The Netherlands is Dispensing Sunscreen at Parks and Beaches

Providing sun protection for everyone.

Jun 26, 2023


Mother putting sunscreen on her daughter.

(VH-studio /

Summertime means that people are spending more time outside and that leads to longer exposure to sunlight. It’s time to put on hats, sunglasses and slather on some sunscreen.

Now a new initiative by The Netherlands is providing sunscreen dispensers at parks, sports venues, beaches, and other public places, reported NDTV. That’s because the government wants everyone to have equal access to sun protection.

The program which rolled out earlier in June, 2023 in Breda, was inspired by the Australian slip, slop, slap campaign which encourages Aussies to slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat during the summer season.

The Dutch government hopes that the sunscreen dispensers will turn applying sun protection into a new habit, reported The Guardian. With rising summer temperatures and an expected heatwave, the new initiative will be put to a good test.

Rising Skin Cancer Rates
The initiative follows a steep increase in skin cancer rates in The Netherlands. In fact, the number of skin cancer cases has doubled in the past 10 years, according to Globe Echo.

The main cause of skin cancer is exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause changes in the cell structure of skin that makes the cells replicate into cancer cells

“Approximately one in five Dutch people will develop skin cancer in the course of their life. And the most common cause of this is sunburn, dermatologist Karen van Poppelen told Globe Echo. It’s good to protect yourself against it [and the] best way to prevent skin cancer.”

Skin cancer rates have been going up across Europe, and in Germany, the number of deaths rose 55 percent from 2001, reported the Guardian.  Besides saving lives, increased sun protection use will save healthcare resources.

About the Dutch initiative
A skin doctor from the Venlo-Venray hospital came up with the idea of converting the dispensers that were set up during the Covid-19 pandemic to distribute hand sanitizer to dispense sunscreen instead. The hospital is working with state health insurers to fund the project.

Jacco Knape from the seaside town of Katwijk told The Guardian: “It’s costing a bit of money but we hold the health of the people in high regard, adding: “We regularly see people enjoying the sun but neglecting to protect themselves and owing to the fact that Katwijk gets above the average amount of sun, this is not good.”

Doctors from the hospital  said that children should accustom themselves to putting on sunscreen at an early age so just like brushing their teeth, it becomes a habit. Having the sunscreen dispensers available where families go, like parks and festivals, is a good way to make this happen.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.