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Country-by-country guide

Accessing healthcare in the Netherlands

Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS. This means you may have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care.

If you unexpectedly fall ill during a temporary stay in the Netherlands, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable you to access healthcare at reduced cost or sometimes free. It will cover you for treatment until you return to the UK. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, provided the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth.

If you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment, please see our section about seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Note: In addition to your EHIC, you may also be asked to present your passport or other travel documents as proof of identity.

Get the EHIC smartphone app

The European Commission has developed a useful multi-language free phone app, which explains how to use the EHIC card in different countries within the EU. It summarises the treatments, costs, procedure for reimbursement and emergency numbers.

Find help in emergencies

If you find yourself in a serious or life-threatening emergency or you need an ambulance, dial 112. Calls are free of charge. Ambulance services are not free of charge, so it is best to only call an ambulance if the patient is not in a fit state to go by car, taxi, bus or tram. An A&E department is called a "spoedeisende hulp". 

Other important phone numbers to note down:

  • 112 – police, ambulance, fire
  • 0900 8844 – national police in non-emergencies
  • 0900 0111 – sea rescue/coastguard (you can also visit the Netherlands coastguard website for information provided in English)
  • 020 592 335 – Amsterdam: Tourist Medical Service (ATAS) 
  • 020 694 8709 – find a duty pharmacy in Amsterdam: a list of 24-hour pharmacies is also displayed in chemist windows and in free local newspapers under "medische diensten" (medical assistance)
  • 035 6928222 – central doctor's service (Centrale Doktersdienst) for urgent medical advice (open evenings, weekends and public holidays)

TipMake a note of useful Dutch phrases for emergencies below, or look up medical terminology in Dutch.

 

  • Call an ambulance – Bel een ambulance
  • Call the police – Roep/ bel de politie
  • Call the fire brigade – Roep/ bel de brandweer
  • Call a doctor – Haal een dokter
  • I am ill – Ik ben ziek

   

Health services and costs

EHIC: visiting the Netherlands short-term

Your EHIC does not cover private treatment. However, healthcare providers in the Netherlands are all private entities and all Dutch residents have to take out a basic level of health insurance.

If you are visiting the Netherlands short-term then your EHIC will cover you for emergency treatment no matter the provider. But, if you need to see a GP or you are referred to hospital by a GP then you need to check that you are referred to a provider that has a contract with the Zilveren Kruis Health insurance company, which is the government contracted health insurer. Check with the referring GP or contact the Zilveren Kruis before you make an appointment, simply email gbr@zilverenkruis.nl or call 0031 71 364 18 50 for advice.

Even with the EHIC you may have to pay for your treatment in advance or make patient contributions (co-payments). The Zilveren Kruis may only be able to reimburse you for part of the treatment. Also, since July 1 2014, you can no longer be reimbursed for patient co-payments made abroad once you go back to the UK.  

To claim a reimbursement with the Zilvern Kruis send the original bill, a copy of your EHIC and your bank details to:

Zilveren Kruis
Groep Buitenlands Recht
Postbus 650
7300 AR Apledoorn

Ensured under the Dutch Health Insurance Act - living in the Netherlands

If you move to the Netherlands long-term or plan to work in the country, you'll have to take out at least a basic level of health insurance (basisverzekering). This is a legal requirement and failure to do so will lead to a fine. For more detailed information about the Dutch healthcare system, visit the Government of the Netherlands website.

TipYou can find more practical advice on the Health Insurance Information Centre website (Zorgverzekering Informatie Centrum). The Zorgverzekeringslijn website also offers specific guidance for people coming to work or study in the Netherlands (information on both sites is available in English).

Doctors and dentists

If it's not an emergency, you'll have to make an appointment before you can see a GP (huisarts) or dentist (tandarts). Most hotels have a GP or dentist they can refer you to. If you are staying with friends or family, you are advised to contact their family GP or dentist.

If you are using you EHIC check that the GP or dentist has a contract with the Zilveren Kruis before you make the appointment. 

If you move the Netherlands and are insured under the Dutch healthcare system then you need to register with a GP or dentist first before you can make an appointment.  

TipYou can find local GPs through the Centrale Doktersdienst helpline. The helpline is open on evenings, weekends and bank holidays. Simply dial 035 6928222. Alternatively, do a postcode search online for GPs (huisarts) and dentists (tandarts) on the Care map website (information in Dutch only).

The GP is the gate keeper of the system. Like in the UK, you need a GP referral for hospital or specialist treatment. Reimbursement of specialist care will therefore not take place without this referral. GPs can also perform small surgical procedures, basic mental health care and consult a specialist to avoid unnecessary visits to hospital. 

Medical specialist care

Hospitals are called "ziekenhuis" in the Netherlands. Emergency treatment at hospital is covered by your EHIC.

For planned medical specialist care, you'll need a referral from your GP, dentist, midwife or other specialist. Specialist care includes care provided by a specialist in his or her practice or care provided in a hospital’s outpatients department. Specialist care also includes medical care provided by a specialist during a hospital admission. The associated costs will be reimbursed if it’s necessary for you to be admitted to hospital during your stay in the Netherlands.

When you're admitted to a hospital, you'll need to present either a valid EHIC or your GP referral with proof of your health insurance to receive treatment at the same cost as a resident. Again, if you've been referred using your EHIC, ensure the hospital has a contract with the Zilveren Kruis.

TipThe website mediLexicon has a directory that lets you search for hospitals and health clinics in the Netherlands. Alternatively, you can download a list with some medical facilities and practitioners in the Netherlands from GOV.UK.

Prescriptions

Pharmacies are called "apotheek" in Dutch. Generally, people take their prescription to a pharmacy located near their GP, as residents are expected to also register at the pharmacy with their contact details and insurance information. If the pharmacy has a contract with your insurer, you won't have to pay for your prescription directly.

However, you have the right to take your prescription to any pharmacy you like, even if you are not registered with them.

If you are using your EHIC, then you will only be reimbursed for medication (such as tablets and ointments) you will need during your stay in the Netherlands and which have been prescribed by a Dutch doctor. You may sometimes need to pay your own contribution too. This may apply, for example, when a product is available which costs less, but which will provide the same results. Ask your pharmacist to confirm whether you will be reimbursed for the item.

TipPharmacists are able to give advice for minor complaints. Opening hours vary, but the address of the nearest out-of-hours pharmacy will be indicated on the door. You can also call 020 694 8709 to find on-duty pharmacies.

If you need to bring your medicine with you from the UK to the Netherlands then special rules may apply. You can find some guidance on the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands website. General information about bringing medicines with you on a plane at UK airports is provided on GOV.UK.

Making healthcare arrangements in advance

Although your EHIC covers the provision of oxygen, renal dialysis and routine medical care, you'll have to arrange and pre-book medical treatment before you travel. You should always consult your GP or hospital before travelling. Also ensure you are not booked with a private healthcare provider, as these are not covered by the EHIC. Check with the healthcare provider in the Netherlands that they are contracted with the Zilveren Kruis health insurance company before you make further arrangements. Alternatively, contact the Zilveren Kruis for advice either via email gbr@zilverenkruis.nl or by phone 0031 71 364 18 50.

Oxygen therapy

Ensure your EHIC is valid before you travel. In most cases you will have to use the authorised oxygen company for the country you are travelling to. You’ll also have to make your own arrangements, including arranging for permission from your hotel to deliver and install the equipment. There may also be additional costs that the EHIC will not cover. Since July 1 2014, you can also no longer be reimbursed for patient co-payments once you go back to the UK. Ensure you have a sufficient level of private insurance before going abroad.

Your home oxygen supplier is not required to provide a service outside the UK, however, most suppliers will be able to advise you on what to do. Your oxygen treatment clinic will organise your home oxygen supply from one of these suppliers:

Air Liquide: Call them on:

  • 0808 143 9991 for London
  • 0808 143 9992 for North West
  • 0808 143 9993 for East Midlands
  • 0808 143 9999 for South West

Baywater Healthcare: covers Yorkshire and Humberside, West Midlands and Wales. Call them on 0800 373 580. For more information visit the Baywater Healthcare website.

BOC: covers the East and North East of England. Call them on 0800 136 603.

Dolby Vivisol: covers the South of England. Call them on 0500 823 773.

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) may have additional oxygen contacts for the country you are travelling to. Its website offers general advice about how to make travel arrangements, including advice on travelling abroad with a lung condition.

Ensure you allow plenty of time to make all your arrangements before you travel.

Dialysis

You will need to speak to the co-ordinator in your UK dialysis unit, who will contact the dialysis unit in the Netherlands nearest to where you will be staying. You can also look up UK renal units on The Renal Association website.

TipEnsure you make arrangements according to your UK schedule. There also may be different guidance depending on what type of dialysis you receive. Make sure you speak to your doctor before you travel. 

The National Kidney Federation offers general advice about travelling with a kidney disease, as well as specific guidance for haemodialysis patients, peritoneal dialysis patients and transplant patients.

Read more advice about travelling with other conditions:

Living in the Netherlands

If you move to the Netherlands long-term to take up residence or plan to work in the country, you'll have to make sure to take out private basic health insurance (basisverzekering) within the first four months. Health insurance companies have the obligation to accept anyone eligible to take out the basic health insurance, regardless of any pre-existing conditions. Your basic insurance will ensure that you are covered for general medical care by specialists, GPs and midwives, hospital care, medicines, curative mental health care, care by a community nurse, care for sensory disabilities and dental cover for children up to the age of 18. Prices start from €80 per month. For more information about Dutch health insurance, visit the Government of the Netherlands website.

TipYou can find more practical advice on the Health Insurance Information Centre website (Zorgverzekering Informatie Centrum). The Zorgverzekeringslijn website offers specific guidance for people coming to work the Netherlands (information on both sites is available in English). GOV.UK also provides some guidance for British nationals living in Netherlands.

Working in the Netherlands

If you are a worker seconded to the Netherlands or the family member of someone making UK National Insurance contributions, your employer should contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for the following forms:

  • A1 (previously E101) – this will show that NI contributions are paid in the UK
  • S1 (previously E106 or E109) – this will give you and your family the same medical cover as Dutch residents

Note: Ensure when you submit the forms that you mention relevant family members and dependants. You'll still have to arrange for basic health insurance cover with a Dutch health insurance company.

National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1AN
United Kingdom

  • Telephone: 0300 200 3506
  • Outside UK: +44 191 203 7010
  • Opening times: 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday - closed weekends and bank holidays

For more information, visit the Working abroad section.

Pensioners

If you are living in the Netherlands and you receive a UK state pension, or any other benefit that can be paid to you when you move abroad (exportable benefit), you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You'll need to apply for form S1 (a certificate of entitlement) from the International Pension Centre on 0191 218 7777. Once issued, register the S1 form with the authorities before you register with your local GP surgery.

Once you have registered your S1 in the Netherlands, you will be entitled to apply for and use a UK-issued EHIC to access state-funded necessary medical treatment when you visit other EEA countries outside The Netherlands, including when you return to the UK.

Early retirees

Since July 1 2014, you are no longer able to apply for a residual S1 form.
If you already have a residual S1, this will not affect you – it will continue to be valid until its original expiry date. Read more about the new rules

Studying in the Netherlands

If you are going to the Netherlands to study or you are currently studying in the Netherlands as part of a UK recognised course, you may be entitled to healthcare paid for by the UK government.

The Zorgverzekeringslijn website offers specific guidance for people coming to study in the Netherlands (information is available in English).

The Health Insurance Information Centre website also offers detailed information for international students in the Netherlands, including advice about how working alongside your studies or doing internships could affect your health insurance in the Netherlands. The information is provided in English.

More general advice about Studying abroad and Student health can be found on NHS Choices.

Comments

Page last reviewed: 15/07/2015

Next review due: 15/07/2017

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