Healthcare

When moving to a new country, it is important to familiarise yourself with the healthcare system. Healthcare in the Netherlands ranks among the best in the world; however, things may be different than what you are used to. Once you have settled into your new home, we advise you to take the following steps to gain access to healthcare.

  1. Register with your municipality to receive a citizen service number (BSN). To successfully apply for Dutch health insurance and gain access to the healthcare system, the insurance company will need a BSN.
  2. Arrange Dutch health insurance for you and your family members. In most cases, you are obliged to take out at least a basic level of health insurance and you must do so within four months of arrival, even if you already have other insurance that covers you in the Netherlands.
  3. Register with a general practitioner (GP) in your area, even if you do not immediately need a doctor. A GP, huisarts in Dutch, is the first point of contact for medical assistance and can refer you to specialists and hospitals.

In this section, we provide some useful brochures and information about Dutch health insurance and healthcare in the Netherlands.

Useful links and downloads

Health insurance

Everyone who lives or works in the Netherlands is legally obliged to take out a standard health insurance within four months of registering with their local municipality. Children can be insured through their parents’ health insurance until they reach the age of 18. New-born children need to be registered with your insurance company within four months. And depending on your personal circumstances, the options for student health insurance for internationals vary.

There are many health insurance companies (zorgverzekeraars) to choose from. If you wish, you can change insurers annually, at the end of the year. A BSN (your unique citizen service number) is required to register for health insurance.

There is a basic health insurance, decided on by the government, and all health insurance companies must offer this essential plan without exception. They must also charge all holders the same premium regardless of age or state of health. The premium however can differ between insurance companies. If you would like to go beyond the basics, additional insurance can be taken out for things like dentistry, physiotherapy and various holistic therapies. In this case, insurance companies are not obliged to accept every applicant.

To get a sense of how it all works, you can download the 'Healthcare in the Netherlands' or ‘Helping you navigate’ brochure.

Learn more about health insurance by visiting the website of the Dutch government.

To get a sense of how it all works, you can download the 'Healthcare in the Netherlands' or ‘Helping you navigate’ brochure.

Learn more about health insurance by visiting the website of the Dutch government.

Hospitals and GPs

There is very little difference between private and public hospitals. Both offer high standards of care. Keep in mind that you generally cannot see a specialist without obtaining a referral from a GP. Should a referral be required, you may need to attend several GP appointments beforehand. It is therefore important to register with a GP shortly after arriving in the Netherlands. In most cases, you will need to register with a GP that is no more than 15 minutes travel distance from your home (exceptions apply). Part of the reason is that, if necessary, the GP can easily visit your home.

If you require emergency medical care, call 112 - the emergency telephone number.