About VSL

As the Netherlands’ National Metrology Institute (NMI), VSL makes measurement results of companies, laboratories and institutions directly traceable to international standards (SI units). By providing services such as 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.

First Dutch Innovations 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.

Welcome to VSL’s ‘Virtual Reality Lab Tour’.

For the best result we recommend to watch the tour in Google Chrome, or Safari.

On this Virtual Reality Lab Tour, you can look around the laboratories at VSL and the various facilities. Discover our measurement labs in the 360º photographs. You can rotate the 360º photographs automatically using the buttons or by dragging your mouse. To zoom in, you can use the scroll button on your mouse.

During the tour, you can focus on particular facilities in each lab by clicking the links to the photographs. In addition, you can display detailed information for certain facilities in a lab.

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

View VSL's organisation chart.

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. Should there be any changes to the commission, we will contact you as soon as possible.

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.