Understanding the Dutch healthcare system

Dutch healthcare is regarded as among the best in the world, and citizens in the Netherlands have access to both advanced treatments and preventative care. The government funds hospitals and long-term care through taxation, while medical insurance is used to pay for short-term treatment. It is mandatory to purchase at least basic health insurance, even if you are already insured in another country. Children under 18 years old are insured via their parents at no extra cost.

There is very little difference between private and public hospitals, with the quality of care being quite high in both. Keep in mind that you generally cannot see a specialist without obtaining a referral from your General Practitioner (GP). This is not universally so, so check ahead and save time. Should a referral be needed, be aware that you may find that you need to attend several GP appointments before one is given. That’s why it’s important to register with a GP soon after you arrive in the country. In most cases, you'll need to register with a GP that is no more than 15 minutes’ travel distance from your home (exceptions apply). Part of the reason is so that, if necessary, they can easily make a visit at your home!

Download the 'Healthcare in the Netherlands' brochure, produced by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, for more information.