Healthcare in the Netherlands

The Dutch healthcare system has undergone a dramatic transformation over the last few years. It is now mandatory for all citizens to purchase at least a basic level of health insurance or run the risk of facing fines. If you have been living or working in the country for more than four months then you must purchase health insurance from a local Dutch insurance company.

Unlike in the UK the Government has little responsibility for services; instead private companies provide the healthcare the Government is responsible for the accessibility and quality of available healthcare. The Dutch healthcare system is regularly used as a template for other nation’s healthcare systems as it provides an excellent rate of satisfaction when it comes to care and accessibility.

Cost of healthcare and Health insurance

To receive healthcare in the country you must either be the owner of a European Health card or be signed up to at least a basic level of health insurance. In the Dutch healthcare scheme children under the age of 18 are included on their parent’s policy. The basic package covers the following:

  • Medical care.
  • Hospital stay.
  • Dental care (until the age of 18).
  • Various medical appliances.
  • Various medicines.
  • Prenatal care.
  • Patient transport (ambulances).
  • Paramedic care.

The cost for basic healthcare insurance varies depending on which insurance company you choose to take a policy with. If working for a company in the country then you should consider purchasing a collective health insurance policy as it is often cheaper. Due to the Euro crisis the cost of health insurance has increased.

Typically you will have to pay €100 a month, children are insured for free.

If you are an EU citizen, you should apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) through your home national health insurance agency or company. This card makes it easier to access health care in European countries and means you either do not have to pay for emergency treatment or you get healthcare charges refunding more quickly.

Foreigners becoming long-term residents in the Netherlands and/ those earning a salary in the Netherlands are required to purchase a basic insurance from a Dutch health care insurance company. If you stay in the country for under a year then you will be regarded as being on a temporary stay, a period over three years is classed as a long-term stay.

Keep in mind that if you do not purchase a health insurance you may be fined.

Hospitals and chemists

The standard of Dutch hospitals is the envy of the rest of the world. They are clean, welcoming and well maintained.

In the Netherlands there are 2 types of pharmacies; the apotheek (chemist) and the drogist (drugstore).Prescriptions should be taken to the apotheek. You can get the cost of prescribed medicines prescribed by the doctor refunded by your insurance company. Some medicines will not be refunded by your insurance company. We advise you to ask your doctor, pharmacy, or insurance company beforehand if the medicine will be refunded. You can go to the drugstore for products that do not need a prescription.

Emergency numbers and procedures

If you find yourself needing emergency medical care or police assistance you should call the pan European Union number of 112.