Homeopathy in Netherlands

Homeopathy in The Netherlands

The first homeopathic doctors were Johan Schonfield in Winshoten and a Dr. Schmid in Schiedam in 1834. Boenninghausen was born in Heringhaven in Overyssel, and was educated in Groningen. He moved to Westphalia (Germany) in 1816. He is credited with teaching many people, including some from Holland, but their names are unknown.

The first Organon in Dutch appeared in 1827. On request of patients who wanted homeopathic treatment, two German physicians immigrated to the Netherlands. The first, F. W. O. Kallenbach started his practice in 1857 in Rotterdam. In 1863, Dr. S. J. van Royen, the first Dutch homeopathic physician, settled in Utrecht. A journal, Homeopathische Geneeskunst was published in Rotterdam in 1859. In 1914 the first homeopathic hospital opened in Oudenrijn.

Dr. A. Kuyper, the minister-president from 1901 to 1905, tried to establish a professorial chair at the University of Leiden, but failed. Both Directories have a listing of physicians and associations. Dr. Hoyle (in 1931) commented that in Holland there were 35 practitioners and 725 homeopathic chemist shops and "The laity, knowing what they want, have taken the matter into their own hands, and aided by their family manuals, are treating themselves." And the physicians who do come have to be good because "the clients would hardly be satisfied with an imitation or pretense to knowledge." Homeopathy experienced resurgence in the 1970s when a group of doctors became interested in it and began teaching others. Since then, homeopathy has blossomed.

The VHAN (Vereniging van Homeopathische Artsen in Nederland) is the nation-wide association of homeopathic doctors, most of whom have trained at the SHO (Stichting Homeopathische Opleidingen), the training facility for homeopathic doctors in the Netherlands. There are currently about 400 MDs on the register.

Nederlandse Vereniging van Klassiek Homeopaten (NVKH) is the largest organization of non-medically qualified professional homeopaths. There are about 600 professional homeopaths operating with about 450 registered with the NVKH and the others registered with other health-related organizations. There are six schools teaching professional homeopaths, all using a six-year part-time (1-2 days a week) course, which includes practical training. All the schools will meet the ICCH/ECCH guidelines by 2002.

The KVHN (Koninklijke Vereniging ter bevordering der Homeopathie in Nederland) is a consumer organization. The NVKH publishes a journal called Dynamis. The international journal "Homeopathic Links" is also published in the Netherlands. VSM in Alkmaar, a member of the German Homint Group, is the only manufacturing pharmacy in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands has a complex system of public and private health insurance. The compulsory social insurance scheme (ZFW; Verplichte Ziekenfonds) is administered by approximately 40 "sickness funds" and covers about 60% of the Dutch population. Of the 40 funds, 14 cover homeopathy practiced by members of the NVKH in the supplementary insurance. Of the 63 private health insurance companies, 34 cover homeopathy.

Professional homeopaths do not have legal recognition, but since the BIG-law (Beroepen in de Individuele Gezondheidszorg/ Professions in the Individual Healthcare) in 1996, anybody is allowed to treat patients, within certain limits. The principle of the law is freedom for the patient to choose between a regular medical doctor and other therapists. The country is represented in the LMHI.