Addiction in The Netherlands

Inhabitants: 17,1 million. The Dutch population is composed of several western and non-western European diversity. Based on historical and cultural history besides old Duchies; people with Moroccan, Turkish, Antillean, and Surinam roots. The last years completed with refugees from Syria and other Muslim countries.

Drug Act

The Dutch Drug Act designed in 1928 and redesigned in 1976 makes a distinction between soft and hard drugs. Criteria for ‘soft’ drugs concern the degree of health damage. This act makes it possible to buy cannabis in so called coffee shops. List I: heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, LSD and GHB. List II: cannabis, hashish, weed (grass).

Goal is to minimize damage bij prevention and education, and to make early resignation and brief interventions possible through openness. This acts dictates in principle the prohibition of; smuggling in or out Dutch territory, growing, preparing, processing, selling, handing out, and transporting all sorts of (smart) drugs. Also forbidden is the possession of hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Although alcohol can be considered a hard drug seen from the perspective of health deterioration it is not on the list one of the Act, because of the fact that excises on all sorts of spirits brings in a lot of money for the government.

Facts and figures about addictions in Holland


Number addicted patients

Number patients in treatment


1,2 million






























1,8 million


Internet gaming






Addictions institutes

In the Netherlands 180 specialized in-patient and out-patient treatment centers are active in addictions treatments of all sorts; detoxification clinics for crisis and longer detoxifications, short and longer treatment after detox with cognitive behavioral treatment options. Centers for special target groups such as elderly, youngsters,  patients with double diagnosis, patients with mental retardations, patient groups with different cultural backgrounds/perspectives, and specials needs of SBRT’s.

Staff consists of addictions nurses, MANP addictions, addictions physicians, addictions psychiatrists, social workers, a.s.o. In general practitioners practices in Holland several addictions nurses (post bachelor and MANP) are working in case of early recognition of addictions and prepare patients with brief interventions.

Health Care Assurance

All Dutch inhabitants are obliged to insure themselves for health care. In Holland there are a number of very large health care insurance companies which deliver packages of possibilities. A general fact for all people is the basis legal own risk (€ 380,00). For all people there is a basic health insurance policy. Every Dutch inhabitant has freedom in choosing their own health-care provider or brand of medicine. Furthermore, a significant proportion of unavoidable medical expenses, such as hospitalization, specialist help, GP visits and medicines is covered. 

Experience Experts / Hands-on Experts

The last ten years there is a growing interest in the role and capacity of experience experts in addictions treatment. A special group of those experts are active in several institutions. The core business of their activities is recovery from patient perspective. They act besides the professionals on equal base. Specializes training is offered by bachelor educational centers. 

Integrated Treatment

The last 10 years a movement is active to integrate addiction medicine, nursing and other addition treatment options into mainstreaming  general practioning, psychiatry treatment and general hospital treatment. Goal is to break through the isolated position of the specialized addiction institutes and the negative isolated position of patients handling their addictions problems. In all addiction institutes there is a  movement towards integrated care by means of double diagnosis care paths for instance; anxiety disorders and addiction, mentally retardation and addiction, and forensic psychiatry and addiction. Also special notion is given in general hospitals to patients with alcohol addictive problems on wards for liver/stomach

Dutch Addiction Association

Dutch Addiction Association:

The National Addiction Science Center is a network in which institutions for addiction care, client representatives, knowledge centers work together to:

  • to increase the treatment range of addiction science
  • breaking the stigma surrounding addiction
  • and to further improve the quality of restorative care


Addiction Research Centers

AIAR: Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research: Prof. dr. Anneke Goudriaan.

The Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research is part of the Psychiatric division of the Academic Medical Center from the University of Amsterdam (AMC-UvA). Our mission is to conduct patient-centered addiction research resulting in better- evidence based treatment of patients with addictive disorders. We intend to achieve this goal through the determination of factors that play a role in effective and efficient treatments and through the exploration of mechanisms underlying successful treatments. Our vision is that the treatment of people with addiction problems should be based on scientific evidence and delivered by knowledgeable and dedicated professionals with a commitment to continuous improvement. Our fundamental values are a rigorous scientific orientation, high ethical standards, multidisciplinary collaboration, and a strong dedication to the improvement of the lives of patients with addictive disorders. The main objective of the institute is to publish scientific research in prestigious national and international peer-reviewed journals. In addition, the staff contributes to scientific discussions via conferences and debates. The institute also provides support and advice to treatment centers in their attempts to evaluate and improve the treatment of people with addictive disorders

NISPA: Nijmegen Institute for Scientist-practitioners in Addiction:

IVO: prof. dr. Hamit Karakus

‘IVO Addiction Research Institute is enthusiastic and motivated to collaborate with sponsors in addressing (research) questions about topics related to lifestyle, addictions and care. Our main focus is to improve the quality of life for vulnerable persons in our society.We receive questions on a wide range of topics from our sponsors, including lifestyle, addictions and care-related issues. IVO Addiction Research Institute will help you find answers to research questions, solve policy issues, and assist you in developing screening questionnaires and care guidelines. We also organize courses for students and professionals’

IntNSA's Mission: To advance excellence in nursing care for the prevention and treatment of addictions for diverse populations across all practice setting through advocacy, collaboration, education, research and policy development.