Health care in the Netherlands


Are you eligible to health care in the Netherlands? How does the health care system operate? Find out in this article.

Health care will definitely be one of your main concerns if you are moving to the Netherlands, whether for a long or short period. The country has a modern and developed health care system which, however, is controlled by the private sector. But the government can still monitor the system so as to ensure that quality health care services are offered to the population.

 Good to know:

The Dutch health care system is world famous as its technology is deemed to be the world's best.

Health care services

In case of emergency, you are required to call the 112 and request for either fire services, police or ambulance. In case of accident or any major health risk or danger, hospitalization will be imminent. Otherwise, the general surgeon will arrange for your admission in case of minor injury or illness.

Note that all Dutch doctors speak English, as well as one or two other foreign languages. Hence, you should not have any trouble in communicating with them.


There are two types of pharmacies in the Netherlands: the Apotheek and the Drogist. The Apotheek generally sells all kinds of medication while the Drogist provides only medicine which can be sold without prescription, as well as pharmaceutical products. Pharmacies are open as from 9 am till 5.30 pm from Monday to Saturday while Apotheeks stay on duty even in the evening and on Sunday.

Note that reimbursement for medication fees is made once you have produced your prescription and bills to the social security service and to your insurance.


In case of pregnancy, the first thing to do is to visit a family doctor or general practitioner. The latter will then redirect you to a midwives cabinet, to a gynecologist or a hospital in case of complications.

Pregnancy is less medicalized in the Netherlands than in other European countries where professional health care assistance is necessary during almost the whole nine months. Moreover, hospital admission after the delivery can be very short. In general, it lasts to a maximum of four days if a cesarean has been performed and only a few hours if the mother and the newborn baby are fine.

Social security

All Dutch residents have to register with the National Insurance Scheme, regardless of their nationality. Workers' scheme authorized a 12.25% reimbursement rate for medical expenses. Hence, foreigners have to register at the nearest police station and municipality to their place of residence once they have obtained their residence permit in the Netherlands.

As for non-residents, they are required to request for a tax identification number or social security number from the Revenue Office. Note, however, that your employer should fill in related formalities on your behalf. You will only have to choose your insurance from a pre-established list of health insurance providers.

The National Insurance Scheme contribution will be deducted automatically from your salary and transferred to the Customs and Revenue Department at a rate of 6.45% made by the employee and 15.90% made by the employer). Entrepreneurs, for their part, have to inquire on the rate to be paid at their local tax social security office.

 Good to know:

You will be covered by the Social Security Scheme only if your income does not exceed a pre-established threshold.

Note that the Social Security Scheme provides coverage in terms of health insurance including basic health care expenses. Hence, you will be eligible to reimbursement for health care services, including general practitioners, specialist, hospitalization, obstetrician, dental care specialist and artificial teeth installation, medical apparatus, medication, pregnancy monitoring and paramedical services fees.

 Useful links:

Department of Health
The International Agency for Health Hague
List of hospitals in the Netherlands

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