The standard of healthcare in Netherlands is reasonably high and probably one of the best in Europe.
The following article gives a brief overview of healthcare situation in the Netherlands - from taking out health insurance, finding a doctor and dentist to seeking alternative and complementary treatment.
Health Insurance in the Netherlands
If you are coming to live permanently in the Netherlands then it is obligatory to have a basic Dutch health insurance (basisverzekering) policy - even if you already have private medical insurance from a non-Dutch company such as BUPA. You must take out health insurance within 4 months of your arrival. Before getting insurance you will first need to register with the local council (gemeente) and get a Burger Service Nummer (BSN, the Dutch fiscal number).
The cost of basic Dutch medical insurance is around €100-120 per month for all adults regardless of age and state of health. In addition there is an income related premium paid by employers and the self-employed. Those on lower incomes can get a rebate or subsidy. Children under 18 do not pay for health insurance.
You can choose a Dutch insurance company to provide you with health insurance for a calender year. Monthly premiums are fixed until the year end when you are free to find another policy or provider. The following are some Dutch insurance companies which offer the standard health insurance:
Achmea ZilverenKruis (zilverenkruis.nl)
Note: you may need a Dutch speaker to help you navigate Dutch insurance company websites, only Anderzorg, ZilverenKruis and CZ seems to have a decent amount of info in English. If you have a job in the Netherlands it could be your employer has negotiated a discount with an insurance provider.
The standard insurance policy will cover GP visits, general medical care, paramedic, ambulance, hospital stays, basic rehabilitation and prescriptions. As of 2016 there is also a compulsory own-risk excess (eigen risico) where you pay the first €385 of any medical costs excluding GP visits. You can also lower your monthly premium by €10-25 by choosing a higher excess up to €885.
On top of the basic healthcare package each insurance company offers various modules which you can add to your policy at extra monthly cost. For example, this could include dental coverage, physiotherapy, alternative treatments or insurance for travel outside Netherlands. Dental care is only free for under 18s and extra dental insurance has a limited payout, it won't cover you fully for major work.
If you are planning to have children in the Netherlands then check the level of pre- and post-natal coverage on offer from your health insurance company.
Once you choose and purchase an insurance package you will be sent a health insurance card (Zorgpas) with your policy number. You will need to show this card and some ID when receiving medical care. Medical bills will either be sent via your insurance company or you will have to pay upfront and then get (partly) reimbursed.
It is possible to access your account online - some companies require that you login using DigiD - the Dutch government online identity platform.
Students from the European Economic Area (EEA) studying in the Netherlands only need to get the basic health insurance package if they are working. Students from outside the EEA need to get Dutch health insurance - this is best done via the college/university which probably has negotiated reduced premiums.
Likewise for temporary residents (staying under 12 months) and visitors/tourists from EEA countries, the EHIC card issued by their home country should suffice. Temporary residents from outside the EEA should organise a suitable international health insurance policy. We would recommend tourists to the Netherlands have their own private travel insurance as well.
Healthcare in the Netherlands
You've arrived in the Netherlands and got yourself suitable health insurance. You should then register with a convenient local GP (huisarts) practice close to your home or place of work. Most Dutch doctors will speak reasonably good English.
Making an appointment to see a doctor is relatively straight forward and many practices have a telephone consultation hour (spreekuur) set aside to deal with patient queries. If you require a specialist you will need a referral from your GP. Be aware that Dutch doctors do not generally prescribe antibiotics for cold-like symptoms.
You should also find a convenient pharmacy (apotheek) in your area - though some larger GP practices may have this in-house.
For out-of-hours (non-emergency) care you will probably have to call a special phone number given by your GP surgery. In case of emergency you can go to a hospital (ziekenhuis) to the Accident and Emergency department (EHBO - Eerste Hulp bij Ongelukken). You can contact emergency services by telephone dialling 112.
When on routine visits to a hospital, patients need to register their details before having treatment or seeing a specialist there. The hospital will issue you with a patient ID card known as a ponsplaatje - you need to bring the card on any subsequent visits.
If you are a permanent resident then you may want to register yourself at a dentist (tandarts). Most Dutch dental practices will require a check-up every 6 months where the dentist or hygienist will clean your teeth. Complex work like dental implants may be referred to a specialist.
Alternative and complementary healthcare procedures (such as acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, osteopathy etc) are well established in the Netherlands. If you are interested in such therapies then check the level of coverage when buying your insurance policy, as this can vary amongst insurers.
You generally have to find you own therapist - most will be registered with the official organisation of that particular therapy. For alternative therapies you normally pay the invoice upfront and then request a reimbursement from the insurance company.
Hospitals in Amsterdam
There are a number of hospitals in Amsterdam including the academic institutions AMC and VU. Other than the small Prinsengracht Clinic, most are located in the suburbs of the city.
AMC, Academisch Medisch Centrum, Meibergdreef 9, +31(0)20 566 9111
Boven het IJ Hospital, Statenjachtstraat 1, +31(0)20 634 6346
OLVG Hospital, Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis, Oosterpark 9, +31(0)20 599 9111
Prinsengracht Clinic (OLVG), Prinsengracht 769, +31(0)20 599 4100
Sint Lucas Andreas Hospital, Jan Tooropstraat 164, +31(0)20 510 8911
Slotervaart Hospital, Louwesweg 6, +31(0)20 512 5511
VU Medical Centre, De Boelelaan 1117-1118, +31(0)20 444 4444