Profile: Peter Groenewegen

Doctor Peter Groenewegen, Department Head, Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL), and Professor of Social and Geographical aspects of health and health care, Departments of Human Geography and Sociology at Utrecht University, Netherlands. His research focus is on international comparative studies, health policy, health care organisation, manpower planning, and sociology of the professions.

Peter Groenewegen completed his undergraduate degree at Utrecht University in theoretical sociology and quantitative methodology. He accidentally discovered the health care field when he was searching for temporary employment and was hired by the Netherlands Institute of General Practice. He remained at that post and watched it grow into NIVEL. His Ph.D. brought him in contact with geography, and he wrote his dissertation on the spatial distribution of general practitioners. Peter teaches courses in the sociology of organisations, the relationships between research and practice in health services research, international comparisons of health care systems, and an international course (with Alastair Leyland) called Health in Context: Multilevel Modelling in Public Health and Health Services Research. This team has taught this course in several European countries, Australia and the United States since the turn of the century. Leyland and Groenewegen are now writing a book based on this course.

Peter’s present research is divided between two projects. The first is a programme funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research on the relationship between green space in people’s living environment and their health. The program is called Vitamin G and has its own (Dutch only) website, The programme description is published as P. P. Groenewegen, A. E. Van den Berg, S. De Vries, and R. A. Verheij. Study protocol Vitamin G: effects of green space on health, well-being, and social safety. BMC Public Health 6:149, 2006. The first results were published in: J. Maas, R. A. Verheij, P. P. Groenewegen, S. De Vries, and P. Spreeuwenberg. Green space, urbanity, and health: how strong is the relation? J Epidemiol Community Health 60:587-592, 2006. The second is in the field of the sociology of the professions. Based on surveys, researchers have analysed changes in the position of health care professions and the occupational structure of health care in the Netherlands. In 2007 a Dutch language book was published on this theme. References to Peter’s English language publications may be found on NIVEL’s international website,

Peter may be contacted at

Updated: September 2007