Good ventilation is not only required for a healthy and pleasant indoor climate, but it also helps to limit the transmission of respiratory infections, such as COVID-19. Ventilation means refreshing the indoor air with fresh air from outside, 24 hours a day. This ensures that the fresh outdoor air constantly replaces some of the air indoors which is contaminated with fine particles, water vapour, etc.

You can ventilate an indoor area by leaving windows open at a tilt, by opening ventilation grilles or gaps, or by using mechanical ventilation systems. In addition, it is important to air out indoor spaces from time to time. This means, for example, leaving doors/windows opposite each other wide open for 10 to 15 minutes to create a good draft. By doing so, you are refreshing most of the air in your indoor space all at once. This is something to do after cooking, showering, or hosting multiple people, for example.

Cooling

When the weather is warm, you might use a fan or air conditioner to cool your home. Keep in mind that these devices do not refresh the air, but only move it around. If you have guests in your home, make sure that your devices are not creating an air flow from one person to another. See also the National Heat Plan.
 

Questions about ventilation

What are RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment ’s recommendations about ventilation?

At a minimum, RIVM recommends compliance with the Dutch Buildings Decree (Bouwbesluit) and all current recommendations and guidelines. There are no indications that additional measures are necessary. For the full list of recommendations, see the LCI website (in Dutch).

Can ventilation prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Good ventilation is important for a healthy indoor climate. Ventilation also helps to limit the transmission of respiratory infections, such as COVID-19. However, the degree to which ventilation (refreshing the air) specifically inhibits the transmission of COVID-19 is unknown. This is why it remains important to, in addition to ensuring proper ventilation, also observe all the general recommendations, such as washing hands often, staying home if you have symptoms, getting tested, and maintaining distance from others.

Are there special recommendations for ventilation in nursing homes, cafés and restaurants, sports clubs and schools?

The Dutch Government provides information about ventilation of buildings. RIVM also has general information available about hygiene, ventilation and indoor environments. Additional recommendations are available specifically for schools and care homes.

Can air recirculators be used safely?

It is important to provide adequate ventilation: ensuring that indoor air is sufficiently refreshed with fresh air from outside. Spaces that use recirculation systems that introduce minimal amounts of fresh air, or no fresh air, are not in compliance with the Buildings Decree. For precautionary reasons, use of these types of recirculation systems is not recommended unless they introduce an adequate amount of fresh air throughout the day. Some recirculation systems do have the capacity to introduce fresh air. When using these systems, make sure they are configured to add enough fresh air into the space to guarantee good ventilation.

Can I use air conditioning? 

Yes, you can use ventilation systems and air conditioners for cooling your home

Whether or not the use of a mobile air conditioning unit in shared spaces presents a greater risk of infection is not yet clear. To avoid unnecessary risk, we therefore recommend only using mobile air conditioning units in shared spaces if there is no other option for cooling. If you do this, make sure that you do not create an air flow from one person to another.

Can I use a fan? 

Yes, for personal use in your home/within the family environment, you can use a fan to create a cooling airflow. To increase the cooling effect, you can place a frozen water bottle in front of the fan. 

Whether or not the use of a fan in shared spaces presents a greater risk of infection is not yet clear. To avoid unnecessary risk, we therefore recommend only using fans in shared spaces if there is no other option for cooling. If you do this, make sure that you do not create an air flow from one person to another.

For more information, see the page on Heat and COVID-19 (Dutch only).