The Netherlands is a major international arms dealer. The export value since 2004 adds up to almost 30 billion euros. This business is great for the national economy, but it also creates risks. The Netherlands does not want these weapons to end up in the wrong hands: with groups deemed the enemy or in countries with a questionable reputation on human rights.
Therefore the export of arms is restricted. Since 2004, the country has approved over 15 thousand licenses for weapons, weapons systems and subparts to be exported to 243 different customers worldwide. But, there is no control system in place after a license has been given, to assess the situation further down the line. So basically we don't know where and how the weapons are used. That's why we decided to track the transactions that have been licensed by the Dutch government, and trace where the weapons finally end up.
This project is an initiative by Lighthouse Reports, and is produced in collaboration with Bellingcat and the data-journalism team of Dutch public broadcaster KRO-NCRV.