Different countries around the world have different policies when it comes to the immunisation of children and provide vaccines at different ages. There is no consistency between EU member states either, leaving it up to parents to investigate.

Not compulsory (yet)

Vaccinations are not compulsory in the Netherlands, although they are strongly recommended. The choice lies with the parents, but the government has started an initiative to educate parents in the Netherlands about vaccinations. It has also made it mandatory for parents to inform the day nursery and/or school that their children attend if they have decided against vaccinating their children. The government is currently also looking into the idea of banning children who have not been vaccinated from day nurseries.

Immunisation The Netherlands

Immunisation Programme

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu - RIVM) is responsible for immunisation in the Netherlands and there is an extensive inoculation plan for children who are born here.

The National Immunisation Programme looks to protect children from 12 potentially dangerous diseases, see below. In the list below, the abbreviation mentioned after the disease is the Dutch abbreviation that is also used in the official vaccination schedule, so that you can see which vaccine your child is supposed to be getting at what stage.

  • Diphtheria (D)
  • Pertussis (whooping cough) (aP)
  • Tetanus (T)
  • Polio (IPV)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Pneumococcal disease (PCV)
  • Hepatitis B (HBV)
  • Mumps (M)
  • Measles (M)
  • Rubella (German measles) (R)
  • Meningococcal disease (MenC)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

The immunisation schedule is broadly as follows: children can get started when they are six to nine weeks and from then on it continues at regular intervals: three months, four months, 11 months, 14 months, four years, nine years and 12 years. The official RIVM document gives you more information on the immunisation schedule.

Baby hospital

For expats

If you are travelling to the Netherlands with your children from another country, you may be advised to follow a different immunisation schedule for them in your country of origin beforehand. The RIVM advises that you seek medical advice to ensure that your child is given an equal opportunity to receive adequate protection. If you are relocating from another country in the EU, you can compare your national programme with that of the Netherlands and check for recommended vaccinations. The Vaccine Scheduler gives you the opportunity to compare EU vaccination programmes.

Participation in the National Immunisation Programme is free. The Dutch state covers all costs. The vaccinations must be administered at a baby and toddler clinic, municipal health service or Youth and Family Centre, however, using vaccines supplied by the State. The Dutch government gives you more information on vaccination (which is in English) and additional details.