Two million people don’t use ‘MijnOverheid’ communication system

More than two million people in the Netherlands have failed or rarely check their digital letter box Berichtenbox which the government uses to communicate electronically with private citizens, the national ombudsman says in a new report.

All Dutch residents over the age of 14 are allocated a digital letter box where emails from the tax office, water boards and local councils are sent. The idea is to enable people to keep all their communication with government bodies in one place.

So far 6.6 million people have activated their message boxes but a further two million have either not activated the system or checked their mail for more than a year. Users need a Digid code to access the system.

Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen says the government must make the system more user-friendly. At present, for example, the box can only be used to receive mail, not to send it, he points out.

In addition, people who once activated the system but no longer use it may find themselves in financial trouble because they have not reacted to invoices or payment demands.

The ombudsman also wants the government to make is easier for people to receive official correspondence by post rather than electronically.