HOWTO. How can I donate blood in the Netherlands?

You know these things that you have always wanted to do, but somehow you postpone indefinitely, because they cost some time to get arranged?
Well, donating blood has for long been on my to-do list. I think it is of such an importance for such a little effort, that it is worth. It is immensely worth. Imagine these people being saved by your blood.
Just my thoughts, I am not taking part to any campaign. I simply can’t hide my opinion for the stuff I care. Said so, what is the practical information you need to have to donate blood in the Netherlands?

How can you donate blood in the Netherlands?

For what I know, there is a single organization that takes care of blood donations in the whole country – Sanquin (please correct me if you have different information – I would love to know!). You do not necessarily need to speak Dutch to donate – thing that I find very cool, and different from what I had previously heard. The personnel can handle very well any procedure in English. You just need to follow the simple steps listed below

The procedure in 5 simple steps

  1. register yourself via the online system – click on
    English: https://www.sanquin.nl/en/become-a-donor/registration-donor/
    Dutch: https://www.sanquin.nl/bloed-geven/aanmelding-bloeddonor/
    and fill in the form with all the necessary information. Then submit.
  2. make a first appointment
    within 10 days you will be contacted by the personnel of Sanquin to make the first appointment – the moment you will visit the center for the medical check
  3. first appointment
    at the agreed date you can introduce yourself at the desk (with identity card/passport) where they will give you a folder with a questionnaire. This questionnaire is aimed at collecting information about your health status, the use of medications, journeys abroad (all things that are relevant to how safe is your blood for other people). You just have to fill it in, give it back at the desk and wait to be called by the doctor.
    During the doctor’s visit, he/she will check your blood pressure, your glucose level, ask your weight, height and go through the questionnaire with you.
    After that, they will get a blood sample that will be tested for contagious illnesses.
    (! you do not donate blood at the first appointment)
  4. receive the card (oproepkaart)
    if your blood sample and questionnaire are approved (after having been checked), you will get a card at home inviting you to donate, the oproepkaart.
    With this card you can then donate within the following two weeks without appointment – you’ll just need to walk in the center.
    Otherwise, if you are not able to go donating within these two weeks, you can change the dates on the website (www.sanquin.nl/oproepkaart) or by calling the centre.
    Furthermore, if you have done something special (like a journey abroad or used some substances) you should check if you can still donate (online www.sanquin.nl/donortest, or by phone).
    (! even a simple trip within Europe can make you unable to donate. Thus always check before visiting the center – it can save you a lot of time!)
  5. donate blood
    Go with your passport and the oproepkaart you have received (see point 4.) to the center. You will have to present yourself at the desk, fill in again the questionnaire, have a short chat and few checks with a doctor (or maybe a nurse, I am not sure) and go donating.

My first experience in NL

I’ve donated blood here in the Netherlands for the first time ever. I was somewhat skeptic/anxious because I am not friend of needles and hospitals in general (who is – by the way?), but Cristian was very relaxed and he kind of reassured me.
Also the staff there is very nice and caring: at the intake, when talking with the nurse/doctor, she asked me when I last had something to eat, and made sure I would get something from the pantry because I had not eaten for too long and my stomach might have suffered from the donation – seriously the lady managing the pantry was checking on me to eat the whole sandwich. Adorable!
Also while donating nurses where coming to check on me, but especially at the end they took extra care: they made me stay still for a while, then made me sit for another while and finally checked how I was feeling while standing. Maybe these are normal procedures, but I felt cuddled.
Furthermore, they use no normal plasters or tape on the skin which I find great.

So no worries…if I made it, you can too!

Doei!
Marta

And the painting shown in the picture is hanging in the pantry of Sanquin center. I find it beautiful!

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