Dutch attitudes and approaches to sexuality
The Netherlands is among the world leaders in sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Dutch way is to have positive attitudes and approaches towards sex and sexuality. Sexuality education starts at an early age.
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 clear, direct, attractively-designed and inclusive sexuality education in language young people can understand, and greater awareness about the more positive and pleasurable aspects of sexuality.
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 diversity and sexual assertiveness. Sexuality education is also compulsory at secondary schools.
Rutgers is the Netherlands’ leading sexuality centre. Our materials are used in primary and secondary schools across the country
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 positively 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.”
Dutch approaches and attitudes to sex and sexuality have attracted global attention because of the Netherlands’ impressive record on teen sexual health.
Young people rate their sexual education with a 5.8, a meagre six out of ten. That really needs to change.
A joint study of Rutgers and STI Netherlands found 7 out of 10 Dutch adolescents used a condom the first time they have sex.
World Health Organization data shows Dutch teens are among the top users of the birth control pill.