This article was adapted from "Netherlands National Tour", prepared by Baneke and Bell, 2008, published in Wedding, D., & Stevens, M. J. (Eds.). Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource (Edition 2009) [CD-ROM]. International Journal of Psychology, 44 (Suppl. 1).
Scientific psychology in the Netherlands began more than 100 years ago with F. C. Donder's reaction-time experiments. Heymans established the first Dutch psychological laboratory in Groningen in 1892. The number of psychologists in the country has grown rapidly from about 6,000 in 1981 to over 18,000 in 1998; female psychologists are now in the majority. Both genders have an equally strong preference for clinical psychology (40%), but more women choose fields related to children and youth (40%, versus 20% men). Men prefer much more the other clusters, especially work and organization psychology. Every year, almost 1,000 new psychologists enter the labor market. From 1950 to 1998, the percentage of women has increased from one-third to over two-thirds. Although the job market has improved in recent years, employment, especially of young psychologists, remains a serious issue. With a continuing high interest of young people to study psychology, many graduates cannot be absorbed by the profession and ultimately have to acquire other jobs.
In the Netherlands psychological research is being conducted in all the main fields of psychology. The distinction between fundamental and applied research is not a strong one. Sometimes there is concern about practicing psychologists who tend to rely on subjective methods and personal insights of questionable validity. In recent years there has been an increasing interest in health, especially in relationship to work. Traditionally Dutch psychology has held a (relatively) strong international position in various fields of experimental psychology (e.g., Acta Psychologica).
In the Netherlands, one can study psychology at the universities in Amsterdam (2), Leiden, Utrecht, Groningen, Nijmegen, Tilburg, Maastricht, and at the Open University in Heerlen. In 1992 the formal duration of study up to the Drs level (equivalent to Master's) was reduced to four years at university. An initial plan for a two-phase structure – theoretical education for four years, followed by practical/professional training- was not realized. University study is limited to a four-year curriculum (although many students take five years or even more to finish). This is the main reason why the Nederlands Instituut van Psychologen has become involved in professional training. Only a small number of Ph.D. students, who are trained in research, stay for four more years at university.
Other recent reorganization processes, induced by the government, demand a reorientation from practitioners and as well as researchers. In 1993, the legal protection of the title of psychologist was abolished. Legislation to reinstate such protection for psychologists working in the field of health (after completion of professional training) has been effected. Research funds are channeled away from universities to a national institution distributing grants on the basis of proposals, a shift that so far has been to the disadvantage of the social sciences, including psychology. Researchers are now organized in national schools, some with an interdisciplinary scope, that are each focused on a field of psychology.
Netherlands psychologists have a formal code of ethics.
De Psycholoog, 11/year
Psychologie & Computers, 4/year