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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. In some cases, you may be able to ask for a refund when you are back in the UK.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable you to access public healthcare provided in the Netherlands at a reduced cost, or sometimes for 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.

Note: You may be asked to present your passport or other travel document as proof of identity.

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 from pay phones. 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.

Tip

An A&E department is called a "spoedeisende hulp". First aid is called "eerste hulp bij ongelukken (EHBO)".

The Noodsituaties (emergency situations) website has practical information in English on what to do in a variety of crisis situations, including a leaflet on What to do in an emergency (PDF, 497kb).

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 – Tourist Medical Service (ATAS)
  • 020 694 8709 – find a duty pharmacy: a list of 24-hour pharmacies is also displayed in chemist windows and in free local newspapers under "medische diensten" (medical assistance)
  • 020 592 3434 – 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 de politie
  •             Call the fire brigade           Roep de brandweer
  •             Call a doctor                     Haal een dokter
  •             I am ill                              Ik ben ziek

   

Health services and costs

Your EHIC does not cover private treatment, so make sure you are treated by a state-funded healthcare provider. Some healthcare providers offer both public and private care in the Netherlands. You should be particularly careful if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. Any costs incurred for private healthcare are non-refundable.

TipRemember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed to apply for a refund or reimbursement.

If you move to the Netherlands long-term or plan to work in the country, you'll have to take out at least a base 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.

You can also find more practical advice on the Health Insurance Information Centre website. Information is available in English.

Doctors and dentists

If there is no emergency, you'll have to make an appointment first before you can see a doctor (huisarts) or dentist (tandarts). Most hotels have a doctor or dentist they can refer you to. If you are staying with friends or family, you are advised to contact their family doctor or dentist.

As in the UK, residents have to register with a GP in advance before they are able to make an appointment. The same rule applies to dentists. However, in most cases it's also possible to register after receiving your first treatment.

TipYou can find local GPs through the Centrale Doktersdienst helpline. The helpline is open on evenings, weekends and bank holidays. Simply dial 020 592 3434.

Alternatively, do a postcode search online for GPs (huisarts) and dentists (tandart) on the Care map website (information in Dutch only).

Hospital treatment

Hospitals are called "ziekenhuis" in the Netherlands. Just like in the UK, you'll need a referral from a doctor for non-emergency hospital treatment.

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.

TipThe website Hospitals Worldwide has a directory of all hospitals and health clinics in the Netherlands.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Air Liquid: 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

Air Products: covers Yorkshire and Humberside, West Midlands and Wales. Call them on 0800 373 580.

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. Their website offers general advice about how to make travel arrangements, including advice on:

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 website 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 and/or working in the Netherlands

If you move to the Netherlands long-term or plan to work in the country, you'll have to make sure to take out a basic health insurance (basisverzekering) within the first four months. Basic insurance will ensure that you are covered for general medical care by specialists, GPs and midwives, hospital care, medicines, certain mental health care and dental cover for children up to the age of 21. Prices start from €80 per month. For more information about Dutch health insurance, visit the Government of the Netherlands website.

TipLocal health insurance offices will have the most up-to-date information about insurance providers (zorgverzekeraars). They can also help you find GPs and dentists in your area. Visit the Keuze.nl website and search for local healthcare insurance providers (information in Dutch only).

You may also find practical advice on the Health Insurance Information Centre website. Information is available in English.

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 tax and 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

HMRC
Charity, Assets and Residence
Room BP1301
Benton Park View
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ

For more information, visit the Working abroad section.

TipFor more advice, read about working conditions on the Government of the Netherlands website. 

In addition, workers and civil servants posted to the Netherlands normally remain covered by the UK's National Insurance system. Your employer should contact HMRC for the following forms:

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

HMRC
Charity, Assets and Residence
Room BP1301
Benton Park View
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ

Pensioners

If you are receiving a UK state retirement pension or are in receipt of long-term incapacity benefit, you may be entitled to state-funded healthcare paid for by the UK. You'll need to apply for form S1 (a certificate of entitlements) with the International Pension Centre. Telephone +44 (0)191 218 7777 or Textphone +44 (0)191 218 7280, Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm, or email tvp.internationalqueries@thepensionservice.gsi.gov.uk

Early retirees

If you are an early retiree and have recently made National Insurance contributions in the UK, contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0)191 218 1999 to see if you are entitled to a residual S1 form (previously E106) for a limited time.

TipThe Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides useful information on which UK and Dutch benefits are available to Britons who live in the Netherlands.

Once you have registered your S1 in the Netherlands, you'll be entitled to a UK-issued EHIC, allowing you to access state-funded necessary medical treatment when you visit other EEA countries besides the one in which you are resident, including when you return to the UK.

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 Health Insurance Information Centre website 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.

Find out more about Studying abroad and Student health.

Seeking treatment in the Netherlands

If you travel to the Netherlands with the specific purpose of obtaining medical treatment, you must have an E112 or S2 form issued by NHS England.

For more information, see our section on Seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Comments

Page last reviewed: 30/07/2013

Next review due: 30/07/2015

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