Website for free self-tests is finally going offline

| HOP, Hein Cuppen

The website where students and staff in vocational and higher education can order self-tests free of charge is going offline as from 20 June. Or earlier, if there are no more self-tests left. So anyone still wanting to place an order should take action fast.

The online portal zelftestonderwijs.nl of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science was due to close on 1 June but for unspecified reasons it has taken somewhat longer. The time has now come, Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf says in a memorandum to the House of Representatives.

The portal was set up in May 2021 to make the self-tests available quickly to students and staff. According to Dijkgraaf, the portal proved very effective at that stage of the crisis. All in all, more than 12 million self-tests were shipped.

Free of charge

Now that the recommendation for preventive testing has been dropped and the number of requests on the portal has fallen considerably, it is no longer worthwhile keeping it open. However, the guiding principle is still that self-tests should be 'easily obtainable'. So distribution to the institutions will continue at any rate until the summer, Dijkgraaf writes. They can continue distributing the self-tests free of charge.

Dijkgraaf’s predecessor, Ingrid van Engelshoven, was less enthusiastic about the portal: she announced two months after it went live that the free self-tests were having hardly any impact in terms of enabling more face-to-face teaching.