Health insurance in the Netherlands
The Dutch healthcare system is a universal, multi-payer system. This means healthcare is funded through a combination of public and private contributions.
When the Dutch healthcare system was overhauled several years ago, a Standard Health Insurance Package (known as the basisverzekering) was introduced for all residents. This standard package is mandatory if you are aged 18 and over. All Dutch residents – including international students – are free to choose their own private health insurance provider. There is no state-funded (public) health insurance as such. It is a good idea to compare what the different insurance carriers have to offer, but the package generally covers the following services:
- GP visits
- Specialist treatment and hospital care
- Some mental health services
- Dental care up to age 18
- Some forms of therapy, including speech therapy
- Maternity care
Health insurance for EU students
As an international student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you are not required to pay health insurance premiums in the Netherlands unless you have some form of paid employment. This includes full-time work, part-time work or paid internships. If you are not employed, you can apply for a European Health Insurance Card or an international declaration form instead.
When you’re shopping around for insurance providers, you should contact them directly to find out what services they cover.
Health insurance for non-EU students
NHL Stenden purchases health insurance on your behalf for your first year of enrolment, through AON – one of the larger health insurance providers in the Netherlands.
After the first year you are responsible to purchase your own health insurance.
What if you get sick?
If you require medical treatment, you must contact a general practitioner (huisarts). You will need to make an appointment by telephone to consult the doctor at his or her practice first. You must bring your EU Health Insurance Card or other proof of insurance with you.
If you need to see a physiotherapist or other specialised medical practitioner, you will also need to go through your GP first. Although your GP can refer you to a medical specialist, general practitioners in the Netherlands are generally your main source of medical care. Their level of responsibility and the treatment they administer extends beyond that in many other countries. In many cases, they will attempt to treat the problem themselves and refer you only if they are unable to do so.
It is important to know that you can only visit a GP in your place of residence. You will also need to register with a dentist – this is a separate process but works much the same way.