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About the Dutch Safety Board History

The history of the Dutch Safety Board dates back to the early 20th century. Already in 1909 the Maritime Court of the Netherlands was founded to investigate the cause of disasters and accidents.

It was followed in subsequent decades by the Inland Waterways (Disaster) Act Commission (1931), the Civil Aviation Board (1937) and the Rail Accident Investigation Board (1956).

Each commission formed its judgements independently, the investigations were in practice often carried out by inspectors from the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management. At the end of the 20th century, calls for fully independent investigations were growing. Therefore, the Council for Transport Safety was established in 1999.

In the early 21st century, the calls for a fully independent investigative body became increasingly urgent. The House of Representatives perceived the need to provide more sectors with a permanent investigative institute that could immediately start an investigation at any incident. An investigation aimed at learning from incidents without looking at the question of guilt. After the Enschede fireworks disaster and the Volendam café fire, the Dutch government submitted a proposal for the Kingdom Act. This led tot he installation of the Dutch Safety Board on 1 February 2005.

Chairpersons of the Dutch Safety Board were:

  • Pieter van Vollenhoven, February 2005 – January 2011
  • Tjibbe Joustra, February 2011 – April 2019
  • Jeroen Dijsselbloem, May 2019 – September 2022
  • Chris van Dam, from May 2023
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