The Netherlands is a major international arms dealer. The export value since 2004 adds up to almost 15 billion euros. This business is great for the national economy, but it also creates risks as the Netherlands does not want these weapons to end up in the wrong hands. To assess these risks we started a collaboration with Bellingcat and the data-journalism team of KRO-NCRV.
The premise of this collaboration was simple: to find out where the arms that are exported from the Netherlands actually end up.
Concept and bootcamp
On top of preliminary research we organized the #DutchArms bootcamp. A fulltime two-week training and research project, set up with a dual goal in mind. First, to trace Dutch weapons exports across the globe and the check their deployment by end-users post-shipment. Second, to train journalists and reporters in the use of digital open sources, verification and geolocation.
Between January 8 and 19, 2018, fifteen journalists joined in our own open source investigation lab. An intense, focused and productive period. Here's a story the Dutch TV-show Brandpunt+ made about it.
Everyone was invited to join and to follow the investigations. The website www.dutcharms.nl served as a nearly real-time log of the progress made during the #DutchArms bootcamp. It now presents the findings of the twenty weapons deals that have been investigated. Some of these research leads led to revealing discoveries, some of them have not been completely closed, others proved too difficult to trace using only open source methods. Since these findings are relevant too, they have also been published.
Website and social media
Open source investigation also leans heavily on participation from selected experts or the online 'crowd'. As the #DutchArms researchers investigated social media updates and online video, we used our networks to communicate about the project and invite those interested in the topic to help us.
Concept & Research
Ludo Hekman/ Lisa Dupuy / Klaas van Dijken
Design & Development
Jannes Glas, Studio Sugarfree
Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie
Help ons uitzoeken waar Nederlandse wapens uiteindelijk terechtkomen
Wat gebeurt er met onze wapens?
12 Jan. 2018
Spraakmakers, Radio 1
15 Jan. 2018, 'Nederlandse wapens in Jemen'
Bureau Buitenland, VPRO
19 Jan. 2018
Spraakmakers, Radio 1
15 Jan. 2018, 'Nederlandse wapens gebruikt in
17 jan. 2018, 'Nieuwe onderzoeksjournalistiek'
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