disinformation Profile

From ADTAC Disinformation Inventory

The Netherlands Domestic Disinformation

The Netherlands Media Environment

The Netherlands is ranked 5th out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index, Freedom of the press is guaranteed by the constitution as is free speech.[1][2] Radio is the most trust media in the Netherlands but online media is the most used.[3] The Netherlands has a 94% internet penetration rate.[4]


In 2014 Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine 298 people lost their lives. Russia issued competing narratives about the attack for the next 5 years and directly tried to discredit Dutch investigators.[5] Russian news first reported that separatists had shot down the plane, and mistakenly believed that the plane was Ukrainian.[6] A trial in the Netherlands surrounded 4 people involved and in 2020 the Netherlands announced it was taking Russia to the European Court of Human Rights.[7]

Geert Wilders

Ahead of the 2017 elections far-right politician Geert Wilders posted a photoshopped image a political rival at a rally for Islamists calling for Sharia law.[8][9]

COVID-19 Disinformation

Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs alleged that Russia was spreading COVID-19 disinformation in the Netherlands.[10] An investigation by Pointer found that 50 Dutch trolls using 500 accounts were spreading COVID-19 disinformation, that's George Soros and Bill Gates were behind the pandemic as well as 5G and other conspiracies.[11] Kieskompas a research organization found that 10% of their Dutch representative survey population believed in COVID-19 conspiracies.[12]

There was a vacuum of information particularly among asylum seekers, refugees and unauthorized migrants which has allowed misinformation to spread.[13][14]

Thierry Baudet

In 2020 Whatsapp message were discovered in which Dutch politician Baudet was said to have received payments from Russia. Baudet had supported Russian policies for many years and supported unsubstantiated Russian and COVID conspiracies. Baudet denies that he received payments from Russia.[15]

Facebook and

Third party fact checkers at stopped working with Facebook after the platform allowed a politician to run a political ad which contained misinformation.[16]

The Sale of Fake Accounts

During the lead up to the 2021 election there were very active sales in false accounts who had artificially high engagement on social media.[17] Websites like Gebruikersnamen actively sold fake accounts transparently.[18]

  17. Vermanen, J. (2021). The Sale of False Social Media Engagements and Accounts. The Hague: Black Boxing.