The rise of 'autism friendliness' in The Netherlands

Frederik Boven*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the last eleven years, the Netherlands have seen the rise of the term ‘autism friendly’, to denote services or organizations that claim to be suitable for people with autism. A case in point are autism friendly movie screenings for autistic children, characterized by reduced sound and a spoken introduction explaining what children can expect. The article describes the conceptual history of the introduction of the term ‘autism friendly’ in the Netherlands, in 2009, and its rise to a nationally known term over the course of five years. Then initiatives are described that either indirectly stimulate autism friendliness or directly realize it, the latter category in six domains: film, applied universities, fairs, driving lessons, sports and municipality. The article describes which meaning is given to the term by people involved in such initiatives. Finally, in the concluding section, this historical development is briefly situated and the structure common to autism friendly initiatives is specified.
Translated title of the contributionThe rise of 'autism friendliness' in The Netherlands
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)2-19
Number of pages18
JournalWetenschappelijk Tijdschrift Autisme
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2020


  • Autism
  • Autism friendly
  • Netherlands

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