The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment ) has been promoting public health and safeguarding the environment for 110 years. RIVM started out in 1909 with a small group of researchers dedicated to combatting cholera and other serious diseases. Their primary mission was to save lives.

In 1909, RIVM started life as the "Central Laboratory for State Supervision", and was located in the Sterrenbos complex on the Catharijnesingel in Utrecht. The working conditions in the laboratory were very difficult. There were not enough researchers to carry out the necessary work and the workspace was very cramped. They also had to deal with a rapidly increasing workload.


The researchers focused on diseases such as cholera, diphtheria, tuberculosis, syphilis and later the Spanish flu. The laboratory also conducted research into nutrition, medicines and water and air pollution.

Today, in 2019, we have grown into a renowned knowledge institute at the centre of society. The circumstances are different, as is the research we conduct.  Our commitment remains the same. We continue to strive for a healthy population in a clean and safe living environment.