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.

Visitors to the Netherlands

Finding help in an emergency

If you find yourself in a serious, life-threatening emergency, you should call 112. This number is free of charge and for ambulance, police and fire brigade.

Be aware that if you ask a hotel or travel representative to call a doctor, you may be treated privately. If you wish to be treated under the state system you must call 112 and ask for an ambulance to take you to the nearest state hospital.

Healthcare up until the UK leaves the EU

Emergency medical care is provided to anyone requiring urgent attention. You can expect to be charged in full for any care provided without a EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). You should always buy enough travel insurance and make sure you have access to funding to cover any medical treatment abroad. Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any refund.

Currently, your EHIC enables you to access the necessary state-provided healthcare in the Netherlands. If you are asked to pay for health services upfront, it is likely that you are not being treated under the state system.

EHIC does not cover certain costs, including:

  • private treatment
  • being brought back to the UK
  • mountain rescue services
  • cruises

To receive state healthcare the provider must have a contract with the Zilveren Kruis health insurance company, which is the government contracted health insurer. The referring GP can check this.

Be careful if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. They might reassure visitors that they can claim back whatever is paid out, but they are referring to private insurance and not the treatment given under the EHIC.

Dutch health care insurance is not required for people visiting the Netherlands and eligible to use EHIC. Where an EHIC is not presented, an EU/EEA/Swiss national will be charged for services used and can claim a refund for invoices from their home country’s system. Even with EHIC it may be necessary to make a contribution to treatment.

Provisional replacement certificate (PRC)

A PRC is a certificate demonstrating a person's entitlement to EHIC. If you need healthcare but do not have your EHIC with you, you can call Overseas Healthcare Services and ask them to send a PRC to show to the hospital. This will avoid you being directly charged.

Contact Overseas Healthcare Services:

UK: 0191 218 1999
Outside UK: +44 191 218 1999
(Open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, UK time)

People with pre-existing health conditions

If you have a pre-existing health condition, you should buy medical travel insurance before visiting the Netherlands. You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have, to make sure you can get the cover you need. If you have an EHIC, this will be valid until the UK leaves the EU but may not work after that.

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

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

Dentists

Dental treatment is not covered by the state healthcare system unless it's an emergency. Most emergency departments or health centres have a dentist attached that can deal with dental emergencies.

Hospitals

Just like in the UK, you'll need to be referred by a doctor for any hospital treatment. Make sure you are referred to a public hospital as only these provide treatment free of charge. Even in a state hospital you will need a valid EHIC. Double check you are not treated as a private patient.

In the state healthcare system, you have the right to insist your EHIC is accepted. 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.

When using your EHIC, people of working age are charged 50% and pensioners are charged about 10%. Pensioners will have to declare they receive a UK State Pension in order to pay the lower rate.

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 extra legal controls apply to these medicines.

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

Specific requirements also apply to:

  • the information that you must take with you
  • how you carry your controlled medicines

You can visit the GOV.UK website for more information about travelling with controlled medicines.

After the UK leaves the EU

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, your access to healthcare when visiting the Netherlands is likely to change. If you are planning to visit the Netherlands after the UK leaves the EU, you should continue to buy travel insurance so you can get the healthcare treatment you need, just as you would if visiting a non-EU country. If you are using an EHIC issued by the UK, this will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

The UK government is seeking agreements with countries, including the Netherlands, on healthcare arrangements for UK nationals after the UK leaves the EU.

If you intend to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 90 days, you must apply for a temporary residence permit once in the Netherlands. To be provided with a temporary residence permit you must be able to demonstrate you have sufficient resources in place, such as an employment contract within the Netherlands.

This guide will be updated with further information on travelling to the Netherlands as the circumstances change.

Working in the Netherlands

Healthcare up until the UK leaves the EU

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

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.

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.

Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for more details:

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

  • Telephone: 0300 200 3500
  • Outside UK: +44 191 203 7010

Opening times: 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday – closed weekends and bank holidays.

For more information, see Planning your healthcare when moving abroad.

After the UK leaves the EU

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 must seek permission from your health insurer to receive planned treatments.

If you are a UK posted worker, you may need to buy additional healthcare insurance in the Netherlands so you can receive the healthcare treatment you need.

Pensioners in the Netherlands

Healthcare up until the UK leaves the EU

If you are a pensioner, the same rules apply as for non-pensioners.

If you live in the Netherlands and receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

You may need to liaise with a different team, depending on the exportable benefit. Further information is available under Claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on the GOV.UK website. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

S1 certificate (formerly known as E106)

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

After this date, the certificate may not be valid, depending on decisions by member states.

You should continue to apply for an S1 certificate until the UK leaves the EU.

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

  • have worked and paid contributions in the UK
  • receive some UK benefits such as pensions

Apply through the Business Services Authority for an S1 certificate.

For exportable UK pensions and contribution-based Employment Support Allowance, you can apply for your certificate via the International Pension Centre in the Department for Work and Pensions on 0191 218 7777.

Further information is available under Claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on the GOV.UK website. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides information about what UK and Dutch benefits are available to Britons living in the Netherlands and information on driving regulations in the Netherlands.

After the UK leaves the EU

In the event of no deal on 31 October 2019, the Dutch government announced on 7 January in its letter to parliament that UK nationals who have a right of residence in the Netherlands on 31 October can stay. A national transition scheme takes effect from 31 October 2019 to 1 July 2020.

Under this transition scheme, UK nationals retain their rights to live, work and study in the Netherlands. This also applies if you are a family member of a UK national who does not have another EU citizenship.

If this applies to you, and you are registered in the Personal Records Database of the municipality of where you live, you should have received a letter from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). The letter acts as a temporary residence permit. After the transition period you will need a new national residence permit.

UK nationals who wish to move to the Netherlands after the UK has left the EU will be able to apply for a residence permit for third-country nationals.

Up to date information is provided on the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) website.

Students in the Netherlands

If you are a UK resident and studying in the Netherlands, and you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), this will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

You should continue to buy insurance to cover your healthcare, as you would if you were visiting a non-EU country after the UK leaves the EU.

If you are a student in the Netherlands, the educational institution you attend will apply for a residence permit on your behalf. The educational institution can only submit a residence permit application for you if they are recognised as a sponsor by the IND.

To obtain a residence permit for study, you must:

  • be enrolled for a full-time day course at an educational institution that is recognised as a sponsor
  • have enough money for at least 1 year's maintenance
  • be insured against medical expenses in the Netherlands

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 (volunteer) part-time job while completing your studies, you are required to have basic health insurance with a Dutch health insurer. This does not apply for internships.

After you have recently completed your studies you may be able to apply for a work permit before receiving a job offer.

Page last reviewed: 28/01/2019
Next review due: 28/01/2022