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Good healthcare: looking after each other

How do we all stay healthy, both mentally and physically? And how do we make sure that healthcare stays accessible to everyone, regardless of gender, age and background?

At a time when access to healthcare seems to be becoming less of a given for many, researchers, students and employees at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam are committed to making both society and the university healthier.

Because the healthcare system has been under pressure for years. Too many administrative tasks, too few healthcare staff, an increasingly ageing population and rising healthcare costs mean that not everyone can receive the treatment they need. Moreover, a healthy lifestyle is not a given for everyone, because knowledge about it isn’t always accessible or the resources to achieve it are inadequate.

At VU Amsterdam, we therefore believe it’s important that healthcare forms part of our education and research, so that we can contribute to society. But the university community itself is also working together to make the campus a healthier place. After all, healthcare is also about looking after each other.

Our experts are researching how you can eat in a healthier and more sustainable way, despite unhealthy external stimuli; studying how to keep moving; and exploring what it takes to feel mentally fit. Discover the stories and initiatives by the VU Amsterdam community on this page, and get involved!

What makes you happier?

What makes you happier?

Why do you feel happy while your neighbour doesn’t? And can you do anything to boost your sense of happiness? We ask VU Amsterdam professor of genetics and well-being Meike Bartels.

“Practicing happiness is just as demanding as training to run a marathon, for example. It takes time and focus.”

Read the article (in Dutch)

VU scientists about healthcare

Podcast Op je gezondheid (On Your Health): nutrition fables with Jaap Seidell

With all this food marketing around us, how do you make healthy choices? VU professor of Nutrition and Health Jaap Seidell talks about this in this podcast.

Listen to the podcast (in Dutch)

Underestimating women's heath complaints costs us billions

Underestimating women's heath complaints costs us billions

Male doctors often ignore the impact of migraines, menopausal symptoms and menstrual pain in women, resulting in significant costs to society. VU Amsterdam gynaecologist Fedde Scheele explains more in the Villa VdB radio show.

Listen to the radio clip [in Dutch]


  • More focus on stress: good for employees and organisations

    Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and a host of partners are developing an innovative way to tackle stress and increase resilience within organisations. This pioneering 10.8-million-euro initiative is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and falls within the National Science Agenda programme. Read the article (in Dutch).

  • Are inequalities in long-term care growing?

    Older people with lower education use more informal care or home care from the municipality than private home care. On the contrary, older people with higher education use more private home care and less informal care. This is according to research by sociologists from VU Amsterdam. They are calling on the government to monitor the accessibility of long-term care.

  • Financial interests stand in the way of solving pill shortage.

    The shortage of medicines in the Netherlands has never been greater. The solutions mentioned have been the same for years. But according to this article (in Dutch) in De Telegraaf, financial interests are preventing action being taken.

  • How to grow old healthy: with strength of muscle, sleep and varied diet.

    In blakende gezondheid een gezegende leeftijd bereiken, wie wil dat nou niet? “Het is absoluut haalbaar dat we 100 of 120 jaar worden in goede gezondheid”, zegt hoogleraar gerontologie Andrea Maier op het consumentenplatform Kassa van BNNVARA. “Maar hoe en wanneer we dat bereiken, is afhankelijk van ons gedrag.” Welke rol spelen voeding, supplementen, nachtrust, spieren en genen in dit verhaal? We leggen het voor aan prof. dr. Maier.

  • People less averse to wasting organic food 

    Consumers are less reluctant to waste organic food compared with non-organic food, according to the research conducted by marketing experts Kristina Nadricka, Aylin Aydinli and Kobe Millet. 

    Modified EMDR treatment reduces flashbacks in people who are suicidal  

    A brief additional treatment based on EMDR is effective in reducing the severity and frequency of flashbacks that may suddenly arise in people who are suicidal, according to the doctoral research conducted by Jaël van Bentum. 

  • Cooperation in infectious disease control is insufficient 

    The downside of extensive and rapid travel and trade across the world is that infectious diseases can also spread more easily. Research by VU Amsterdam health scientist Doret de Rooij shows that international agreements on this matter have been too one-sided, and there’s insufficient cooperation between countries and their border locations. 

  • “Risk equalisation still faces challenges” 

    The concept of “risk equalisation” means that health insurers do not differentiate between healthy and unhealthy people when determining premiums for their basic policies. However, research indicates that healthy people often end up with policies that have restrictive conditions, while unhealthy people end up with more expensive policies. “Although our system ranks among the best in the world, it still doesn't work perfectly,” explains VU Amsterdam health economist Piet Stam (in Dutch). 

  • VU in Motion: why exercise is so important

    Every week, VU in Motion gives tips to get the university community to move more. Because exercise leads to better physical and mental health.

    Read the tips 

  • First symptoms of type 2 diabetes after 6 days of physical inactivity

    Bed rest leads to a rapid reduction in muscle mass and a swift accumulation of fat and glucose in the muscles. The first signs of insulin resistance can be observed after just six days of complete bed rest, according to research by a team of movement scientists at VU Amsterdam led by Moritz Eggelbusch and Rob Wüst. Read more.

  • Do you need extra protein when exercising?

    Does it make sense to eat foods boasting extra proteins? Food scientist Jaap Seidell explains more in Trouw newspaper (in Dutch). “Products featuring extra protein are nothing more than a marketing gimmick.”

  • Students feel better about themselves with these 3 tips

    Did you know that VU Amsterdam has a large and varied range of initiatives to enhance the well-being of its students? They’re there to reduce stress, promote your mental health and help you get fitter, for instance. Also useful for teachers, so you know where to refer your students. Take a look at the initiatives.

  • Fatigue of post-covid patients has physical cause

    Researchers from Amsterdam UMC and VU Amsterdam have discovered that the persistent fatigue in post-covid patients has a physical cause. “We see changes in the muscles in these patients,” says professor of Internal Medicine Michèle van Vugt. The results of the study have been published in Nature Communications. Read more (in Dutch).

  • Supplementary health insurance in danger of disappearing

    Supplementary packages are becoming too expensive for insurers, because consumers are increasingly opting for temporary supplementary insurance to cover the costs of anticipated healthcare. “You see that only people who use or expect to require a lot of treatments take out such a policy,” says VU Amsterdam health economist Xander Koolman in BNR (in Dutch).

  • Shortage of internships for psychology students puts mental healthcare in a tight spot

    Waiting lists for mental healthcare could be significantly shortened if psychology students were given the opportunity to complete their internships more quickly. Students would also experience fewer study delays – currently sometimes up to a year long. “Supply and demand on the internship market have always been out of balance,” says VU Amsterdam internship coordinator Annemarie van der Veen in the Volkskrant newspaper (in Dutch).


More about health care at VU Amsterdam