Media Literacy Week 2021 in the Netherlands

The 2021 edition of the Dutch Media Literacy Week (5-12 November 2021), or #WvdM, focused on the theme ‘Samen Sociaal Online’ (Together Social Online in English). In these times of polarisation, the central topic of the event revolved around how to make the online world a comfortable place for everyone. Thanks to the efforts of the network partners and ambassadors, there was a great deal of national attention around this subject. 

Date 2022-02-22 Author Dutch Safer Internet Centre Section awareness, industry, policy Topic media literacy/education, online reputation Audience children and young people, media specialist, parents and carers, teachers, educators and professionals
Two people touching hands on Instagram

Research shows that four out of five Dutch people believe online manners should be improved 

This data emerged from new research that the Media Literacy Network presented at the start of Media Literacy Week. In addition, two-thirds of people in the Netherlands currently experience social media platforms as insufficiently social. A large percentage of people believe that platforms should intervene quicker and more often when it comes to inappropriate content. Conspiratorial thinking and the spread of misinformation and disinformation were the most common worries expressed by the respondents. You can view all results and download the survey here (in Dutch). 

The Dutch Media Literacy Network calls for action 

Social media platforms are regularly stated as a source of annoyance, despair and fear. At the moment, online misconduct is often ignored and therefore tolerated. Due to the polarisation and hardening of online debates, people no longer dare or wish to make their voices heard online. It is therefore important to advocate for better online manners. There is a lot at stake: online social well-being, a well-functioning and increasingly digital society and, ultimately, our democracy. 

With the Together Social Online pamphlet, the Dutch Media Literacy Network makes an urgent appeal to governments and social media platforms to push for a better, more social code of conduct online, to actively support the conversation, and to be open to input from users. On the first day of Media Literacy Week, Program Director of Network Media Literacy, Mary Berkhout-Nio, presented the pamphlet to Sander Dekker, the Dutch Minister for Legal Protection. Watch the video and read the press release from the event

Personal stories from people on the street 

During the week, ‘people on the street’-style interviews asked passers-by questions and posed statements to them about how they experience the online world. Their responses to, for example, the question “The best thing about the online world is…?” or the statement “The online world is falling apart...” can be found on the campaign’s Instagram account

Special Media Awards 

The winners of the Special Media Awards were announced during a festive online presentation. This annual award ceremony, organised by interest group Amerpoort, is aimed at media makers with mental health problems. 

Launch of the online guide 

Many care counsellors of people with mild intellectual disabilities are in need of tools to properly guide their clients in the use of online media. For example, how can unpleasant online experiences such as grooming or phishing be prevented? How can you guide people in the safe use of dating, gaming and social media apps? 

Recent research shows that three-quarters of mental healthcare professionals experience that people with intellectual disabilities are often more media literate than their caregivers. The vast majority of this group requires, above all, more useful insights into the use of online media outlets. While they are aware of the positive effects of using online media on their clients, they are reluctant to guide them in their use due to their lack of digital literacy. is an easy-to-use guide (in Dutch) providing 'on the spot' answers to practical or pressing questions from care providers. It offers healthcare institution managers opportunities to develop constructive and supportive policies. 

Activities in the network 

Every year, many network partners contribute to Media Literacy Week by organising activities. This year, there were no less than 200 ranging from lectures, workshops and discussion evenings to radio programmes, exhibitions and more. The initiatives included: 

  • Radio presenter Erik Lemmers made a radio programme about Media Literacy Week. 
  • During the webinar, Together Social Online, Denise Bontje of discussed the media use of children up to 12 years old with more than 300 parents. 
  • The exhibition Sorry. An exhibition displayed the results of year-long research by SETUP, along with artists and designers, on how technology can help us make and accept excuses. 
  • During the DigiBiebLab workshop, organised by Eersel Library, children designed their own social media platform and learned about artificial intelligence. 
  • During the session Fake news in healthcare, the question of how we can help (future) healthcare professionals to recognise and deal with disinformation and misinformation was discussed. 
  • Jacqueline Kleijer, media pedagogue at Bureau Jeugd en Media, gave parents and carers an overview of the challenges faced as an educator in this era of online learning as part of the webinar Young people, the internet and education #hoedan? 

A record amount of participants in the educational game MediaMasters 

A record number of 160,000 middle school students took part in the MediaMasters educational game this year. Divided into more than 7,000 classes, they competed for the title of 'Most media literate class in the Netherlands'. 

This year, Year 7 from primary school Het Startblok from Oude-Tonge won the competition. Ricardo Sint Nicolaas, Year 7 group teacher at Het Startblok, stated: "Our main goal was to beat Year 8; we never expected that we would leave the whole of the Netherlands behind us." Congratulations! 

Ministerial school visit 

The Dutch Minister for Education and Media, Arie Slob, visited the Reformed Primary School De Fakkel in Almelo. The Minister discussed media literacy with the pupils and observed the students playing the MediaMasters educational game. 

Media attention 

Many national media outlets covered Media Literacy Week in the Netherlands, from newspapers to TV and online outlets. The initiative was equally very visible across social media.  

The 2022 edition of the Media Literacy Week will take place on 4-11 November. 

This article was originally published at and has been adapted and republished here with the permission of the Dutch Safer Internet Centre. 

Find out more about the work of the Dutch Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe

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