Customercase Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)

Customercase Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)

The weather, everyone talks about it. The KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorology Institute), a well-known organisation in the Netherlands, focuses on weather conditions and predictions on a daily basis. KNMI is one of Minerva’s customers and today we’re having a fascinating conversation with Peter van Werkhooven about KNMI’s activities and his personal experiences with Minerva.

Independent weather stations

“Peter, thanks for talking to us today about your collaboration with Minerva. Could you tell us something about your job as calibration technician for the KNMI?

The KNMI is the national knowledge and data centre for weather, climate and seismology in the Netherlands.

Spread throughout the Netherlands there are several automated weather stations and we have several in the North Sea too. All of these weather stations run completely independently. The data is then collected and subsequently sent to the KNMI. This data is then processed in all kinds of services. For example; when we measure the temperature in De Bilt (in the geographical centre of the Netherlands), it is automatically visible on our website a few minutes later.

Almost all equipment in the Netherlands used to measure weather and climate we calibrate in-house in our own lab. The equipment we use varies from barometers to record air pressure to temperature sensors and humidity meters. We also have instruments to measure rainfall, sunlight, mist and clouds. We measure the height of the clouds and finally we have instruments that measure wind speed and wind trajectory.

The calibration lab is part of a department called Operational Observation and employs 50 people. This department consists of several different sub departments. There is the sub department I operate in, then there’s Data Analysis and there’s also a sub department where operatives go out in the field. Additionally, there are testing specialists whose job is to investigate which sensors are required to fulfil our duties and how those sensors must be maintained and serviced. Finally, there’s a group of specialists whose focus is to inspect and service the independent weather stations.

Guaranteeing Continuity

The KNMI is affiliated with an umbrella organisation that has certain regulations and prerequisites that an automated weather station must comply with. For example, we recently had to set up a new weather station as there was construction taking place nearby another station that invalidated the measurements. As a result, the entire station had to be moved elsewhere. Naturally this is an occurrence that we are looking to prevent in the future. Moving a station costs a lot of money but even worse, data was temporarily lost which broke a non-stop cycle of measurements of several decades. Especially in relation to climate change developments we will take a good look at locations where no construction is planned to take place for the foreseeable future to guarantee measurement continuity.

Unprecedentedly Good

For which types of equipment does the KNMI use Minerva’s calibration services?

We have our instruments that we use as our reference standards calibrated by Minerva and other parties. Minerva calibrates our pressure equipment and to have our electric standards calibrated we sub-contracted Minerva.

Temperature sensor and humidity sensor

What do you think of the collaboration with Minerva?

“The KNMI has been working with Minerva for at least five years now. I am very content.

Minerva offers a well-organised calibration service and their communication is unprecedentedly good. You will receive several e-mails with each order, like the confirmation of receipt. You hardly see that anywhere.”

What are some words that come to mind when you think of Minerva?

Delivers quality work and is pleasant to work with. Delivers on their promises too.

What moment do you remember during your time working with Minerva?

One of our electrical standards was sent to Minerva for recalibration. The partner of Minerva indicated that the equipment was malfunctioning, it was either defective or out of specification. Minerva let us know that this malfunction could not be repaired and offered a way forward. We could either purchase a new instrument or leave it as is, sending back the equipment with As-Found data. These options were outlined clearly.

High Dependability of Service

Minerva’s promise is to ensure carefree traceability. Do you believe that promise to be fulfilled towards you as a customer?

SMP10 Smart Class A Pyranometer - Kipp & Zonen (

“Absolutely yes. The nice thing for us is that all our instruments are picked up here at the KNMI. Throughout the order I am updated and kept informed on the status of the order. I am always offered the choice on how to proceed in case of any hiccups and these decisions are never made for me. That is very pleasant to me. After the calibration is finalised, the certificates are uploaded online. The dependability therefore is quite high as I always know where I stand.

In case there are any special requirements or abnormalities about a certain order, I can immediately get in touch with the right people within Minerva and whatever is required will be arranged swiftly.

You rarely see an organisation communicating so well. That is very satisfying as you can find out the latest status at any given moment. I would absolutely recommend Minerva, simply because I know their service is of such high standard and quality.

April 16, 2024

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