Health Interview Survey | Microdata request procedure

Last updated on 27-3-2024 by Sabine Drieskens

On 21 March 2016, an agreement was concluded between the federal government and the authorities referred to in Articles 128, 130 and 135 of the Constitution regarding the organization and financing of the Health Interview Survey 2018. This agreement provides the possibility of making the survey data available:

  • for analyses conducted at the commissioners’ request (without payment)
  • to municipal and provincial authorities and to administrations at the federal, regional or community levels, other than those who fall under the responsibility of the HIS commissioners and who have financed an over-sampling (without payment)
  • to international public health or statistics organizations (without payment)
  • to university research groups or groups associated with a university (500 euros per application except for master’s projects and international organisations). 

​The data of the HIS 2018, which also includes the data from previous editions, is subject to the general data protection regulations (GDPR), the Framework Act of 30 July 2018 and the Act of 5 September 2018 establishing the Information Security Committee. 

Application procedure

The procedure for obtaining the HIS data is initially done by completing the electronic application form.
​There are 2 possibilities:

  1. If you only request variables that are included in the codebook of the anonymous database of the HIS 2018 (see below), the data transfer process will then be quite short and you only need to sign a data transfer agreement.
  2. If, on the other hand, your request requires a link to another database or concerns variables that are not included in this codebook (date of birth, detailed information on nationality or country of birth, detailed geographical data), you must submit an application to the Information Security Committee (ISC).

The procedure for both options is described below.

Submit a request to access the anonymous database

1. ​​​​Fill in File the document that allows to specify the needed variables and the justification for each requested variable/module. You can use File the codebook of the anonymous database of the HIS 2018 for this purpose. Send the completed form to Sciensano via email to​.

2. The HIS team checks whether the requested variables are proportionate to the research objectives.

3. ​Once the principle of proportionality has been ensured, you will receive a draft agreement from us regarding the data transfer between the 2 parties. This agreement includes, in particular: the terms of provision, the security rules to be respected, the data retention period, the terms of presentation of the results, the intellectual property and the responsibilities of the two parties. You will receive this agreement by email.

4. Sign the agreement electronically and return it by email to

​5. We will then send the agreement signed by both parties, back to you, via email. This email also contains the information on how to download the requested data, which is sent encrypted via Belnet.

Submit an application to the Information Security Committee

1. ​​​​If the requested data is not considered anonymous, you must submit an authorization request to the Information Security Committee (ISC) using the form provided for this (available in Microsoft Office document icon Dutch and Microsoft Office document icon French), in which a number of aspects related to the HIS have already been filled (in blue). 

The application must contain at least the following:​

  • The objective pursued under the agreement between the requester and Sciensano.
  • The list of modules requested; for this you can use File the codebook of the HIS 2018.
  • The information folder (available in PDF icon Dutch and PDF icon French) that was sent to the selected households, in which it is explicitly stated that the HIS 2018 data can be used by universities and research centers.
  • The PDF icon small cell risk analysis report (only available in Dutch): this is necessary to ensure that there is no possibility of re-identification of individuals by combining the survey data. This analysis has been carried out for the complete database and is therefore also valid for those that would include only a few modules.
  • The draft data transfer agreement between Sciensano and the applicant.

You can request the data by module. In the authorization request, it is therefore sufficient to indicate the modules required and the relevance of each module within the context of the research. However, a list of all the variables corresponding to the requested modules should be added as an annex. The ISC will check whether the requested modules are proportionate to the research objectives.

2. Send the applicaton to the ISC by email to

3. As soon as the application has been approved by the ISC, you should send a copy of the approved authorization to Sciensano (by sending an email to, as well as the agreement with Sciensano for the transfer of the data, which you sign electronically

4. We will then send the agreement signed by both parties, back to you, via email. This email also contains the information to download the requested data, which is sent encrypted via Belnet.

Consult the PDF icon list of research projects that received the HIS 2018 data.

Any further questions? Contact the HIS team. 

More information about the Health Interview Survey

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