Clean water contributes to a healthy life. For instance, clean water that people can swim in encourages people to be more active. RIVM has an advisory role and conducts scientific research into the quality of bathing water.

In the Netherlands, there are many different places where people can swim. RIVM strongly recommends only swimming at officially designated swimming locations. These official swimming locations are places designated by the province for swimming in surface water. Water quality at these locations is regularly checked by the manager of the swimming location. This could be a water board or the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat). Unofficial swimming locations do not have a designated status, and water quality is not checked.

RIVM identifies trends in preventing micro-organisms that cause disease by contact with bathing water. The environment, climate change and societal trends, such as swimming ponds, water playing areas, and water in the city are included in that scope, but issues related to antibiotic resistance are also relevant here. In order to continue identifying these trends, RIVM maintains up-to-date knowledge and expertise about bathing water through desk studies, experimental research and/or modelling and quantitative microbiological risk analyses. RIVM is not directly involved in measuring bathing water quality. However, RIVM does take an active part in various consultative bodies in the field of recreational water. In addition, RIVM provides advice to various government bodies, such as ministries, provinces, municipal public health services, water boards, and so on, which face bathing water issues.