Dutch attitudes and approaches to sexuality

The Netherlands is among the world leaders in sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Sexuality education in the Netherlands

Young people are curious about sexuality and sexual development. They need, want and have a right to accurate and comprehensive information about sexual health, to help them make the best choices about sexuality and relationships.

In the Netherlands, this means age-appropriate, clear, attractively-designed and inclusive sexuality education in language young people can understand.

By law, all primary school students in the Netherlands must receive sexuality education. The system allows for flexibility, but they must learn some core principles – including sexual assertiveness. Sexuality education is also compulsory at secondary schools.

We also address the needs of young people attending special schools or in vocational education and vulnerable groups like migrants and refugees.

We reach many more people through our websites, online resources and campaigns.

Rutgers trains students to become healthcare professionals with the right knowledge about sexual health and skills to work sensitively around sex, gender and sexual diversity. We also have a curriculum for people training to be primary or secondary school teachers.

We run campaigns addressing sexual harassment and provide training on gender norms.

Most 12 to 25-year-olds in the Netherlands say they had wanted and fun first sexual experiences. Dutch teens generally start having sex later than in other European countries or the United States.
Impressive results

Dutch approaches and attitudes to sex and sexuality have attracted global attention because of the Netherlands’ impressive record on teen sexual health.

Download our brochure on sexuality education in the Netherlands
Still work to be done

Young people in the Netherlands rate their sexuality education with a 5.8, a meagre six out of ten. That really needs to change.

Download our manifesto on better sexuality education
Condom use

A joint study of Rutgers and STI Netherlands found 7 out of 10 Dutch adolescents used a condom the first time they have sex.

Read the report
Birth control pill

World Health Organization data shows Dutch teens are among the top users of the birth control pill.

Read the report

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