Positive Health in Amsterdam Southeast

In the project Positive Health in Amsterdam Southeast (November 2016-2019), we investigated whether the concept of Positive Health, as connection between professionals and citizens of the neighbourhood, can lead to action. A condition is that the needs and strengths of citizens in relation to health and living environment are put central. The main aim of the project is to significantly improve resilience, self-management and health of citizens in order to reduce health inequalities in this neighbourhood. 

Thus far, initiatives to improve the situation in Amsterdam Southeast often show little effect. This may be due to the relative short duration of most projects and often different projects are not aligned. In addition, it is difficult to find the right entry amongst citizens of different ethnic backgrounds. 

Positive Health

The concept of Positive Health, developed by Huber et al (2016) is gaining appreciation and is increasingly used in the Netherlands. The concept Positive Health is one way of assessing one's needs on various health domains: 1) bodily functions, 2) mental functions and perception, 3) spiritual dimension, 4) quality of life, 5) socio and societal participation, and 6) daily functioning. 

Project Design

The researchers started with an assessment of projects and initiatives carried out in the neighbourhood Venserpolder that aimed at improving health and environment. Subsequently, a joint plan of action was created. Step three involved developing pilot projects based on existing projects that are more aligned with other projects as well with desires of residents.  All stakeholders, including citizens, health care organisations, policy makers and local government, were involved. 


This project on Positive Health was novel and innovative as it investigated the concept of Positive Health in people with different ethnic backgrounds in neighbourhoods that need special attention. In addition, it was novel to combine the concept of Positive Health with the Living Environment and this could lead to significant improvement of citizens in Amsterdam Southeast/Venserpolder. Last but not least, it was imperative to involve citizens from the start of the project to prevent a top-down approach.

The project Positive Health in Amsterdam Southeast was executed by the Louis Bolk Institute, in collaboration with different people and organisations in Amsterdam Southeast, including Karin Moor (MaDi), Judith Meijer (client interests), and Jessica Dikmoet (resident / networker Amsterdam Southeast). This project was supported by Stadsdeel Zuidoost, de GGD and the Institute for Positive Health.

The project was funded by ZonMW, Triodos Foundation, and Bouwkamp Foundation.