Introduction to the Political Attention Infographics Website

Agenda-setting is essential to the policy process, it sets the stage for which problems are attended to and which are ignored, and how these problems are portrayed and prioritized. The underlying idea is that attention is a scarce resource, and this means that agendas of governments, parliaments, and other venues are are always selective and are the target of pressure.

Since 2009, the team of Campus the Hague at the Montesquieu Institute studies political agendas in the Netherlands, other democratic countries, and the European Union in order to understand how problems are addressed over a long period of time. This research is done in close collaboration with an international network of scholars in Europe and North America, under the label of the Comparative Agendas Project (

The Infographics on political attention included on this website is based on large scale datasets mapping policy agendas in the Netherlands and the E.U. These agendas can be considered separately or be compared to see how much attention major themes of public policy receive in different institutional venues.

Dutch and European Policy Agendas

The infographics data comprise the annual political agenda of Dutch governments since 1945, the so-called Queen’s speech delivered at the beginning of the budgetary year, the third Tuesday of September (data volume: 9,000). Another dataset entails all written coalition agreements (‘regeerakkoorden’) since these documents were first produced, in 1963 (data volume 5,000). Third, all bills introduced for parliamentary scrutiny since 1980 are included (data volume 5,000). The fourth dataset presented on this website is the total volume of the Conclusions of the European Council, the intergovernmental institution of the EU member states, since its start in 1975 (dataset volume over 40,000).


These datasets representing institutional policy agendas were constructed by content coding all statements, using a common policy topic classification system, with 21 major topics (such as macroeconomics, foreign affairs, health etc.) and more specific subtopics for each of the major categories. The coding system is unified and used by all member teams in the Comparative Agendas Project. The Dutch policy agendas projects were directed by Arco Timmermans, research director of the Montesquieu Institute, and Gerard Breeman from Wageningen University Research Centre and fellow at the Montesquieu Institute. The European Council data project was directed by Petya Alexandrova, PhD researcher at the Montesquieu Institute, and Marcello Carammia from the University of Malta. Also involved in the EU agendas project was Sebastiaan Princen, University of Utrecht and MI-fellow. Further, Lucie Spanihelova and Leticia Elias, both researchers at the Montesquieu Institute, were involved in this infographics project. More information on this international research collaboration and the activities of the team at Campus the Hague can be found at the research website

The political attention infographics is a project developed in close collaboration with the Centre for Innovation at Campus the Hague directed by Gideon Shimshon, the colleagues in the Living Lab Program, Christoph Stettina and Mark van Leeuwen, and Niels Schrader, Pascal de Man and Michał Ejdys from Mind Design, Amsterdam.

Dit project is mede mogelijk gemaakt met steun van het Europees Fonds voor Regionale Ontwikkeling van de Europese Unie.