A selection of films on the work and activities of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM.

RIVM - throughout the life course

This short video explains what the RIVM, the Dutch national institute for public health and the environment, represents. And what they do on a daily basis to ensure a healthy and safe environment for everyone.

Epidemics then and now

Al meer dan 100 jaar strijdt het RIVM tegen besmettelijke ziekten. In deze video wordt een overzicht gegeven van een aantal epidemie‘n en de rol die het RIVM heeft gespeeld in de bestrijding daarvan.

RIVM as WHO Reference Laboratory for COVID-19

In deze video geven topexperts virologie Adam Meijer en Chantal Reusken antwoord op 4 veel gestelde vragen over het WHO referentielaboratorium bij het RIVM.

Four questions about the EVD-LabNet

In deze video worden vier vragen over EVD LabNet beantwoord door Dr. Chantal Reusken, Topexpert virologie. De vragen zijn: Wat is EVD-LabNet? Hoe ziet de samenwerking tussen laboratoria eruit? Wat voor rol heeft het netwerk bij een nieuwe ziekte? Wat betekent de cošrdinerende rol van het RIVM in het netwerk?

Key Public Health Challenges

(On-screen title: Public health challenges in a world in transition. Voice-over:)



VOICE-OVER: Today we are living in a world in transition.
An open world without boundaries. A world in which people can go anywhere.
In this open world, we can identify several trends,
one of which is migration.
More and more people are moving to the city.
And more and more people are fleeing from war and poverty.
Resilience and sustainability are of key importance.
Increasing urbanisation leads to increasing social isolation.
Population growth also causes a massive strain on our natural resources.
For example, fossil fuels will become scarce
and more hazardous waste will be produced.
An open world inherently brings with it the risk of threats.
Crowded cities are a target for terrorism, including bioterrorism.
We need to be ready to control these threats
and be prepared for the impact hazardous substances may have
on our health, our food and on vital ecosystems.
An open world also brings with it major challenges to public health.
The promotion of good and equitable health is of paramount importance.
In coming years, life expectancy will continue to rise
and it is vital for the entire population to age healthily.
This can be achieved by influencing lifestyle, environmental conditions,
socio-economic determinants and food safety.
To boost the well-being of society and to maintain prosperity,
it's important to have a sustainable circular use of resources
and energy transitions.
Another necessity is the surveillance of infectious diseases.
Preventing the spread of antimicrobial resistance
has made it firmly onto the global health security agenda.
New times also create new possibilities.
We need innovative ways to promote health and environmental quality.
We need integrated approaches, for we should not only control risk factors,
but manage conditions and assets as well.
Increasingly RIVM is seeking international partners and stakeholders
with which to exchange knowledge and expertise
to find the answers to these complex and global challenges.
Trustworthy knowledge for authorities, public and private partners, and citizens.
For this generation and future ones.


(The screen turns orange and white. On-screen text: This is a production of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment.)

Crises and disasters

ÿþIn the event of an accident or disaster, the role of RIVM is to support national and local government and to direct control responses. RIVM has a directive role in case of an outbreak of an infectious disease. In the event of an accident or disaster, RIVM plays an advisory role and is responsible for providing accurate information with the aim of limiting the consequences to human health and the environment. The film 'Crises and Emergencies' provides insight into the different RIVM roles in these cases.

Air quality

(On-screen text: National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. An aerial view of dunes. Children play on a beach. A girl has sunscreen applied. A weatherman:)



(Tomorrow there will be a chance of smog in the centre of the country, according to the RIVM. This is not a problem for most people but is for those with lung conditions.)

(On-screen text: Air Quality. A blue sky with clouds. Voice-over:)


VOICE-OVER: Poor air quality is a threat to our health and well-being.

The main sources of air pollution are traffic, industry and livestock farming.

(Grazing cows.)

RIVM monitors air quality in the Netherlands

and advises the government authorities.

This is a complex process.

The strength of RIVM is that it covers the entire chain.

KEES VAN LUIJK: RIVM is the national institute for environmental monitoring.

We do air quality measurements

but we also have a model with traffic and industry, all the emission sources,

and the model calculates the air quality.

So we can compare the measurements with calculations

and together we can give advice to the government

about air quality and improving air quality.

VOICE-OVER: RIVM researches the impact that air pollution has on people,

because that impact is significant.

Long-term exposure to fine particulates in the atmosphere

can aggravate various cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.

Efforts to improve air quality

are set out in the National Air Quality Cooperation Programme, or NSL.

(A man is typing.)

RIVM monitors air quality, using the national Air Quality Monitoring Network.

Sixty permanent monitoring stations

register the concentrations of certain substances in the atmosphere.

RIVM also uses this data as input for models.

(Various masts.)

One notable monitoring station is the site of the 213 metre tall Cabauw mast,

which was erected by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.

Instruments are mounted at various heights to monitor variables

such as particulates, nitrogen oxides and wind speed.

(Smoking chimneys.)

RIVM also has mobile monitoring equipment,

seen here close to the industrial centre of Pernis, near Rotterdam.

Lasers are used to scan for sulphur dioxide emissions

in and around the plumes of smoke.

The equipment systematically zooms in on predetermined segments of the atmosphere.

(An aerial view of dunes, followed by one of a river. Margreet van Zanten:)


MARGREET VAN ZANTEN: Well, many people know

that air pollution can be harmful for people

but air pollution can be harmful for nature as well,

because in the air we have all kinds of compounds

that have nitrogen in them

and if this nitrogen is deposited on the ground, it acts as a kind of fertiliser.

And this fertilisation of nature leads to a depleted ecosystem.

(A man drives along a forest trail on a quad bike.)


VOICE-OVER: International measures have been agreed to limit damage to ecosystems.

The National Acidification Trend Monitoring Network

helps to monitor the long-term effects of those measures.

Groundwater sampling is a reliable method that is used for this purpose.

(The man pours fluid from clear tubing into a small bottle.)


The Ammonia in Nature Areas monitoring network

records ammonia concentrations in the air.

Small glass tubes fitted with a filter are sent to RIVM.

With samples taken at 236 sites nationwide, a reliable impression is obtained

of ammonia concentrations in nature areas throughout the country.

European policy on nitrogen compounds has been implemented in the Netherlands

in the programmatic action plan for nitrogen.

The main role of RIVM in this programmatic approach is to monitor

whether nitrogen deposition in those nature areas is decreasing.

VOICE-OVER: Air pollution is not restricted by national boundaries.

International policy is therefore essential.

VAN LUIJK: Air quality is an international issue.

Air pollution is crossing borders.

We have a lot of contact with our colleagues in other countries,

so that we meet the same requirements for measurements and calculations

and we have the same advice for governments

and international air quality policy.

VOICE-OVER: The quality of the Netherlands' air, soil and water

is steadily improving.

Through its independent research and its advisory role,

RIVM is making a significant contribution to a better, cleaner environment.

(The on-screen text "Committed to health and sustainability" appears in blue letters against an orange background. The text disappears and the screen turns white.)


Zoonoses: diseases which are passed from animals to humans

Zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases spread between animals and humans. RIVM short film on Zoonoses describes how people can get zoonotic diseases and RIVM role in the control of communicable infectious diseases.