The life expectancy in the Netherlands is approximately 81 years. Studies also show that the country has the happiest children and the tallest population worldwide. The national healthcare system established 150 years ago is easily accessible and recognized all over the world. With good collaboration between the industries and scientific institutions, dedicated clusters and robust links between research, business creation and production, the national sector of Health and Life Sciences maintains its competitiveness in the world industry.
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Combined solutions from scientific research to patients
The characteristic Dutch approach to creativity and collaboration and the readiness for cooperation in the name of greater goals has led the Netherlands to its top ranking in open innovation and private-public research. The success of the sector of Life Sciences and Health stems from the close collaboration and sharing of knowledge between research institutions and companies with full governmental support. This model linking research, innovation, knowledge and production generates affordable, sustainable and robust solutions to set global standards. The Dutch multidisciplinary approach yields superior expertise and knowledge in the area of healthcare, linking science to patients, and frequently leads to the adoption of comprehensive, combined solutions. The innovative services and products in fields like medical equipment and remote care, and the collaboration of Medtech and Pharma in the area of diagnostics provide solutions for many contemporary health care challenges faced worldwide.
Five advantages of the sector of Health and Life Sciences in the Netherlands
Impressive historical contributions
Holland has made remarkable contributions to medical science:
- In 1590, the Jansen brothers, Zacharias and Hans, invented the first compound microscope;
- Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek (born 1632, died 1723) is commonly referred to as the founding father of Microbiology;
- In 1658, the Dutch biologist and microscopist Jan Swammerdam observed and described erythrocytes;
- Willem Einthoven invented the electrocardiogram which earned him the 1924 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine;
- In 1943, Willem Johan Kolff, considered among the most distinguished 20th century physicians, developed the first prototype dialyzer and contributed to many pioneering achievements, including the first artificial heart and functioning heart-lung machines.
Cooperation, collaboration and building of coalitions
Holland maintains its position as a key global player in Health and Life Sciences with significant technological achievements in the fields of health infrastructure and medical technology, biomaterials (coatings for medical equipment), regenerative medicine, veterinary and human vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, medical informatics and molecular imaging. The success of the sector lays in the cooperation, collaboration and building of coalitions between research institutions, universities, businesses and the government that link research to business creation and production.
The Dutch expertise in the infrastructure of healthcare is represented by turnkey projects: local companies have the ability to simultaneously cover the aspects of medical equipment, waste management, design, engineering, financing, etc., with special attention to “healing environments” and energy efficiency.
Health and Life Sciences is among the leading industries in the national economy and is given first priority by the Ministry of Economy. The sector achieves its success by uniting partners and joining forces along the (value) chain of prevention, cure and care.
The Dutch programme in the field of genomics
The Netherlands has a national programme for genomics and three substantial private-public programmes connected to Regenerative Medicine, Pharmacotherapy and Translational and Molecular Medicine worth over a billion Euros. Within the framework of these programmes large industrial partners and small/medium enterprises cooperate with the 8 medical faculties (the faculties of medical technology of the 3 Technical Universities and the university hospitals) on projects for research and development with direct contributions to clinical practice. The programmes finished in 2012/2013, but their initiatives are still progressing.
Quality, accessibility and affordability of healthcare
The national health care services offer quality, accessibility and affordability for all. Many countries use Holland to illustrate how health care quality can be provided with the maintenance of a reasonable cost level. As regards future perspectives, Holland is directing its efforts towards eHealth (online prevention and therapy, telemedicine).