A number of Dutch ministries, agencies and institutes have been involved in space and its applications since the 1960s.
The Interdepartmental Committee on Space (Dutch acronym: ICR) is responsible for Dutch space policy. Government ministries that have an interest in space and space policy are represented in the ICR. The following ministries are member of this Committee: Economic Affairs (chair); Education Culture and Science; Transport and Public Works; Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment; Defence; Finance; Foreign Affairs.
The ICR has two advisory members: Netherlands Space Office (NSO) and Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON). The Ministry of Economic Affairs heads the delegation to the ESA Council. Representatives of different ministries, as well as NSO and SRON, participate in meetings of the ESA Council, Programme Boards and Committees.
NSO has been responsible for the management of various national space projects such as the satellite ANS and IRAS in the past and nowadays instruments such as OMI and SCIAMACHY. Furthermore, NSO advises the government regarding space development programmes and it is represented in the boards of ESA and EUMETSAT, for example. Within the government, the Minis¬try of Economic Affairs, responsible for technology policy, holds the prime responsibi¬lity for space policy. NSO functions as the Dutch space agency. It is the national focal point for space and its specific objective is the promotion of industrial activities and the use of space.
NSO monitors Dutch participation in the European space programmes. NSO is responsible for the management of national space technology programmes, user programmes for the application of Earth observation data and national and multilateral space projects.
The Dutch space research organisation (SRON Netherlands Institue for Space Research) was founded back in 1959. Since 1980, SRON has been responsible for national and multilateral space science programmes. Its fields of scientific research are astrophysics, Earth observation and planetary science.