When you first came to the Netherlands, you probably heard people say that you need health insurance. Is this true? What is a health insurance and why we need it? Here are some tips to help you.

Health insurance rules and policies

Health insurance is compulsory for all people who live or work in the Netherlands. It is not mandatory to get a Dutch insurance if you are a student. Most people do not get one during their stay in the Netherlands. You can use your home-country insurance, but be sure to know what is covered abroad, since special treatments or consultations might not be covered and you might need to pay them in advance. However, if you work you have to subscribe to a Dutch insurance. (An internship is considered as a ‘job’ so you will probably be asked to be insured).


What do I need to get an insurance?

There is a fundamental requirement to getting an insurance: having a BSN number. If you choose to get an insurance, there are many insurance companies available, and you will probably feel a bit lost amongst all the options. No worries, there are free websites that compare insurance policies for you based on your preferences. We would suggest having a look at Zorgwijzer (in English) or Independer (in Dutch).

Now that I have an insurance what is next?

After getting an insurance, you need to register with a General Practitioner (‘huisarts’). However, if you are sick and need to see a doctor, you can register to a GP even without a Dutch insurance. Once you have a GP, you can easily schedule an appointment to discuss any health issues you may have. If you need a specific examination you should first liaise with your doctor, who will then refer you to the right specialist, clinic or hospital. We would suggest choosing a GP closer to where you live.

What if I need more help?

We hope this guide helped you to understand how the health system works. If you need more assistance, several free expat services can help you. Otherwise, ask your (ISN) friends already living here!