On 25 and 26 June, an international conference about resistance to antibiotics - an increasing worldwide problem - will take place in The Hague. As a result of the improper and excessive use of antibiotics, a growing number of bacteria varieties have become resistant against their effects. Ministers from various countries worldwide will discuss the safe use of antibiotics in both human healthcare and veterinary medicine.

Antibiotics are medicines used to kill bacteria or slow down their growth and that help the body to recover when we are ill. An important disadvantage of antibiotics is that bacteria can become resistant (insensitive) to them, which is why doctors are hesitant in prescribing these medicines. The more often a person takes antibiotics, the more likely it is for bacteria to become resistant, and infections with resistant bacteria are more difficult to treat. How this works exactly can be seen in the animation 'Antibiotic resistance: why do some antibiotics fail’.

Growing problem

Resistance to antibiotics is an increasing worldwide problem: as a result of the careless and excessive use of antibiotics, an increasing number of bacteria varieties have become insensitive to the effect of antibiotics, which in turn increases the risk of illnesses such as pneumonia or infections as a complication to operations becoming impossible to treat in the future. The conference in The Hague will focus on the sound use of antibiotics in both human healthcare and veterinary medicine and the benefit of the development of new antibiotics.


RIVM monitors the current state of affairs regarding antibiotic resistance in the Netherlands and maps the number of times people are contaminated with antibiotic resistant  bacteria via various monitoring studies (surveillance) in hospitals, nursing homes and other care institutions. Consultation among various parties involved in antibiotic resistance  is essential in this respect.
On 26 June, RIVM, in collaboration with SWAB and CVI , will publish the latest figures (NethMap/MARAN) about the use and resistance of antibiotics in both human healthcare and veterinary medicine in the Netherlands.

The conference

The conference is organised by Minister Edith Schippers (Health, Welfare and Sport) and State Secretary Sharon Dijksma (Economic Affairs), with the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as a co-sponsor. Another partner is the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The conference takes place in the Peace Palace in The Hague.