CliniClowns, Netherlands

Healthcare Clowning

Healthcare Clowns bring moments of happiness and distraction to children who are ill or who have special needs. Healthcare Clowns engage the children’s imagination, communicating with them through laughter and providing them with an outlet for creativity. Experts stress that children who have to deal with illness should play… in their own way…with their own experiences and emotions.  

Children in healthcare facilities can experience feelings of powerlessness, boredom or have difficulty communicating or coping in the healthcare environment. Healthcare Clowns can offer individual, playful intervention and reaches out to the child behind the illness. This way clowns can have a positive effect on the quality of life of these children and their environment.

Clowns also bring smiles to vulnerable adults, including seniors and people with dementia who are in hospital care. These people are likely to experience depression and feelings of isolation and may have difficulty with self-expression and socialising with others. The clowns make contact through humour and create great moments of laughter and lightness for them.

Healthcare Clowns are carefully chosen, professional performers who undergo specialist training to work with children in the healthcare environment. They use many techniques including theatre, clowning, improvisation, rhythm, music, magic and puppetry.

“I would like to prescribe every sick child their own healthcare clown. As a pediatrician I can see up close the effect the clowns have on sick children. Especially because they contribute to the recovery of a child. I could not see a world without them. I experience continuously that the work of the clowns really works. Humor and laughter help to reduce pain, stress and fear. Of course medicine and operations are important, but I would want to prescribe everybody a hospital clown. Attention and warm, human contact are very important in the healing process.”

-Ines von Rosenstiel-Jadoul is a pediatrician at the Rijnstate hospital in Arnhem, the Netherlands


Health care institutions
EFHCO and its member organizations will work hard to maintain relationships with healthcare organizations and related bodies, in order to remain at the forefront of their work. The federation also facilitates exchanges on relevant topics in the field. 

EFHCO is committed to recognizing any developments that may impact on the work of clowning in the hospitals, and will dedicate time and resources to highlighting these within their working groups and future conferences.