During your stay in the Netherlands you must make sure you are adequately insured, both for your health and other risks. Your host institution can advise you on which insurance to take out/bring. Here information is provided both on the health insurance system and on when you are adequately insured.
Find out which insurance applies to you
Health insurance flowchart (294.88 KB)
Mind: The flowchart doesn’t apply if you are posted or a crossborder worker.
Each country has it’s own way of dealing with unexpected or unpleasant costs. The Netherlands has a highly developed insurance culture, in which everyone is expected to be appropriately insured. Nuffic has developed the insurance checklist to provide students and researchers an insight into the possible costs you might want to be insured for.
Employees posted by their employer to an organisation in the Netherlands are often covered by the health insurance scheme of the country of their employer. This is not always the case and it depends on if there is a social security treaty between the other country and the Netherlands. Download our factsheet on coverage by insurance bought abroad for more information. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for, please contact SVB – International secondment.
If you work in the Netherland and you live in another EU/EEA country, you are covered by the Dutch health insurance. This means that the social insurance scheme applies to you in the country where you work and it covers you in the country where you live. This rule also applies to you if you work in the Netherlands and in another EU/EEA countries. To be sure about which rules apply to your situation, it is advisable to check the Social Insurance Bank (SVB) for more detailed information about which rules apply to you as an international secondment.
You will participate in the Dutch public healthcare insurance if you fall under the Dutch social security - either through being employed by a Dutch employer or through having the centre of your social, economic and cultural life in the Netherlands (ordinarily resident).
If you do, you are obliged to take out a Dutch public healthcare insurance within 4 months after you arrived in the Netherlands. If you do not, you have to make other insurance arrangements.
The Dutch public healthcare insurance system consists of three tiers: basic, additional and exceptional medical care. For the basic and additional medical care an insurance policy needs to be taken out (obligatory for the basic and voluntary for the additional medical care). Exceptional medical care covers costs such as long lasting nursery care. For the exceptional medical care (Wlz) you will automatically be insured if you meet the criteria.
The basiszorgverzekering is a standard insurance which costs about 100€ per adult person. People with a lower income can apply for a healthcare allowance, which will compensate some of the costs. You might be able to find a discount scheme, perhaps through your employer.
Each individual needs to take out his or her own insurance policy, this also applies to children, although they participate for free until they are 18 years old).
The basic medical care insurance covers most of the basic healthcare costs. Such as:
- medical care which includes care provided by general practitioners, medical specialists and obstetricians
- hospital treatment
- dental care up to the age of 18
- postnatal care
- limited physiotherapy, exercise therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and dietary advice
Healthcare insurers also offer supplementary packages to cover the cost of additional healthcare, these supplementary packages differ per insurance company.
Finding a suitable insurance
Although it is a public healthinsurance scheme, the insurance policies are provided by private insurance companies. Each company offers a slightly different package and competes on different service levels. They cannot cut on the minimum coverage, so that will be provided with every insurer. Things to look out for:
- Own risk component - which 'eigen risico' (Dutch for 'own risk') will suit you. Again there is a legally obliged minimum own risk of around 300€. Insurance companies tend to offer you the choice between an even higher 'own risk' with a lower monthly premium, or a the minimum 'own risk' with a higher monthly premium.
- Take time to understand the additional healthcare insurance offers.
- Find out if they offer any service in English as well (not only basic information, but also declaration forms etc)
- Find out if you can get discount through an organisation. By law organisations, unions, clubs etc can be given up to 10% discount if they hook up with one insurance company.
- Find out what the rules are around traveling abroad and healthcare coverage. Most insurances now provide the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)automatically, but this is not always the case. This EHIC can make your life easier if you travel within Europe and find you need urgent medical treatment.
Be aware that a public healthcare insurance only covers medical expenses and repatriation costs back to the Netherlands. For other costs, such as repatriation back to your home country, or liability, you will need to take out an insurance with a different insurance company.
Useful websites for comparing prices are
If you are entitled to a Dutch public health insurance you also have the obligation to take out such an insurance. If you do not comply with this obligations you may be fined 130% of the monthly premium over each month you have not been insured, with a maximum of 5 years. ZiN will send you a letter stating that you ought to take out a Dutch public healthcare insurance, and if you fail to do so with the set term in the letter, they will fine you. Unfortunately sometimes people who are not allowed a Dutch public healthcare insurance also receive this letter. Always take action when you receive such letter.
If you are enrolled in the Dutch public health insurance, you are entitled to apply for a health care benefits zorgtoeslag, a financial contribution towards these costs for people with a lower income.
European citizens travelling within the European Economic Area (European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland, whether for private or professional reasons, have the right to be issued with a European Health Insurance Card by their public healthcare insurer. This new card simplifies the procedure for receiving any medical assistance that might become necessary during a temporary stay in another EU/EEA country.
You can apply for an EU Healthcard through your public healthcare insurer or other relevant authorities in your home country. The issuer of the card decides for how long you can use the card, i.e. if your stay abroad is still considered temporary.
Please note that, if you are employed in the Netherlands, you have the obligation to take out Dutch public healthcare insurance, even if you hold an EHIC.
When you have the Dutch public healthcare insurance and you want to travel abroad within Europe, you can apply for this EHIC card, to help you on your travels.
These insurance companies provide an insurance package including healthcare insurance, as well as liability insurance, accident insurance, theft insurance, travel insurance, repatriation insurance and legal aid insurance. They provide adequate healthcare cover and information in English. The latter is something that most Dutch healthcare insurance companies lack. The cost of the package is reasonable (about €45 per month).
Did you receive a letter from the National Health Care Institute (Zorginstituut Nederland)?
A lot of people in the Netherlands who do not have Dutch basic healthcare insurance have received or will receive a letter from the National Health Care institute. The letter states that according to Dutch law they will have to take out Dutch public healthcare insurance (basiszorgverzekering) immediately. Most likely this letter will also be sent to international researchers and knowledge migrants. If you receive this letter, it is important that you take action.
Always take action
If you receive this letter you should always take action, either by taking out Dutch public healthcare insurance or by asking the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB) to judge whether you are obliged to do so. If you do not take action, you will end up in an automatic fine procedure, from which it might be difficult to escape.
The letter from the National Health Care Institute will be in Dutch only.
On the Study in Holland website you can find more detailed information about the letter. Here you can also find a translation in English.
SVB decides on Wlz-status
The SVB decides who participates in the Wlz – a social security scheme covering extraordinary healthcare costs. If you are participating in the Wlz, you are also, by law, obliged to take out Dutch basic healthcare insurance. The Zorginstituut Nederland therefore relies on the SVB to decide on your situation.
Download a more detailed explanation (35 kB)
Download the English SVB form
SVB fine-tuning procedure for unpaid researchers
Perhaps you have received a decision of the SVB already and they have awarded you participation in the AWBZ, which you did not expect. Unfortunately, the specific circumstances of unpaid researchers and their social security participation have not been completely clear to all SVB-decision makers. EP-Nuffic has discussed these unexpected decisions with the SVB, who have agreed to fine-tune their procedure for unpaid researchers.
If you have been awarded Wlz participation against your expectations, you have the option to appeal against this decision within six weeks. Call the SVB, or better: send a letter that includes the word ‘bewaarschrift’ (notice of objection), your telephone number and details of your situation. It is especially helpful if you provide information about how your research position is financed.
- Schengen visa
Foreign nationals applying for a Schengen visa (entry visa to enter the Schengen area, including The Netherlands) must have travel insurance covering medical expenses for the entire duration of their stay in the Schengen area. The insurance policy must include repatriation on medical grounds, urgent medical care and emergency hospital treatment. Coverage must be provided up to at least €30,000. When collecting the visa, the travel insurance must be presented to the embassy or the consulate.
- MVV – provisional residence permit
No healthcare insurance is required when applying for a provisional residence permit (an entry visa preceding a residence permit, in Dutch abbreviated as MVV).
- Residence permit
Foreign nationals applying for a residence permit do not have to demonstrate that they have medical insurance. However, the residence permit will always be issued on condition that the bearer will take out health insurance at least within 4 four months. What type of health insurance is required or allowed, depends on the foreign national's individual situation.
- Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS)
The ministry responsible for the Dutch healthcare system.
- Zorginstituut Nederland (in Dutch)
The Zorginstituut Nederland coordinates the implementation and funding of the Zorgverzekeringswet (Health Care Insurance Act) and the AWBZ (Exceptional Medical Expenses Act).
- Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB)
The social insurance bank (SVB) is responsible for administrating certain social security benefits in the Netherlands. The SVB decide whether you are entitled to certain social security arrangement (such as AWBZ) and, consequently, they decide whether you are obliged to take out a public healthcare insurance.
- Bureau for Belgian Affairs – Bureau voor Belgische Zaken (SVB)
The Bureau for Belgian Affairs (BBZ) can tell you everything you need to know about Dutch-Belgian cross-border social security.
- Bureau for German Affairs – Bureau voor Duitse Zaken (SVB)
The Bureau for German Affairs (BDZ) can tell you everything you need to know about Dutch-German cross-border social security.
- Tax and Customs Administration
The healthcare allowance is administered by the Allowances department (in Dutch).
The Tax and Customs Administration also decide what constitutes a reasonable expense and what is a realistic training allowance. More information can be obtained from your local office.
Independent non-profit information centre on public healthcare insurance.
Private insurance broker offering insurance packages to researchers and students.
Private insurance broker offering insurance packages to researchers and students.
- Dutch healthcare insurers
Association of all Dutch healthcare insurers
- Health Insurance Information Center