RIVM, the dutch National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection in Bilthoven, is the centre of information and know-how whose task it is to supply the government with the information required for its health and environmental policies, in support of the national public health inspection.
'Research for man and environment' is how RIVM describes it's work. Because research lies at the heart of all RIVM's activities. In numerous specialized laboratories at chemical substanses and processes which affect the wellbeing of the Dutch people and their environment.
RIVM channels its expertise into all phases of health care and environmental control (signalling, controlling and consolidation). With regard to its signalling task, for example, it means that research may be started into developments which may become important in the future. So not only was RIVM involved in AIDS research, it was also carrying out research related to air pollution, the earth's biosphere, dioxins and radiation long before these became topics of general concern. Twenty percent of the research carried out by RIVM on its own extensive premises is therefore undertaken on its own initiative. The remaining eighty percent concerns commissions for the government, for which RIVM provides the basis for alternative policy plans.
The increasing awareness of the serious threats to our health and environment has resulted in a growing demand for forecasting. In 1988 RIVM published the much discussed report 'Concern for tomorrow' as the basis for the national Environmental Policy Plan. Similar RIVM surveys have been published since, relating to both environment and public health, two areas which have become more and more interwoven.
RIVM's activities have always extended beyond the national borders; international cooperation is vital for the development of knowledge in the fields of public health and environmental protection -both problems of global importance. RIVM's services are basically directed at the government and international organizations such as WHO, EU, ECE, UN, Unicef and the World Bank.
RIVM was founded in 1910 when the Central Laboratory for Public Health was set up to support the national public health inspection. The present size of the institute is the result of a merger between three government institutes in 1984. RIVM has now become a large, complex organization with many different international links and a range of activities. The integration of health knowledge and environmental know-how makes the institute unique in the world. Partly for this reason the World Health Organization has set up the new European Centre for the Environment and Health in Bilthoven, in association with a brance in Rome.
RIVM Antonie van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9 Postbus 1 3720 BA Bilthoven The Netherlands Phone : (030) 74 91 11, from outside the country dial ++ 31.30.749111 Telex : 47 215 rivm nl Telefax : (030) 74 29 71, from outside the country dial ++ 31.30.742971For a graphical view of RIVM's location near Utrecht, The Netherlands, click here.
For more information contact the public relations buro at the address above, or:
Telephone ++ 31 30 742560