Michael Rutgers announces departure from Lung Foundation Netherlands (Longfonds Nederland)

Michael Rutgers (65) will step down after the summer to make way for a successor. This was announced by the director of Lung Foundation Netherlands today. Rutgers has been the figurehead of Lung Foundation Netherlands for over 17 years and is known for his passionate commitment to the challenge of  chronic lung disease, both for patients and for society. Health and health problems have been central throughout  his long career. His convincing way of addressing health issues is innovative and shows courage. Rutgers is acknowledged as one of the most impactful executives in the world of civil power in the Netherlands.

Before Michael Rutgers joined Lung Foundation Netherlands, he was director of, among others, the Dutch Burns Foundation, the Johanna Children's Foundation and he worked as a manager at the Dutch Association of Neuromuscular Diseases. Rutgers: “I have always committed myself to a healthier Netherlands and will continue to do so. People have the right to live in a world where it is easier to make healthy choices and where they can breathe freely."

Driver of innovation

Rutgers is a driver of innovation. He succeeded in transforming charitable organisations from the classic ‘do-gooders’ to influential partners within the triangle of politics, business and society. As part of his role at the Lung Foundation Netherlands, he was one of the co-authors of the Prevention Agreement and the instigator of the Clean Air Agreement. He also worked with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) to develop the Lung Foundation Healthy Air Check.

Together for a healthier Netherlands

As CEO of Lung Foundation Netherlands, Michael Rutgers has set up numerous collaborations and partnerships with other health organisations . One of the most successful initiatives is Health Funds for Smoke-Free, a collaboration of Lung Foundations Netherlands,the Dutch Heart Foundation and the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF), which under the chairmanship of Rutgers promotes a smoke-free generation. He is also chairman of the Collaborating Health Funds, in which 22 parties work together to achieve the healthiest generation in 2040. Rutgers has also developed several successful partnerships with the business community.


The coronavirus outbreak in the spring of 2020 which led to an unprecedented pandemic was the reason for Michael Rutgers, as Lung Foundation Netherlands, to initiate the first digital platform for COVID-19 patients with long-term post-infectious symptoms. It was launched in May 2020 and has since grown into the patient organisation PostCovid NL.

Medical breakthroughs

Michael Rutgers is also the driving force behind the mission of the Lung Foundation Netherlands: to ensure that people can take control of their lives with their disease and have access to solutions and medical breakthroughs. For example, the Lung Foundation Netherlands finances both national and international research to prevent asthma and regenerate damaged lung tissue. A progressive new initiative was the establishment of LungHealth BV, which supports scientists in their effort to ensure that promising results from national and international research lead to products and treatments for people with lung disease.

The list of Rutger’s achievements is long. After his departure from Lung Foundation Netherlands in September 2023, Rutgers will continue to address health challenges and strive for a better health for all.