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Working in EuropeUnemploymentNetherlands

Social security


The Netherlands has an extensive social security system, which provides financial security when ones income is affected by health challenges, job loss or old age. Below you can find information on the different social insurance schemes, whether you are covered by them and whether you are paying money for them.

In the Netherlands there is a division within the social security system between the general national insurance schemes and the income related employee insurance schemes. Furthermore, there are several other social provisions which might be relevant for you. Whether or not you fall within any one of these schemes depends on your situation. Here you can read more about each scheme.

National insurance schemes

Every Dutch citizen-resident and nearly all foreign employees employed in the Netherlands are covered by these National Insurance Schemes. However, if you do research on a stipend, you might not fall under these schemes.

A distinction is made between national insurances and employee insurances. National insurances are available independently of whether you are employed or not, When you live in the Netherlands temporarily and are not working here as an employee, you will not be covered by these national insurance schemes. There are provisions for (Dutch abbreviation are in brackets for easy reference):

  • The elderly, namely the State pension (AOW)
  • Surviving dependents (ANW) - which provides for widows, widowers and dependent children who have lost one or both parents 
  • Childcare - Child benefit 
  • Long-term Care (Wlz) and
  • Disabilities (Wajong, IOAW, IOAZ)

These insurances are paid from the social security contributions. However, when you do not have any income, you might still be covered by these schemes. You can read about all schemes available on the website of the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB), which is the Dutch agency for social insurances.

Employee Insurance Schemes

Eventualities which are work related and which can affect one’s income, are covered under employee insurance schemes. Nearly all Dutch employees will be covered by these Employee Insurance Schemes. Note: you will only be covered by these schemes if you are employed. When you do research on a stipend and without an employment contract, you are not taking part in these employee insurance schemes. These schemes provide cover for income fall due to:

  • Unemployment (WW),
  • Accidents at work - occupational disability (WIA) 
  • Illness (ZW) 
  • Adoption and Childbirth (WAZO) 

The employee insurance scheme contributions are paid for both by your employer and yourself. On your pay slip you can see how much of your gross salary you contribute to these schemes. The responsible Ministry for social insurances is the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. Their page on social insurances is currently only available in Dutch.


Do you live in the Netherlands and do you have healthcare insurance, a rented house or children? In some cases, you may be entitled to a contribution towards the costs for the Dutch healthcare insurance, a rented house or childcare or other expenses for children up to 18 years old. Such contribution is called benefits ('toeslagen' in Dutch.

You can apply for a benefit using the ‘Mijn toeslagen’ website, for which you require a DigiD. You can also call the Tax Information Line on 0800 0543 from The Netherlands or +31 555 385 385 from another country. They can help you and make an appointment to apply for the benefit together. We strongly advise to contact a tax advisor before you apply for a benefit, as it is easy to make a mistake, which can result in having to pay back large amounts of money.

For which benefits can you be elidgable:

  • Healthcare benefits, to compensate people with lower incomes for the costs of healthcare insurance - (zorgtoeslag)
  • Rent Benefit, to compensate people with lower incomes for the rental of their living accommodation (huurtoeslag)
  • Childcare benefits, to compensate for the cost of childcare facilities (kinderopvangtoeslag)
  • Children benefit, for people with children up to 18 years old (kindgebonden budget)

You can read about these benefits on the website of the Dutch Tax authority about moving to the Netherlands or the one about benefits