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

This video shows various studies conducted by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

A young woman having breakfast reads on a tablet: What do Dutch people eat and drink? She clicks the 'sign up for research'- button.

A man on a boat takes a water sample for drinking water research. A meeting at RIVM in Bilthoven on which sources is your drinking water made.

An envelope with a test kit for colorectal cancer screening arrives on the doorstep of an elderly lady.

Young people relax on the beach of IJmuiden. In close proximity, an investigation into possible contaminated dust particles is being carried out.

Employees in yellow suits from the RIVM Environmental Incident Service carry out a test during an exercise with leaked hazardous material.

A man wearing a helmet and waders performs an inspection in a sewer and takes a sample. A sewage sample is examined in the laboratory at RIVM in Bilthoven.

Laboratory technicians conduct research into vaccines against HPV.

Two young people walk past a billboard in a city with the text; protected against 6 types of cancer with 1 vaccine.

A young woman receives an HPV vaccination.

In the forest, a researcher from RIVM places a tick in a tube with tweezers. The tick is studied under a microscope in the lab.

Noise measurements are taken next to a busy highway and alongside a train track that runs through a meadow.

Amidst a blooming heather field, a researcher from RIVM stands on a ladder against a mast where he measures nitrogen emissions.

A night porter at work. RIVM employees discuss health risks associated with night work.

Text on a box reads: National Immunisation Programme. The boxes are loaded into a bus.

A visual mosaic shows the research presented in this film.

Text on screen: committed to health and sustainability.

RIVM logo appears on screen.

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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