Accessing Dutch Healthcare

How the Dutch healthcare system works: insurance, medical and dental care for you and your family


EU residents moving to or visiting the Netherlands will have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which provides insurance cover to obtain free urgent medical assistance in the Netherlands.

Non-EU residents will probably not be covered under any reciprocal scheme and should have their own international health insurance. It is important to confirm that the international policy is valid in the Netherlands. To do that, contact the College for Health Insurances (Tel: +31 (0)20 797 8555).


Anyone resident in the Netherlands and paying income tax is obligated to take out basic Dutch health insurance which can provide cover for the cost of medical care for the tax payer and their dependents. This is regardless of whether health insurance cover from a country outside the Netherlands is in place. The cover must be signed for within four months of being resident in the country.

The mandatory health insurance, Basic Health Insurance (basisverzekering), is available to all residents and provides general medical care by specialists, GPs and midwives, hospital care, medication, rehabilitation, mental health care and dental cover for children up to 21. It includes basic holiday travel cover.

There are various types of basic policy; in some cases the insurer organises and pays for all "reasonable" costs, while in others the insured arranges treatment and pays and is subsequently reimbursed by the insurer. Insurers should always be notified of hospital admission (well in advance if possible).

Supplementary insurance (aanvullende verzekering) can be used to cover elective treatments including dentistry and physiotherapy. Dental treatment in particular is costly - basic insurance is unlikely to cover adults for check ups, extractions or x-rays.

Alternative therapies are very popular in the Netherlands and some insurers will also cover these treatments under supplementary policies.

Finding insurers and healthcare

The local health insurance office (zorgverzekeraar) will have the most up-to-date information on local providers. It will also provide information on local doctors (huisarts) and dentists (tandarts) and how to register with a practice.

Further Information

  • The European Employment Service (EURES) has a section on 'Living and working conditions, Netherlands' which includes more information about benefits
  • The Dutch Employment Service (UWV WERKbedrijf, previously the Centrum voor Werk en Inkomen - CWI) is a useful source of information on work and benefits for EU and non-EU citizens. Anyone who becomes unemployed whilst in the Netherlands must register with the UWV WERKbedrijf
  • Dutch Social Insurance Information Centre has information on child benefits, care allowances, old age pension and bereavement benefits