RIVM, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, works towards a healthy population living in a sustainable, safe and healthy environment. RIVM pursues those goals based on independent scientific research. Working with our commissioning clients, we identify the research that is needed and conduct studies accordingly. We provide advice to the government, to professionals and to members of the public, and share our knowledge. This is how RIVM supports society in staying healthy and keeping our environment healthy.


Living in a safe, clean, healthy environment

RIVM advises the government on how we can keep our living environment safe, clean and healthy. We also share knowledge about smart solutions for a safe and sustainable environment.

  • We regularly monitor the quality of air, water and soil.
  • We perform on-site measurements after an accident or disaster in which hazardous substances may have been released.
  • We research various forms of radiation, including emissions from radioactive chemicals, light sources, high-voltage power lines and mobile phones.


Preventing and controlling infectious diseases

RIVM collects, analyses and interprets data on infectious diseases by conducting field and laboratory research. In doing so, we prevent and control infectious diseases. To that end, we work with organisations in the Netherlands and abroad.

  • RIVM organises the National Immunisation Programme. This programme protects children against twelve serious infectious diseases, including measles, whooping cough and rubella.
  • RIVM assists the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) in controlling local or regional outbreaks of disease.
  • In the event of a major outbreak, we coordinate efforts to control the disease. Examples include the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, Q fever, foodborne infections, Ebola, and Lassa fever.


Good healthcare and a healthy lifestyle

RIVM investigates what is needed for good healthcare and a healthy lifestyle. We also assess which national and local health programmes are most effective. One of our important tasks is perinatal screening: checking babies for possible diseases, both during pregnancy and right after birth. We also have population screening programmes for prevention or early detection of diseases such as colorectal cancer, breast cancer and cervical cancer.

  • How safe are medical products, medicines and foods?
  • What are the health risks of smoking, alcohol or obesity?
  • How much salt do Dutch people use in their food?

RIVM - throughout the life course

RIVM - throughout the life course

This short video explains what the RIVM, the Dutch national institute for public health and the environment, represents. And what they do on a daily basis to ensure a healthy and safe environment for everyone.

Mission and strategy

RIVM works towards a healthy population in a sustainable, safe and healthy living environment. To that end, we are a trusted advisor to the government, professionals and private citizens. RIVM has defined these four strategic priorities for the next few years:

  • At the heart of society
  • Prepared for questions, now and in the future 
  • From local to international
  • Shaped by people

Read more about our mission and strategy and our Strategic Programme RIVM

Independent knowledge organisation

RIVM, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, is an agency of the Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS). The Ministry is the owner of RIVM. It provides the facilities we need in order to do our work. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport is also one of our commissioning clients. Even so, RIVM is independent in the performance of its commissioned projects. The RIVM Act safeguards that independence.


The institute is managed by a board of directors. RIVM has thirteen specialised knowledge centres, ranging across three domains of specific knowledge and expertise:

Read more about the organisation

RIVM Gate Bilthoven in the fifties


Timeline: 110 years of promoting public health and safeguarding the environment. In 1909, the ‘Central Laboratory for the State Inspectorate’ opened in Utrecht. The initial focus was on vaccines, but the scope of its work expanded steadily. From 1934 on, the institute was known as the National Institute for Public Health (RIV National Institute for Public Health (National Institute for Public Health )). In 1984, the Council of Ministers decided to cluster all the tasks in the field of public health and environmental hygiene, marking the start of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment: RIVM. 

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