Netherlands (Amsterdam, Utrecht, Zaandam, Amersfoort, Zwolle, Weesp)
Aged care: the Dutch experience
  • Netherlands
  • Aged Care
  • 23 delegates
  • June 2022
The delegation was accompanied by Fany CERESE, Doctor of Architecture and co-Director of Atelier AA - an architecture agency specialised in a more humanist vision of architecture. Her analysis and the relevance of her remarks stimulated much exchanges and reflection within the delegation, thus raising awareness on the importance of architecture in the field of medico-social institutions.
From 31st May to 3rd June, Dialog Health organised a programme of visits focusing on aged care in the Netherlands (Amsterdam, Utrecht, Zaandam, Amersfoort, Zwolle, Weesp). This study tour brought together various French-speaking actors (French, Belgian and Swiss) specialised in aged care, who were able to discover the Dutch medico-social system.

During these three days of professional visits, the Dutch representatives presented the functioning of their organisations, tackling the challenges of their ageing population, trying to spread the reasons for their success.

On the first day, the delegates went to Utrecht to meet the Director of, the national knowledge organisation for care and support. This visit served as an introduction to the training, presenting the specificities of the Dutch social care system.

On the theme of longevity and quality of life, the Netherlands has a clear lead in innovations focusing on aged residents, with a large number of volunteers in their facilities and on the concept of green innovation.

Therefore, the delegation went to Zaandam, a suburb of Amsterdam, to meet Rutger De Graaf, the Innovation Director of Pennemes. The morning of Wednesday 1st of June was dedicated to the presentation and visit of this nursing home that promotes green innovations in order to preserve the autonomy and health of its residents.

Afterwards, the group was expected in Amersfoort to discover MGR Blom, a nursing home from Beweging 3.0 group. They are responsible of ten home care centres, three homes for dependent aged people, several day centres and other longevity support locations in the region. Their range of services also includes rehabilitation and medical treatment, skilled nursing, social care and wellness support. The Director of the organisation and his team presented their project of reconstruction of their nursing home.

The next day, the delegation travelled to Zwolle to visit two nursing homes belonging to Zorgspectrum Het Zand. On all their sites, they offer extensive access to nature and animals. Many of their residents have a farming background and grew up with their own gardens and animals. For residents suffering from dementia, they have enclosed gardens where stimulation of the senses is central.

The organisation is in constant research and fully committed to the deployment of technology:

- In the area of wellbeing: social robots, virtual cycling environments, interactive play elements,

- In the area of care: smart incontinence equipment, remote viewing with smart glasses.

On Thursday afternoon, delegates got particularly inspired by their visit to the Alzheimer Village in Hogeweyk. This renowned village, a "city within a city" is housing 152 elderly people with advanced Alzheimer's disease and other kinds of dementia. There, residents live in houses that are customised based on their history and lifestyle and they are surrounded by a constant team of professionals (leaning, feeding and other household activities take place daily in each home). During the visit, topics such as its architectural design, care policies and shared governance were discussed, revealing the secret of this world-renowned institution's success and its primary goal: to make life normal for people with severe dementia.

This study tour was an excellent opportunity for participants to observe the development and implementation of new Dutch trends in health care and support for the elderly population.

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