The government ministries that are members of the steering group NSO and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) jointly determine Dutch space policy and the budget that is available for it. As the official secretary and on behalf of his colleagues, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy sends a memorandum once every three years to the Dutch House of Representatives. This document explains the contours of the space policy and the associated budget.
The reason behind such a policy memorandum is usually the preparation for an ESA Ministerial Council: the moment when the ESA Member States indicate which ESA programmes they are registering for and with how much funding. As part of the preparations for the policy memorandum, NSO writes an advisory report at the request of the government ministries involved.
An ESA Ministerial Council was once again held in early December 2016. A policy memorandum was published prior to this in November 2016. That memorandum was based on the advisory report published by NSO, which formulated the vision and ambition of the Dutch space sector and made a proposal for a set of instruments needed to realise it. The key idea of the vision and ambition is that the use of space for scientific, societal and economic applications takes centre stage.