Healthcare insurance

The Dutch healthcare system

Check out our informative video on healthcare: Healthcare in the Netherlands - YouTube

In the Netherlands the healthcare system is a hybrid of socialised healthcare (for example in Sweden, Singapore, or the UK), and a private insurance system (like the US). Everyone working and living in the Netherlands will need some form of health insurance. For most people this will be a standard Dutch healthcare policy (‘zorgverzekering’). There are about 40 different health insurance companies available.

If you are in the Netherlands for a very short period, and you have citizenship of an EU country, you can use your EHIC card for emergency care.

You must get health insurance within 3 months of registering in the BRP (obtaining a BSN). Dutch law prevents any insurance company from withholding coverage based on any personal feature or pre-existing health condition.

Naturally, emergency care is available at speed (by dialling 112). However, for most other medical issues your GP/family doctor is the first place to go. Almost all specialists will require a referral from your GP.

Mental health care, dental care, and most other complementary therapies (for example physiotherapy) are freely accessible: however, they are often not covered by basic insurance packages.

You can read more about healthcare in the Netherlands on the website of the Dutch government.

You can also read more about healthcare in the Netherlands on the website of Healthcare 4 internationals (H4i), a non-profit organisation that aims to make Dutch healthcare work better for Internationals in the Netherlands.

Interpreting and Translation Services

Dutch law states that your healthcare provider has to provide services in a language that is understandable for you. So, if you don’t speak Dutch well  ask your medical practitioner to phone the ‘Tolk- en Vertaalcentrum Nederland’ (TVcN) for interpreting and translation services.

If your medical practitioner makes the request, the service is free of charge. The interpreter can listen over the telephone and ensure that there is a good understanding between patient and doctor. An interpreter can occasionally come to the appointment if interpretation over the telephone is not possible.


You may also be interested in information about health insurance, local doctors (GPs), or mental health.