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Healthcare in the Netherlands

On this page you will find information on the healthcare access you're entitled to and how to get it whether you're:

  • moving to, or already living in the Netherlands (including students)
  • visiting the Netherlands, for example on holiday

Your options for accessing healthcare in the Netherlands may change if there is a no-deal Brexit. You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances if you are moving to, visiting or living in the Netherlands.

Living in the Netherlands after Brexit

You should be ready for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there is a no-deal Brexit and you are a UK national living in Netherlands.

You should review your access to healthcare now. There may be a gap or permanent change in how you access healthcare if there is no deal and no agreements with the Netherlands in place. For example, if you are a current S1 form holder, or a posted worker or student using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you will not be able to rely on these to access your healthcare.

You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances and consider:

  • registering to live in the Netherlands
  • registering for healthcare under the local rules and legislation of the Netherlands
  • buying comprehensive health insurance while you are applying for residency or if you are not eligible for local schemes

Make sure you have all the right documentation and it is up to date.

If you are living in the Netherlands, you must contribute to the statutory health insurance scheme to be entitled to the same healthcare as Dutch nationals. It is a legal requirement for you to have basic statutory health insurance, and you must take this out within 4 months of arriving in the Netherlands.

You should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK if you are living in the Netherlands and are not currently eligible for a UK-issued S1 form or EHIC. You should take out appropriate travel insurance when visiting the UK, as you would when visiting any other country.

You may use NHS services in England, Scotland and Wales without charge when visiting the UK after exit day if you are living in the Netherlands before exit day and you:

If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test you will be able to access NHS care without charge.

Visiting the Netherlands after Brexit

You should prepare for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there is a no-deal Brexit and you are a UK national travelling to the Netherlands.

UK-issued EHICs will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

Your EHIC may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with the Netherlands and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare cover to ensure you can get any treatment you might need. If you have any pre-existing health conditions, talk to your GP and insurer about how to get the right cover, and how this affects your travel.

This guide will be updated when there is more information on travelling to or living in the Netherlands after Brexit.

Healthcare in the Netherlands until the UK leaves the EU

Finding help in an emergency

If you have a serious or life-threatening emergency or you need an ambulance, call 112. This number is free of charge.

Visiting the Netherlands

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you're planning to visit the Netherlands. The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive travel insurance when going overseas.

Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

Emergency medical care is provided to anyone requiring urgent attention. You can expect to be charged in full for any care provided without an EHIC.

Your EHIC enables you to access necessary healthcare in the Netherlands. Even with an EHIC you might need to make a contribution to treatment.

If you require emergency hospital treatment you can use any hospital in the Netherlands.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork.

Pre-existing health conditions

You should buy medical travel insurance before visiting the Netherlands if you have a pre-existing condition.

You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have, so that you can get the cover you need.

If you have a pre-existing condition that will need treatment while abroad, ask your doctor in the UK for advice before you travel. Take any documents about your health condition or medicine with you.

Your EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

Your EHIC may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with the Netherlands and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

If you are travelling to have planned medical treatment, read our guide to seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Dentists

Most emergency departments or health centres have a dentist attached that can deal with dental emergencies. Some of the costs will be covered by a valid EHIC.

Hospitals

You'll need to be referred by a doctor for any non-emergency hospital treatment and you will need a valid EHIC. Both public and private hospitals must accept a valid EHIC.

You do not have to provide travel insurance details unless you choose to do so.

Prescriptions

You will be charged for the cost of the medicine, in addition to a service cost, when collecting prescriptions.

There are handling costs for every prescription, and costs for the counselling conversation with each new medicine. The level of these costs varies per pharmacy, per medicine and per time. Usually the initial rate is about €12, but this amount may vary.

Pensioners will have to declare they receive a UK State Pension to pay a lower contribution.

Bringing your own medicines to the Netherlands

Some prescribed medicines contain drugs that are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation in the UK. This means that additional legal controls apply to these medicines.

You may need a personal license to take controlled medicines abroad.

Specific requirements also apply to the information that you must take with you and how you carry your controlled medicines.

Visit GOV.UK for more information about travelling with controlled medicines.

Living in the Netherlands

You must have health insurance if you live or are employed by a company based in the Netherlands.

It is a legal requirement for you to have basic statutory health insurance, and you must take this out within 4 months of arriving in the Netherlands.

If you don't have basic statutory health insurance, you risk incurring high fines imposed by the Central Administration Office (CAK) and serious financial trouble if in need of medical care.

Most people take out voluntary supplementary insurance to cover healthcare over and above the universal system.

Medical care in the Netherlands is not free of charge. However, the costs of many types of care are reimbursed under the statutory healthcare insurance.

S1 certificate

The same rules apply for both pensioners and non-pensioners.

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in the Netherlands and receive:

  • an exportable UK State Pension
  • a contribution-based Employment Support Allowance
  • another exportable benefit

If you are eligible, apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

An S1 certificate helps you and your dependants access healthcare in the Netherlands. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

You may be eligible for an S1 certificate, if you:

  • receive certain UK benefits, such as a UK State Pension
  • are employed by a UK body or firm (you are a posted or frontier worker)
  • are a dependant of someone who has an S1 certificate

You can apply for an S1 certificate through the Business Services Authority.

If you receive a UK State Pension, you can apply for your certificate via the Overseas Healthcare Service on +44 (0) 191 218 1999 (option 5).

Yiour S1 certificate may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with the Netherlands and may mean you have to pay in full for treatment.

It is possible to apply for an S1 certificate until the UK leaves the EU. It is important to have all the right documentation and that it is up to date.

For other exportable benefits, you may need to contact a different team depending on the exportable benefit. You can find more information under Claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on GOV.UK. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

UK posted workers

If you are a worker posted by a UK company to the Netherlands, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in the country you are posted to.

You can find out more from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC):

Students in the Netherlands

If you are a UK resident studying in the Netherlands, your student EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

Your EHIC may not be valid after exit day if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with the Netherlands and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive insurance when going overseas. Your EHIC is not an alternative to insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

If you are under 30 and live in the Netherlands for study purposes only, you cannot enrol with a Dutch health insurer for basic health insurance, so you must obtain health insurance from the UK.

If you have a part-time job while completing your studies, you are required to have basic health insurance with a Dutch health insurer. This also applies for internships and volunteering.

Read more about healthcare when studying abroad.

For more information about healthcare when living abroad, read our guide on planning your healthcare when moving abroad.

Page last reviewed: 28 August 2019
Next review due: 28 August 2022