Why was the Foundation established?
Stichting Veteranenziekte (Legionnaires’ Disease Foundation), formerly known as Stichting Flora Veteranenziekte, was set up after the world’s biggest outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in March 1999. As a result of this serious outbreak, which occurred at a Dutch flower festival in Bovenkarspel, 32 people have died to date and more than 200 people have become seriously ill. Many of them have joined the foundation.
Others, who subsequently contracted the disease elsewhere – at home or abroad – have joined as well.
The main activities of Stichting Veteranenziekte
According to official records, there were 45 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the Netherlands in 1999, by 2000 that number had grown to 250. This means there is a lot to be done. Two times a year the foundation organises a meeting for those affected and their family members. Experts on medicine and water technology are present at all meetings. A newsletter, containing the latest developments in the fight against Legionnaires’ disease, is sent out to all members four times a year. In 2000 Stichting Veteranenziekte unveiled De Bomentuin (Garden of Trees) in Bovenkarspel as a memorial to those who died as a result of the 1999 outbreak. In addition, the foundation keeps in close contact with physicians, health authorities and the two ministries involved.
Since 2001, the main objective of the foundation has been to prevent people becoming infected with Legionnaires’ disease. Assisted by a new technical advisor, the foundation works very hard to tighten both national and European legislation on Legionnaires’ disease. An advisory board, consisting of scientists, politicians and physicians, works closely with the foundation to try and bring about these much needed changes.
The address of the monument erected for the victims is: De Bomentuin, Spoorsingel (opposite number 72) in Bovenkarspel, The Netherlands.