After 11 years as Director of the Centre for Infectious Disease Control, Jaap van Dissel has stepped down to enjoy his well-deserved pension. During a symposium in honour of his retirement, RIVM Director-General Hans Brug awarded him the Jenner Medal, while outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte presented him with a royal distinction. 

In addition to his 11 years heading the RIVM Centre for Infectious Disease Control, Van Dissel also taught at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) as a professor of Internal Medicine, specialising in infectious diseases. 

To the world at large, the most memorable moment in Van Dissel’s career came during the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides the key role he played in the Dutch response, he also worked closely with his colleagues at the Centre for Infectious Disease Control and various collaborating partners on efforts to control various infectious diseases, not least measles, Ebola, meningococcal W disease, Legionella and mpox. 

In honour of his retirement, RIVM organised a symposium followed by a reception. The symposium culminated in an award ceremony, at which Jaap van Dissel was awarded the Jenner Medal on behalf of RIVM by Hans Brug, and received a royal distinction presented by Mark Rutte. The bronze Jenner Medal and accompanying certificate are awarded to people who have done pioneering work for RIVM. Jaap van Dissel received the medal for his extraordinary contribution to the scientific foundation and development of RIVM. 

The royal distinction was awarded by Mark Rutte, outgoing Prime Minister of the Netherlands, flanked by Hugo de Jonge, outgoing Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and former Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport. De Jonge described Van Dissel as “the [country’s] dike, anchor and lighthouse during the pandemic”. Jaap van Dissel has been appointed Commander of the Order of Orange-Nassau.