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National resources: Netherlands


This page discusses infectious disease research in the Netherlands and provides information on relevant health authorities and initiatives. In addition, the page offers a collection of key considerations for researchers such as regulations for data handling and disease control. While the primary target audience is the scientific community in the Netherlands, you will also find (open-access) resources that could be useful for the wider community.

Health authorities

The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS in Dutch) and National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) work jointly to provide an effective and coordinated effort towards the prevention and control of infectious diseases. They also ensure that public health data is collected, stored, and shared in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

The Ministry of VWS monitors public health issues to develop national guidelines and strategies for surveillance, prevention, and response activities. Together with local health authorities and healthcare providers, the ministry implements relevant policies and communicates these guidelines to the public. Furthermore, the ministry coordinated the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing national recommendations for testing, tracing, and isolation.

The RIVM advises health authorities on public health issues, including disease prevention, outbreak control, and preparedness for national health emergencies. Additionally, the RIVM works with the Ministry of VWS to develop vaccination programs, guide infection control measures, and support healthcare providers and related institutions. The Centre for Infectious Disease Control within the RIVM supports infectious disease research, monitors infectious disease outbreaks, and analyses data related to these outbreaks.

Several governmental organisations collaborate with the RIVM to monitor pathogenic data and support surveillance initiatives: The Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) organises and performs COVID-19 tests. The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority works towards ensuring the safety of food in the Netherlands. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) works towards ensuring the safety of drinking water in the Netherlands. The Dutch Medicines Evaluation Board regulates and supervises (veterinary) medicine and related clinical trials in the Netherlands.

Disease surveillance initiatives

The RIVM performs sewage research on infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, and non-infectious diseases. The RIVM performs SARS-CoV-2 pathogen surveillance.



Dashboards and visualisation platforms

  • The current status of COVID-19 within the Netherlands can be found here.
  • The current COVID-19 vaccination status within the Netherlands can be found here.

National data sources

Dutch COVID-19 clinical data portal

Clinical data collected from patients with (suspected) COVID-19 infection can be found on the COVID-NL Dashboard. The data access procedure is described in this PDF document.

DANS Data Station Social Sciences and Humanities

The DANS Data Station Social Sciences and Humanities is a trustworthy digital repository based on Dataverse software with a focus on the domain of the social sciences and humanities (SSH). It allows the deposit and search for various kinds of research data from the SSH domain.

DANS Data Station Life Sciences

The DANS Data Station Life Sciences is a trustworthy digital repository based on Dataverse software with a focus on the fields of life sciences, health sciences and medical sciences. It allows the deposit and search for various kinds of research data from these fields.

Dutch database on antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

The Infectieziekten Surveillance Informatie Systeem - Antibiotica Resistentie (ISIS-AR) monitors the presence of antibiotic resistant pathogens. Through the interactive ISISweb website (in Dutch) the surveillance data is publicly accessible.


The Ministry of VWS oversees the RIVM and emergency preparedness for infectious disease outbreaks. The ministry enacts the public health regulations (in Dutch) that provide a legal framework for disease outbreak response and other public health emergencies.

The Netherlands obliges medical doctors and microbiological labs to report certain infectious diseases to the GGD since 2014 to prevent spreading of the disease. You can read the latest version of the act here (in Dutch). This act allows the GGD to track down the source of infection and investigate the risk of infection for people who came into contact with the patient. The information on infectious diseases, that should be reported in the Netherlands, is subsequently reported to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which uses the information to analyse trends in infectious diseases and evaluates policy on a European level.

The Data Protection Authority is an independent body that oversees the processing of personal data in the Netherlands, including data related to public health and infectious disease outbreaks. The Data Protection Authority upholds compliance with Dutch data protection laws and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union. The regulations for sensitive/personal research data and clinical data, in the Netherlands, are implemented in the medical-scientific research on humans (in Dutch) act.

In the Netherlands the medical treatment agreement (WGBO in Dutch) lists the rights and obligations concerning medical treatment. This act prevents medical professionals from sharing patient information without consent. Furthermore, the patient retains the right to revoke consent and have (stored) data removed.

An overview of implementation guidelines and legislation can be found on the ELSI servicedesk (in Dutch).

Domain-specific infrastructures or resources

National infrastructures

Health-RI is the Dutch national coordination center for agreements on the reuse of health data, promoting collaboration among all stakeholders, and supporting researchers. One of the provided services is the Dutch national COVID-19 metadata portal, that aims to improve reuse of COVID-19 related data.

ODISSEI (Open Data Infrastructure for Social Science and Economic Innovations) is the national research infrastructure for the social sciences in the Netherlands. The ODISSEI Portal combines metadata from a wide variety of research data repositories (including metadata from the microdata catalogue of CBS - Statistics Netherlands) into a single interface, allows advanced semantic queries to support findability, and facilitates data access.

The Centre for Infectious Disease Control within the RIVM consists of five specialist centres:

  • National Coordination Centre for Communicable Diseases Control, which coordinates the control of infectious diseases and is responsible for rapid and efficient communication about outbreaks nationally and regionally throughout the Netherlands. In the event of an outbreak, the centre is responsible for the scientific advice on outbreak control measures to the government and for implementation by health professionals.
  • Centre for Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and Surveillance, which analyses and monitors the occurrence and trends in infectious diseases in the Netherlands and carries out studies on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of measures to control such diseases.
  • Centre for Research Infectious Diseases Diagnostics and Screening, which carries out microbiological research, specific patient and epidemiological diagnostics of infectious diseases, and all laboratory analyses on human infectious diseases.
  • Centre for Zoonoses and Environmental Biology, which is responsible for the early warning and risk assessment of the transmission of pathogenic microorganisms from animals, food and the environment to humans in the Netherlands.
  • Centre for Immunology of Infectious Diseases and Vaccines, which advises the Dutch Government on Immunology and Vaccinology and carries out research to generate knowledge and data on the immune response to infectious diseases and to vaccinations offered in the framework of the government’s infectious disease control programme.

Institutional initiatives on antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

There are national research projects focused towards pathogenomics to help improve agriculture, food, public health, environment, and biodiversity in the Netherlands. Also, higher education institutions and industrial organisations have forums and research centres dedicated to addressing the topics of antimicrobial resistance and pandemic preparedness.

  • The Netherlands Antibiotic Development Platform (NDAP) facilitates the collaboration between public and private organisations, to enhance the development of new antibiotics and alternative therapies for infectious diseases in humans and animals.
  • The Centre for Antimicrobial Research (CARES) is a Dutch research initiative for antimicrobial research. They focus on the development of novel antibiotics and antimicrobials.
  • The Center for Sustainable Antimicrobials (CeSAM) comprises multidisciplinary research projects and advanced facilities for fundamental research as well as high-throughput (animal) testing and adequate patient-screening facilities.
  • The Netherlands Center for One Health aims to decrease the morbidity and mortality of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections in humans through use-inspired, excellent, fundamental, translational, and applied One Health research on antimicrobial resistance.

Institutional initiatives on epidemic/pandemic research

  • Convergence is an alliance between Erasmus MC, Erasmus University, TU Delft to cross boundaries and work on different themes together. The themes include Resilient Delta, Health & Technology, AI, Data & Digitalisation, Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness. The Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center aims to prepare society for future pandemics and disasters.
  • The Netherlands Center for One Health brings together academic research institutes in the Netherlands that are active in One Health research together with other leading parties to take joint responsibility for finding answers to global One Health challenges. The One Health approach aims to improve research and veterinary and public health preparedness for (re-)emerging infectious diseases. It will do so by providing fundamental insights into host, microbial, and environmental factors leading to disease.
  • An overview of COVID working groups, networks and initiatives can be found here.

Tools and resources

Tailored to users in Netherlands

Developed and/or deployed by institutions and organisations in Netherlands.

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Resource Description Related pages Registry
COVID-NL clinical data dashboard

The Dutch national COVID-19 clinical data dashboard allows exploration and reuse of clinical data from Dutch university medical centers (UMCs). The dashboard provides researchers with a clear overview of what is available, allows searching for specific data and makes access to such data easier when the necessary ethical and legal conditions have been met. The policy for access to and sharing of clinical COVID-19 is described in the HRI COVID policy document.

COVID-NL metadata portal

The Dutch national COVID-19 metadata portal describes the content of the collections and type of data. The underlying data remains at the source, but where possible a link to the data or the data request procedure are provided on the portal. The first health care data sets in the portal are coming from observational studies funded by ZonMw, NFU COVID-19 clinical research data, collaborating top clinical hospitals (STZ), as well as other regional hospitals. However, the portal is open to any health care provider wishing to make their COVID-19 data available for research.


The Open Data Infrastructure for Social Science and Economic Innovations (ODISSEI) is the national research infrastructure for the social sciences in the Netherlands.

DANS Data Station Life Sciences

The Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) is the Dutch national centre of expertise and repository for research data. This data station allows you to deposit and search for data within the fields of medical, health and green life sciences.

DANS Data Station Life Sciences

The Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) is the Dutch national centre of expertise and repository for research data. This data station allows you to deposit and search for data within the social sciences and humanities.

ELSI servicedesk

The ELSI Servicedesk provides guidance and answers to the ethical, legal and social implications of research on personalised medicine and next generation sequencing that life science professionals, policymakers and patients are faced with.

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