Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute

De Bilt Netherlands Wayback Machine
Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute
Dutch: Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut
FS IMG 8907 KNMI.jpg
KNMI headquarters in De Bilt
Agency overview
Formed31 January 1854 (1854-01-31)
HeadquartersDe Bilt, Netherlands
Deputy Minister responsible
Parent departmentMinistry of Infrastructure and Water Management
C. H. D. Buys Ballot, 1st director
(from 1854 to 1890)

The Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (Dutch: Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut or KNMI, pronounced [ˈkoːnɪŋklək ˈneːdərˌlɑnts ˌmeteoroˈloːɣis ˌɪnstiˈtyt]) is the Dutch national weather forecasting service, which has its headquarters in De Bilt, in the province of Utrecht, Netherlands.

The primary tasks of KNMI are weather forecasting, monitoring of climate changes and monitoring seismic activity. KNMI is also the national research and information centre for climate, climate change and seismology.


KNMI was established by royal decree of King William III on 21 January 1854 under the title "Royal Meteorological Observatory". Professor C. H. D. Buys Ballot was appointed as the first Director.[1] The year before Professor Ballot had moved the Utrecht University Observatory to the decomissioned fort at Sonnenborgh. It was only later, in 1897, that the headquarters of the KNMI moved to the Koelenberg estate in De Bilt.

The "Royal Meteorological Observatory" originally had two divisions, the land branch under Dr. Frederik Wilhelm Christiaan Krecke and the marine branch under navy Lt. Marin H. Jansen.[1]

Like Robert FitzRoy who founded the Meteorological Office in Britain the same year, Ballot was disenchanted with the non-scientific weather reports found in European newspapers at the time. Like the Met Office, the KNMI also pioneered daily weather predictions, which he called by a new combination "weervoorspelling" (weather prognostication).

Research at KNMI

Applied research at KNMI is focused on three areas:[2]

KNMI's development of atmospheric dispersion models

KNMI's applied research also encompasses the development and operational use of atmospheric dispersion models.[3][4]

Whenever a disaster occurs within Europe which causes the emission of toxic gases or radioactive material into the atmosphere, it is of utmost importance to quickly determine where the atmospheric plume of toxic material is being transported by the prevailing winds and other meteorological factors. At such times, KNMI activates a special calamity service. For this purpose, a group of seven meteorologists is constantly on call day or night. KNMI's role in supplying information during emergencies is included in municipal and provincial disaster management plans. Civil services, fire departments and the police can be provided with weather and other relevant information directly by the meteorologist on duty, through dedicated telephone connections.

KNMI has available two atmospheric dispersion models for use by their calamity service:

See also

Maurits Snellen [nl], 2nd director
(from 1890 to 1902)


  1. ^ a b Maury, Matthew Fontaine (1858). "Account of Lt. Van Gough". Explanations and sailing directions to accompany the Wind and current charts. Washington D.C.: United States Naval Observatory. pp. 376–377.
  2. ^ KNMI Research Programme, 2003-2007 Archived 2006-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Turner, D.B. (1994). Workbook of atmospheric dispersion estimates: an introduction to dispersion modeling (2nd ed.). CRC Press. ISBN 1-56670-023-X. Archived 2007-11-05 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Beychok, Milton R. (2005). Fundamentals Of Stack Gas Dispersion (4th ed.). author-published. ISBN 0-9644588-0-2.