Health promotion in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport bears overall responsibility for public health at a national level. It formulates policy objectives relating to prevention and health promotion and oversees the effective implementation of measures. Under the Public Health Act, responsibility for public health, prevention and health promotion at a local level lies with the local authorities (municipalities, in Dutch: 'gemeenten'). Every four years municipalities have to formulate a public health strategy for their area.
Municipal public health services
The responsibilities of local authorities regarding public health, prevention and health promotion are primarily carried out by their respective municipal public health services (usually known by the abbreviation 'GGDGeestelijke Gezondheidsdienst (mental health service)' i.e. Gemeentelijke/Gewestelijke Gezondheidsdienst in Dutch). There are around 30 of these in the Netherlands, each serving a particular region – and thus more than one local authority – or city. Municipal public health services carry out a wide range of public health-related activities. They can, for instance, develop and implement health promotion programmes that are tailored to the needs of local communities. Municipal public health services have developed their own local interventions around themes such as child obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and diabetes. They may also opt to implement interventions that are developed by others, for example by national health promotion institutes.
Examples of RIVM's areas of work
- Intervention database for healthy and active living
- Healthy School
- Healthy Neighbourhood
- Healthy cities
- Healthy living environment
In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) found RIVM's Centre for Healthy Living a prime example of how the Dutch national government has taken up its stewardship role within the health promotion landscape for effective health promotion in the Netherlands.
Website Centre for Healthy Living
The Centre for Healthy Living supports health promotion professionals and local authorities through the “Loketgezondleven.nl” web portal. On this website, the database with recognised lifestyle interventions is available. The Centre also facilitates websites for healthy schools and healthy child care. Go to the website.