With the implementation of the arts within psychiatric settings in the 1950s, arts therapy courses slowly started to be developed in the Netherlands and, in the 1970s, several Bachelor programmes were established. Owing to the structure of the Dutch educational system it was not possible to continue onto a Masters degree until the Bachelor Masters system was embraced and implemented (Bologna Declaration). Now alongside the Bachelors several Masters have become established, and new Masters courses are being developed. All the arts therapies courses are taught within universities for applied sciences, and the duration of a Bachelor is four years full time (240 ECTS). Master courses can have between 60 and 120 ECTs.


In the Netherlands, one can study at both Bachelor and Master levels to become a professional therapist (i.e., a vaktherapeut). The programmes are recognized and accredited by the Ministry of Education. Accreditation for all of the programmes takes place every five years (see: Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO)). It is possible to study at the level of both BA and MA and there is the possibility of a PhD, but not every university can offer all these levels. All the arts therapies are offered but not every university offers them all. There are seven universities for applied sciences that offer training in arts therapies across the country. Those starred are Members of ECArTE. 1 Stenden in Leeuwarden * https://www.nhlstenden.com/hbo-opleidingen/vaktherapie-verkort-bachelor-deeltijdhttps://www.nhlstenden.com/hbo-opleidingen/vaktherapie 2 HAN in Nijmegen * Bachelor Arts Therapies: https://www.han.nl/opleidingen/hbo/vaktherapie/voltijd/index.xml Master Arts Therapies: https://www.han.nl/opleidingen/master/vaktherapie/deeltijd/index.xml 3 Hogeschool Zuyd in Heerlen * https://www.zuyd.nl/opleidingen/vaktherapie 4 HU in Utrecht and Amersfoort * Fulltime program: https://www.hu.nl/voltijd-opleidingen/vaktherapie Parttime program: https://www.hu.nl/deeltijd-opleidingen/vaktherapie 5 Codarts in Rotterdam * Music Therapy Programme: https://www.codarts.nl/en/master-music-therapy/ Dance Therapy Programme: https://www.codarts.nl/en/master-dance-therapy/ Master of Arts Therapies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPcEG05TGcU&list=PLR9otCntqycZ3sbBHfeAQHSDHjVHkm65Z 6 Hogeschool Leiden in Leiden * https://www.hsleiden.nl/hsl-en 7 Artez in Arnhem and Enschede


The profession is recognised and regulated in the Netherlands. The Dutch Association of Mental Health and the Zorginstituut Nederland (the national body that regulates health insurance in The Netherlands) cooperate with each other and regulate the professional therapies field (i.e. the ‘vaktherapie’). There are seven professional arts therapies associations, one for each modality under the umbrella organization, Federatie Vaktherapeutische Beroepen (FVB) representing 3,225 members in total. The professional associations support therapists by organising and offering activities, workshops, and courses for continuous professional development (CPD). They work to develop protocols and modules for clinical settings and set standards for professional practice. The FVB serves the joint interests of all the arts therapies with governmental organizations, healthcare and insurance companies or educational programmes, and helps to further development within the professional field. There is a code of ethics and a procedure for complaints in place. A journal for the arts therapies is published four times per year. There is a separate body for registration, called Stichting Register Vaktherapeutische Beroepen, where arts therapists, with a Diploma from one of the acknowledged and government-accredited programmes can register on junior or senior level after fulfilling additional requirements. (These requirements include: membership of one of the arts therapies associations, five years working experience of minimum 16 hours per week, supervision, and a certain number of credits for CPD.) The level of registration is decided by level of Diploma, Masters or Bachelor. Re-registration is required after five, then seven and eventually ten years. For this one needs proof of a certain amount of supervision and CPD. More information on the Professional Associations can be found at:

  1. Art: Nederlandse Vereniging Beeldende Therapie (NVBT)
  2. Dance: Nederlandse Vereniging voor Danstherapie (NVDAT)
  3. Drama: Nederlandse Vereniging Dramatherapie (NVDT)
  4. Music: Nederlandse Vereniging Muziektherapie (NVMT)
  5. Psychomotor therapy: https://www.nvpmt.nl/ (NVPMT)
  6. Psychomotor therapy (children)
  7. Play therapy


Several universities collaborate in centres for research (see under each university for more information) and some are currently developing a joint Masters programme. One of these research centres is KenVak, the joint venture of six universities. KenVak Research Centre for the Arts Therapies is an important platform. KenVak supports the work of the FVB and ensures that they remain grounded in the realities of the field, the medical world and the needs for sound research whilst maintaining a strong link between the lines of research, the training programmes and the professional association