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.
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:
Nederlandse Vereniging Beeldende Therapie (NVBT)
Nederlandse Vereniging voor Danstherapie (NVDAT)
Nederlandse Vereniging Dramatherapie (NVDT)
Nederlandse Vereniging Muziektherapie (NVMT)
Psychomotor therapy (children)
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