Martien Kooyman’s event to mark 50 years’ service to the drugfree therapeutic community movement

On Sunday May 8th 2022 friends and family came together in Den Haag, The Hague, to celebrate and acknowledge Martien Kooyman for over 50 years of intensive work to help and improve the lives of people struggling with drug addiction.

Martien Kooyman established the drug-free therapeutic community ‘Emiliehoeve’ in the Hague, Netherlands, in 1972. This was the first TC for people addicted to drugs in Europe.

Emiliehoeve was an inspiring place, set on strong foundations, philosophy, concepts and values.  From this work Martien and his team supported the development of new drug free TCs across Europe.

Martien Kooyman, celebration event to mark 50 years of active engagement in the TC movement, Sunday 8th May 2022, The Hague.

Martien was involved in many other initiatives in the Netherlands during his career. He also visited TCs all over the world to advise, learn and support. This included the delivery of workshops in 16 countries. In addition, Martien was co-organiser of many conferences including the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities Conference (WFTC) Noordwijkerhout in 1980 and the European Federation of Therapeutic Communities Conference (EFTC) The Hague in 2009.

Martien built a strong relationship with the Faculty of Prevention and Social Psychiatry, Erasmus University, Rotterdam.  It was from both the practice and research perspective that Martien published his book “The Therapeutic Community for addicts, intimacy, parent involvement and treatment outcome”. The publication presented two main conclusions: the longer clients stayed in the programme, the better the results obtained and the more parents were involved in in the programme, the longer the residents stayed in the programme, with better results for the whole family as a result.

During the last decade Dutch health policy has changed. In 2014, all residential treatment and rehabilitation programmes had to shorten their programme to a maximum of 3 months. This was largely due to financial reasons as shorter stays cost less. Unfortunately, this period marked the end for many TCs in the Netherlands and many closed their doors.

In December 2014, Martien Kooyman and the board of the “Friends of the Emiliehoeve” started a new initiative “De Stam”. This project was delivered within the philosophy of a drugfree therapeutic community where length of stay was not restricted. This allowed residents to complete their programme inclusive of skills, behaviour and structure for reintegration back into society.

EFTC were delighted to recognise the enormous contribution and importance of Martien Kooyman’s work in 2003 when he was awarded the ‘EFTC- Eric Broekaert Award’.

Dirk Vandevelde, EFTC secretary, attended the celebration event on 8th May past and was honoured to acknowledge and thank Martien Kooyman on behalf of all EFTC members for his endless support for the drugfree TC movement.

Dirk Vandevelde, EFTC secretary, speaking at the Martien Kooyman 50 years celebration event, Sunday 8th May 2022, The Hague.