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Art deserves a prominent place in healthcare

14 February 2024
Much more attention should be paid to the positive effects of the use of art in healthcare. Art makes people feel better and helps them to deal better with their illness, and it also supports illness prevention.

More than 200 researchers, administrators, policy makers, healthcare workers, artists, teachers, experts and other stakeholders contributed to a broad study by Arts in Health Netherlands, including Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Together they outlined how art can contribute to the transition in healthcare, what great and proven successful initiatives already exist, and how the field can be further strengthened.

White paper Arts in health in the Netherlands: A national agenda
Research suggests that activities such as singing in a choir or visiting museums are not only enjoyable and inspiring but also have demonstrable health benefits. Despite these findings, art is still used far too little in our healthcare. Arts in Health Netherlands advocates for the integration of art and creativity in healthcare institutions and communities to promote health and well-being.

Focus on what is possible
“Art makes space for the human in us: when you are creative, your focus is no longer on being ill, but on what you can still do. Not that art directly heals, but it encourages individuals to cope in a different way with their diseases, provides a sense of comfort, and helps reduce feelings of loneliness and alienation. Art can also play a role in prevention by increasing well-being and strengthening social connection in communities’’, says Ferdinand Lewis, Director of Science and Education for Arts in Health Netherlands.

Event: ‘Care Through Creativity’

  • February 13: white paper will be handed over to Barbara Goezinne, Director General of Curative Care at the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport; and Christianne Mattijssen, Director of Heritage and Arts at the Ministry of Education, Culture & Science.
  • February 15: presentation of white paper. Presented with, among others, Jet Bussemaker, who is Chair of the Council for Public Health & Society; Christopher Bailey, Arts in Health Health Lead for the World Health Organization; and officials from the ministries and Parliament.
  • February 16: 'Care Through Creativity' event where the white paper will be officially launched. International speakers such as the WHO’s Christopher Bailey and Culture Action Europe’s Kornelia Kiss will participate. At this event the whitepaper will also be officially presented to Tjeerd van Dekken, Provincial Executive of the Province of Groningen for art and culture as well as health, welfare and care. For questions, please contact Liza van Eijck, Project Assistant at Arts in Health Netherlands, 06 24436303,