Healthcare in the Netherlands

By Betsy Burlingame

GeoBlue International Health Insurance

Summary: 9 important things for expats to know about healthcare in the Netherlands. Include information about health insurance requirements for residency, prescription medications, emergency medical care, ambulance service and more.

Living in the Netherlands - A Guide to Healthcare in the Netherlands

The Netherlands' healthcare system is high quality and comparable to that of other western European countries. If you're an newcomer to the Netherlands, it's important to understand the types of hospitals, the best hospitals in your city or town, the health insurance requirement for non-residents, that you need to find a general practitioner, or huisarts, for referrals to specialists, the availability of prescription medications and more. Plus, if you're planning to have a baby, we offer insight from expats who have had a baby in the Netherlands.

Quality of Medical Care in the Netherlands

Dutch medical care is of high quality and is comparable to the medical care throughout Western Europe. Diagnostic laboratories and specialists in all fields of medicine are available. Hospitals are well-equipped. Maternity hospitals and other clinics are available. Most doctors and dentists speak English.

In case of Emergency

Dial 112 for emergency medical assistance. If your situation warrants it you should seek assistance from a hospital. They are staffed and equipped to deal with emergencies. Emergency services (including transportation by ambulance) are not free and you will be billed for any services rendered to you.

You Cannot Buy Dutch Health Insurance if You Don't Have a Residence Permit

When you move to the Netherlands, you are not allowed to purchase Dutch health insurance before you have a residence permit. Once you get your residence permit, you must purchase Dutch health insurance. It is important that you have insurance before you become a resident. You may get a quote from our health insurance partner that provides expat health insurance in the Netherlands.

Expats living in Netherlands interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get quotes our partner, International Citizens Insurance, a trusted expat health insurance broker. They will provide you with comparison quotes from some of the biggest expat health insurers: Cigna, Aetna and GeoBlue. Get a Quote

Expats living in Netherlands interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get quotes our partner, International Citizens Insurance, a trusted expat health insurance broker. They will provide you with comparison quotes from some of the biggest expat health insurers: Cigna, Aetna and GeoBlue.

Non-Residents are Not Covered Automatically by Dutch National Health Services

The US Embassy in the Netherlands says, "medical services aren't provided free of charge, as the Dutch National Health Service does not cover visitors to the Netherlands. It is therefore recommended to obtain an estimate of the cost involved before receiving services." This not only applies to travelers, but to people who are not residents or have recently become residents and have not yet purchased mandatory health insurance.

Registering with a General Practitioner (huisarts)

You must register with a general practitioner in order to obtain non-emergency treatment from a specialist. Your health insurance company can help you find a general practitioner or you may want to ask other expats in your area if they have an English-speaking general practitioner whom they would recommend.

Prescription Medications in the Netherlands

Pharmacies ("Apotheek") are widely available and can assist with emergency prescription needs. Some common medications are not available in the Netherlands without a prescription, and some prescription drugs cannot be imported into the country.

Bringing Prescription Medications with You When you Arrive in the Netherlands

The US State Department advises that newcomers, "If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of the Netherlands to ensure the medication is legal in the Netherlands. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor's prescription. Carry an adequate supply of prescription drugs in their original container in your carry-on luggage. Please carry a letter from your pharmacist or medical doctor with you, as some drugs are subject to confiscation by local customs agents. If you are traveling with any pre-existing medical condition, bring a letter from your physician that describes your medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic name of any prescribed drugs."

Having a Baby in the Netherlands

Several of our members have shared their experiences giving birth in the Netherlands. "Overall, I had a great birth experience. The medical staff was very friendly, understanding, and helpful. They also spoke an adequate amount of English, which was great," said one mom. "I didn't really chose one. The local hospital is Antonious and has an amazing natal unit. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I began seeing a midwife at the hospital. It was not always the same one but they were all amazing and supportive and all spoke excellent English. I had a choice to have my baby at home or the hospital, I chose the hospital. During my labour I had a great midwife but then as things got complicated I was immediatley put into the care of a gynecologist. My care was excellent from all the medical professionals," recalled one expat.

Read more of their stores in our article, 6 Tips for Expats Having a Baby in The Netherlands.

Expat Health Insurance in Netherlands

Expats interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get quotes our partner, International Citizens Insurance, a trusted expat health insurance broker. They will provide you with comparison quotes from some of the biggest expat health insurers: Cigna, Aetna and GeoBlue.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 6 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and 7 Tips for Obtaining Residence in Italy. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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International Citizens InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a comparison quotes for some of the biggest expat health insurers from our partner, International Citizens Insurance.
Get Quotes

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9 important things for expats to know about healthcare in the Netherlands. Include information about health insurance requirements for residency, prescription medications, emergency medical care, ambulance service and more.

6-Tips-for-Expats-Having-a-Baby-in-The-Netherlands6 Tips for Expats Having a Baby in The Netherlands

Expat moms share their experiences having a baby in The Netherlands - from wonderful prenatal care to the home birth option for uncomplicated pregnancies and everything in between. While many new moms have very short hospital stays, they receive at home care from a beloved Kraamzorg (home nurse) as part of their maternity care, which expats resoundingly say makes all the difference.

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Knowing which hospital you would go to should a medical emergency arise while living in Netherlands is important. This information is provided (but not endorsed) by expats and the US Embassy in Netherlands.

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Help others moving to Netherlands by answering a set of questions about health insurance, public healthcare in Netherlands, prescription medicine, quality of medical care and emergency services.

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Read recent baby reports submitted for Dordrecht and Nieuwegein.

If you're an expat parent who had a baby abroad, write a report about your childbirth experiences to help other expecting expat parents.

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