Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij

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Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij (VtdK; English: "Association against Quackery") is the oldest skeptical organization in the world, having been founded in 1880[1] in the Netherlands, and it is still active.

The initial interest of the society was in practicing medicine without a license and in the manufacture of "secret remedies" (patent medicine).[1] Since 1881, the society has published the journal Nederlands Tijdschrift tegen de Kwakzalverij (NTtdK). In the first year of the NTtdK, it expressed skepticism about the efficacy (but not the safety) of the deadly herbal medicine Aristolochia.[2][3]

By the 1950s, the society's interest focusted on magnetic therapy, parapsychology, non-medical manipulative therapy, and herbal medicine.[1] Since the 1980s, the society has fought against alternative medicine, including acupuncture, homeopathy, manipulative therapy, anthroposophical medicine, and naturopathy.[1]

Twenty most notorious healers[edit]

In 2001, the VtdK published a report of the twenty most notorious Dutch healers (quacks) of the 20th century". The list featured:[4]

  1. Cornelis Moerman (1893–1988): Moerman Therapy,Wikipedia cancer quackery
  2. Jules Samuels (1888–1975): endogenous endocrine therapy using electromagnetism
  3. Johan Borgman (1889–1976): paranormal healing
  4. H. van der Upwich (1898–1997): raw food, fad diet, all illness is due to indigestion
  5. Het Staphorster Boertje (1840–1922): herbal medicine
  6. J.G. Defares (1927–2015):[5] cell therapy, hormone replacement therapy, orthomolecular medicine, enzyme therapy, Filatow tissue therapy, Bogolometz-Korenchevsky serum therapy, Aslan procaine therapy
  7. Mevr. M. Sickesz [Maria (Mayita) Sickesz] (1923–2015):[6] orthomanual medicine (a variation of osteopathy that is supposed to be a panacea)
  8. P.J. van der Schaar: ozone therapy, cell therapy, chelation therapy
  9. Ad J. Lodewijkx: orthomolecular medicine, fad diet
  10. Femia Haverhoek: homeopathy, clairvoyance
  11. Gerard CroisetWikipedia (1909–1980): paranomral healer
  12. A.J. Houtsmuller (1924–2015):[7] Moerman therapy, fad diet, megavitamin therapy
  13. H.J. Eilers: patent medicine containing petroleum, cod liver oil and cinnamon oil for treating tuberculosis, multiple convictions for practicing medicine without a license
  14. H.P.J.A. Maas: homeopathy, acupuncture, paranormal, anthroposophical medicine
  15. Greet HofmansWikipedia (1894–1968): faith healing
  16. JomandaWikipedia (a.k.a. Johanna Wilhelmina Petronella Damman) (1948–): spiritualist healer
  17. F.J.M. Neelissen (1938–): homeopathy, acupuncture, focus diagnostics dental woo
  18. J.G. Mieremet (1885–1967): magnetic therapy, dowsing
  19. Rama Polderman (1924–2004):[8] homeopathy, chakras, color therapy
  20. Jelle Veeman (1922–): paranormal healer, magnetic therapy, third eye

Maria Sickesz[edit]

A substantial amount of Dutch press coverage was given to the 2001 report, and needless to say the living quacks in the report were not happy about it. The report itself was very specific about the definition of quack as not implying fraud, but news reports generally referred to a more general definition that did include fraud, an important legal distinction.[9] Maria Sickesz (#7, above) sued the VtdK in 2005 for making an onrechtmatige daad (unlawful act)[note 1] against her.[9] Sickesz lost the case initially, but won on appeal in 2007.[9] The case was finally settled by the Court of Cassation in favor of VtdK in 2009 based on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights,Wikipedia which is regarding to freedom of expression and information.[10][1] The court battle brought financial difficulty to VtdK, bringing it close to bankruptcy.[1]

Sylvia Millecam[edit]

Dutch actress Sylvia Millecam was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000 and initially sought conventional medicine after the initial diagnosis. After several visits to the doctor she chose alternative medical treatments exclusively, including from Jomanda (#16, above) and many alternative medicine practitioners, three of whom had medical licenses.[11][12] Her treatment included electro-acupuncture, "cell specific cancer treatment" (Zoetron therapyWikipedia) and "salt therapy".[12] During treatment, she was repeatedly told that she did not have cancer, but eventually her condition became much worse and she entered a hospital after her tumor had grown past the point of being treatable, dying there in 2001. After her death, a public prosecutor pressed charges against two of the professionals and Jomanda, but later dropped charges because Millecam had made her own decision regarding treatment.[13] Following this, VtdK and Stichting SkepsisWikipedia (another Dutch skeptical organization) forced the prosecutor to continue the case.[13] The result of the prosecution was that two of the three medical professionals temporarily lost their licenses to practice as a result of her death, and the acquittal of Jomanda.[11][14]

Meester Kackadorisprijs[edit]

Since 2004, the society has awarded an annual "'Meester Kackadorisprijs' to institutions, individuals or companies that have contributed significantly to the spread of quackery in the Netherlands."[1][15][16] The prize is named after a quack doctor in a 1631 short comedy.[1][17]

See also[edit]

External link[edit]


  1. Onrechtmatige daad is not libel per se.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 In the Interest of All Who Value Their Purse and Their Health: A Brief History of the 'Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij' by Cees N. M. Renckens (Geplaatst: 15 jul 2010 | Laatste Wijziging: 21 apr 2016) Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij.
  2. Reconfortatief of gezondheids en zeer versterkende pillen (Maandblad 15 juli 1881, jaargang 1, nummer 7) (9 jan 2009) Kwakzalverij
  3. Reconfortatief of gezondheids en zeer versterkende pillen (15 juli 1881) Nederlands Tijdschrift tegen de Kwakzalverij 1(7).
  4. Genezen is het woord: Biografische schetsen van de twintig meest notoire genezers van de twintigste eeuw by Cees Renckens (2001) Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij Skeptische Notities 14. ISBN 9073517141.
  5. James George Defares Netherlands Wikipedia
  6. Maria Sickesz Netherlands Wikipedia
  7. Hans Houtsmuller Netherlands Wikipedia
  8. Rama Polderman Netherlands Wikipedia
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Chronologie van de kwestie-Sickesz by Jan Willem Nienhuys (Posted 28 mei 2001 [with updates]) Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij.
  10. Dutch Sceptics Have ‘Bogus’ Libel Decision Overturned On Human Rights Grounds. by Andy Lewis (August 3, 2009) The Quackometer.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Artsen Millecam uit hun vak gezet (19-06-2007) NRC Handelsblad (archived from July 19, 2014).
  12. 12.0 12.1 Netherlands to crack down on complementary medicine by Tony Sheldon (28 February 2004) BMJ 328:485.
  13. 13.0 13.1 OM moet Jomanda toch vervolgen (10 april 2008) Binnenland (archived from April 11, 2008).
  14. Spiritual healer acquitted in death of Dutch actress (Jun 12, 2009 11:51 AM ET) The Associated Press via CBC.
  15. Meester Kackadorisprijs Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij.
  16. Meester Kackadorisprijs Netherlands Wikipedia
  17. Een tafel-spel van Meester Kackadoris, ende een doof wijf met eyeren: noch een tafel-spel van een lants-knecht, die teghen sijn eyghen schaduwe vecht. Noch een tafel-spel van een personagie, een sot spelende met een marot. Noch twee refereynen int amoureus. by Jan van Waesberge (1631)