Healthcare in Netherlands

The attractive lifestyle and welcoming locals of the Netherlands have made it a popular expat destination in recent years. The country also has a reputation for having one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Facilities are of an incredibly high standard across the board and expats have access to highly qualified and well-trained medical professionals in both the public and private healthcare systems.

The Dutch healthcare system provides a combination of services, with long-term illnesses and treatments covered by taxes, while short-term issues are generally paid for by mandatory private health insurance.

Expat Protect plans have been designed for expats and local residents in France, Benelux or Monaco.  They can be purchased as a top-up health insurance or purchased as full cover.

Everybody who lives and works in the Netherlands is required to contribute towards health insurance on an income-based tax system. This insurance must be applied for within four months of arriving in the country.

Public insurance is separated into two different schemes. The first of these schemes covers GP visits, emergencies and hospitalisation, while the second covers long-term treatment and nursing.

All permanent residents, as well as anyone employed and paying income tax in the Netherlands, have access to public health insurance.

While the country’s excellent public healthcare system provides basic services, taking out private international health insurance will provide expats with more comprehensive options when it comes to specialist treatments. These include a wider range of rehabilitation and maternity-care programmes, more extensive dental treatments, and extended physiotherapy sessions, among others.

When using the private healthcare system expats will also have immediate access to treatments and health professionals, avoiding the long waiting lists typical of state-run institutions.

It is crucial that expats planning to make use of this system take out comprehensive private health insurance to cover the exorbitant costs of private healthcare.

Pharmacies (apotheek) are easily found in the Netherlands, providing both prescription and non-prescription drugs. While most follow standard operating hours, roughly from 9am to 5pm, there are also 24-hour pharmacies in urban centres.

Expats should be sure to note the generic names of any chronic medication they will be using in the Netherlands, as brand names often vary from country to country.

There aren’t any significant health hazards in the Netherlands. It’s recommended that expats get all routine vaccinations such as those for measles, mumps, rubella and diphtheria, as well as for Covid-19, before arriving in the Netherlands. Annual flu vaccinations are also recommended.

In an emergency, expats can dial 112 for the European emergency line, which will connect them to both English and Dutch-speaking operators. Calls are free, and connects to the fire department, police and ambulance services.

Emergency services in the Netherlands are generally efficient and reliable. Medical staff tend to be well-trained and professional, and expats are likely to find that most medical professionals speak a high level of English.