A trip to The Netherlands – visiting a dementia village

De Hogeweyk in The Netherlands is a specially designed village for people living with dementia. We recently got the opportunity to go and visit the village to see for ourselves how it works

What is Hogeweyk?

Hogeweyk village is a public facility for people with dementia, the only one of its kind in The Netherlands. It caters only for people with a diagnosis of dementia, but all types and stages of dementia are accepted. Residents are free to walk around the site and leave their houses whenever they wish. No one accompanies a resident unless it is required as part of an activity, and staff wear everyday clothes rather than uniforms. Family are welcome to visit at any time, but there is nowhere for them to stay overnight.

How big is it?

Hogeweyk has 27 houses for 180 residents who are matched to one of seven ‘lifestyles’: Homely; Urban; Well-to-do; Cultural; Christian; Indonesian; and Craft. Each house has six or seven bedrooms around a shared lounge, kitchen and two bathrooms. Each house also has a garden which differs according to the lifestyle, as does the décor of the house.

There are also 180 staff and 150 volunteers – without whom the facility would not be able to function – as well as three doctors and six nurses.

It has its own supermarket, hairdresser, craft room, theatre, pub, club room, music room and physiotherapy room. There are also many courtyards and gardens with a shed, pond, fountain and planters.

Hogeweyk is bordered by apartment blocks and a new housing development, and there is a school across the road. Children from the school visit once a week to join in activities with the residents.

What happens at Hogeweyk?

Whilst there is a suggested structure for the day, it is not prescriptive. Instead, the day is guided by the residents to some extent. For example, if a resident wants to stay in bed late no-one will make them get up, and they can have breakfast when they wish or even in bed. Residents are prepared for bed when the resident is ready, and they can take a shower at any time of the day.

A programme of activities is planned and offered, with half an hour of activity per week being included in the cost of living. These are usually combined to provide one free activity per month, with residents having to pay any additional activities. Activities may include swimming and sailing, and some residents are members of several clubs.

How is it funded?

Living at Hogeweyk currently costs around 5,000 euros per person, per month. However, admission is not dependent on funding as residents use ‘collective insurance’ to pay for their place. This is a type of insurance that everyone pays into from birth and covers care that you cannot pay for yourself. The contribution paid by residents depends on their own financial resources such as pensions and savings.


A few photos showing different aspects of the village.

The visit was really interesting and well worth it. Our areas of interest include dementia friendly design and connecting with the natural environment, so it was useful to see to what extent different principles were incorporated into this setting.


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