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The Ebola crisis has clearly demonstrated that health risks are not confined by national borders. Thus, RIVM looks beyond borders because national issues on health and the environment require an international approach. We actively look for cooperation with partners in other countries to increase access to knowledge and to strengthen the quality of research and policy advice. In this framework, we have invested in our international communications, including the quality of our English RIVM website.


At European level, new formal collaborative arrangements were agreed with the Joint Research Centre (JRC, the EU in-house research institute) and our French counterpart ANSES. Bilateral ties with the Belgian Scientific Institute for Public Health (WIV-ISP) were strengthened following a visit of a large delegation to our premises. RIVM’s Nicoline Tamsma was elected President of EuroHealthNet, a European network organisation of public health and health promotion institutes. RIVM’s Marieke Verschuuren was seconded to WHO EURO to advance work on health information.

Infographic of all WHO Collaborating Centres hosted by RIVM 

The EU Joint Action on Chronic Diseases and Promoting Healthy Ageing across the Life Cycle (CHRODIS), was set up by the European Commission. Its work package on effective practices in disease prevention provides an opportunity for our Centre for Healthy Living to share expertise on the Dutch recognition system for preventive interventions. RIVM represents the Netherlands in two new high-level EU expert groups on Health Enhancing Physical Activity, and Health Systems Performance Assessment.

At the request of Dutch Parliament, State Secretary Mansveld presented the RIVM report on microplastics to the European Environmental Council. A new contract came into force for a five-year period for the European Topic Centre for Air Pollution and Climate Change (ETC/ACM) with the European Environmental Agency (EEA). RIVM conducted a training workshop with participants from 11 countries on the development of a systematic approach to assessing chemical, biological and radiation and nuclear (CBRN) risks and threats, based on the Dutch National Risk Assessment.

The Netherlands hosted an international Ministerial Conference on antibiotic resistance, a growing problem worldwide. RIVM is involved in various international networks with regard to antibiotic resistance, such as EARSS-Net (European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network) and the Central Asian and Eastern European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (CAESAR).


In 2014, a new WHO partnership programme was established between the Netherlands and WHORIVM was assigned the status of WHO Collaborating Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance Epidemiology and Surveillance. The Collaborating Centre supports WHO in implementing the worldwide AMR action plan and the European strategic action plan on AMR. RIVM now hosts eight WHO Collaborating Centres.

During the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, RIVM provided guidelines and practical information to the public, general practitioners and hospitals, as well as to many other professional groups (air and sea transport and immigration chain). In addition, RIVM directed the reception and monitoring of returning health care workers whether or not they had been exposed to Ebola. RIVM provided support to laboratory services by seconding personnel to Sierra Leone and Liberia in cooperation with the Erasmus Medical Center.