The purpose of FIRMBACKBONE is to build an organically growing, longitudinal data-infrastructure with information on Dutch companies for scientific research.


The digitalization of our society and economy has enabled novel methods of data collection and analysis of companies. Such digital data are both deep (i.e., detailed) and long (i.e., over time) in scope and harbor much potential for creating new economic insights and applications.

However, academic researchers and students in (applied) economics and adjacent fields (e.g., management, entrepreneurship, economic geography and history) currently lack access to a comprehensive and longitudinal data source on Dutch companies. Often-heard complaints are that such data are too expensive to obtain or not user-friendly.


A “backbone” will be created that contains a list of company names and company numbers that are publicly accessible. We will enrich the data with additional public information (e.g., through web scraping of company websites) and by collaborating with local data suppliers.

Once FIRMBACKBONE is ready, the data will become accessible through an access protocol within SANE (Secure ANalysis Environment) an initiative of ODISSEI providing high-performance computing power hosted at Surf. Collaboration with ODISSEI ensures adequate data protection, governance, and long-term sustainability.

For whom?

Potential users are all academic researchers and students affiliated with Dutch scientific institutions (mostly universities) interested in the analysis of information of companies in general. They can be found across all sub-disciplines of business—from marketing, strategy and entrepreneurship to accounting and finance—and also include economic geographers, historians, labor sociologists, and so on.

Researchers making use of FIRMBACKBONE are invited to enrich it with other data that they have collected (e.g., through surveys or tailor-made indicators). Publications of scientific results are requested to refer to FIRMBACKBONE and the sources of the specific data that are used.