Microdata for research

Table of Contents

    Do you conduct scientific or statistical research within a public institution or a research institute?
    Statbel makes pseudonymised study data available.

    Attention: A student who wants to use microdata from Statbel, cannot submit an application on his own behalf. The application must be made through the college or university where he/she is following the course. The condition is that the college or university ensures confidentiality and the microdata made available by Statbel may not leave the servers of the college or university.

    Who can request microdata?

    • Federal public services or public interest bodies subject, with the exception of tax authorities;
    • Regional and community ministerial departments or public interest bodies, with the exception of tax authorities;
    • Provincial or municipal administrations, with the exception of tax authorities;
    • Multilateral organisations of which the Belgian State is a member;
    • All scientific and research institutions that pursue a scientific research goal and are recognised by Statbel as research institutions.

    To be recognised as such, the institution must, among others, meet the criteria set out in Article 4 of the Commission Regulation (EU) Nº 557/2013 of 17 June 2013 implementing Regulation (EC) Nº 223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council on European Statistics as regards access to confidential data for scientific purposes and repealing Commission Regulation (EC) Nº 831/2002:

    • The institution’s statute, mission or another declaration purpose includes statistical or scientific research as purpose;
    • Based on the lists of publications and research projects, the institution demonstrates its established record and reputation as a body producing quality research and making it publicly available;
    • The institution demonstrates, based on the internal organisational arrangements, that it is independent and autonomous in formulating scientific conclusions and separated from policy areas of the body it belongs to;
    • The institution demonstrates that it takes adequate technical and organisational measures to ensure adequate data security.

    List of research institutions recognised by Statbel

    For what purposes can microdata be requested?

    Researchers can request microdata if the data is necessary for their statistical or scientific research. Necessary means that the research is not possible on the basis of global and anonymous data that Statbel disseminates without restrictions via the website https://statbel.fgov.be/en:

    • Be.STAT , Statbel's electronic database, allows researchers to create customised tables; 
    • Through Open data , Statbel makes aggregated data available at a fairly detailed level.

    The purpose for which the data is requested is limited to statistical and scientific research. However, this goal may be interpreted broadly. Policy preparatory research or research by private institutions are also eligible, provided that the processing happens independently, transparently and by making use of scientific methods. The results of the research should also be made public.  

    The result of the processing must consist of global and anonymous statistics and research reports that may not have any individual impact on the citizens or enterprises concerned. Of course, these published global and anonymous results can be freely used afterwards for non-statistical or non-scientific purposes.   

    Read more: Microdata for statistical and scientific research, the possibilities for researchers to obtain individual data held by Statbel (.pdf), Erik Meersseman and Patrick Lusyne.


    As far as possible, the data are made available to researchers free of charge. Statbel therefore does not charge any administrative costs. Only in the case of a tailor-made solution is a fixed amount of €500 required for the additional work. So discuss in advance with the Statbel statistician whether the data requested are standard or not. If an exceptionally large amount of customised work is required to produce the data, Statbel will estimate in advance the number of man-days that will be invoiced according to the Eurostat rate.

    How to proceed?

    • Contact Statbel via statbel@economie.fgov.be or contact directly the statistician in charge of your study field, if you have his contact details.
    • After consulting the statistician, you should submit an official data request with the request form and a conformity declaration. In some cases, the statistician will indicate that the simplified request form is sufficient.
    • You should send the signed documents, by e-mail to statbel.datarequests@economie.fgov.be
    • Statbel's Data Protection Officer team will evaluate the request and issue an opinion. Finally, as data controller, Statbel's director-general will decide if the data can be delivered.
    • If the evaluation is positive, Statbel draws up the final contract, that you need to sign.
    • After receipt of the original signed contract, Statbel will deliver the requested microdata within the set timeframe.