VSL (Van Swinden Laboratory)

As the Netherlands’ national metrology institute (NMI), VSL makes measurement results of companies, laboratories and institutions directly traceable to international standards SI units. Through providing services including calibrations, consultancy, reference materials, interlaboratory comparisons and training courses, VSL makes an important contribution to the dependability, quality and innovation of products and processes in commerce and society.

TNO Companies is VSL’s shareholder. By commission of the Dutch government, VSL manages and develops the national measurement standards. VSL is a private company with a public task.
VSL hallmarks

  • internationally authoritative measurement institute
  • management and development of the Netherlands’ national measurement standards
  • high-tech laboratories
  • operates on the interface between science and industry
VSL’s way of working
Working together with VSL means collaborating with professionals who are experts in their field. After the intake, you will receive a clear quotation and plan, so that prior to the implementation there is clarity about the commission. If in the meantime changes happen to the commission, you will be contacted about this in good time.

The history of Van Swinden
VSL (short for ‘Van Swinden Laboratory’) is named after Jean Henri van Swinden (1746-1823), a lecturer in Franeker and later in Amsterdam. Van Swinden was part of an international committee to define the metre, after which he applied himself to getting the metric system introduced into the Netherlands. He was also the person who first introduced the metre (a platinum rod) in 1799. An important follow-up to this was the Metre Convention of 1875, in which it was agreed at international level for the first time that countries would start to keep to a single system of weights and measures.

The above developments led to the introduction of the SI system in 1960. It actually took until 1999 before many countries signed the Mutal Recognition Arrangement (MRA) thus indicated they would accept each other’s national standards and associated measurement results.