Frequently asked questions

Q: What do I do in the case of a medical emergency?

A: If you experience an acute emergency - severe pain or an accident for example - call your doctor (huisarts), dial the national emergency number 112 or go to the nearest hospital.

Q: Do I need Dutch health insurance?

A: If you work and pay income tax in the Netherlands, you are obliged to take out Dutch health insurance, even it you are already insured back home. Please read our article on health insurance.

Q: How do I get the same treatment I was getting back home?

A: You may talk to your doctor (huisarts) about your condition, the treatment you have received for this complaint back home and your current needs.

Q: What is included in the standard package?

A: The standard package includes medical care (GPs, speicalists and obstetricians); hospital treatment; (most) medications; dental care to age 18; postnatal care; limited physiotherapy, exercise therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and dietary advice; smoking cessation therapy.

Q: I have a pre-existing condition; does this mean I will have trouble getting insurance?

A: Health insurance companies are legally obliged to accept anyone who applies for a standard package. They are not allowed to charge higher premiums for sick and elderly customers.

Q: What are my rights as a patient in the Netherlands?

A: All physicians (including doctors, pharmacists and dentists) are legally bound to confidentiality. They cannot share information about you with your spouse, dependents or employer without your consent. You also have a legal right to see your medical files. Some doctors are not used to being asked for them and may be reluctant to comply, but you should simply insist.

Q: How soon can the doctor/specialist see me?

A: Each doctor has his/her own approach to seeing patients. Some offer walk-in clinic hours, others require you to make an appointment. Appointments are usually within 72 hours. Medical specialists working in hospitals can have a waiting list of weeks, even months. Appointments are scheduled on the basis of objective criteria, such as medical necessity and order of application.

Q: Where can I get antibiotics?

A: Compared to their international peers, Dutch doctors are more cautious about prescribing antibiotics because of rising levels of microbiological resistance. Antibiotics are prescribed only when strictly needed, for example if your body cannot handle an illness on its own. It is highly unlikely you will get antibiotics for a common cold or a sore throat.

Q: I have a mental health problem. Where can I get treatment in the Netherlands?

A: Mental health treatment in the Netherlands is among the best in the world. Some providers offer help in languages other than Dutch. PsyQ is an organisation which offers psychiatric help to people suffering from depression, anxiety or other psychological and psychiatric complaints. PsyQ employ therapists who speak English, French and Spanish. Visit their website for more information.

Have more questions? Download a PDF about healthcare in the Netherlands.


Expatcenter's Partners

For a full list of the Expatcenter's partners, including healthcare providers, or for more information on the Partnership Programme, please click here.


The above information is from the publication Dutch healthcare published by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.