The doctor (huisarts) is usually the first port of call if you have health problems. If necessary, the doctor can then refer you to a specialist. When suffering from illnesses such as flu, a twisted ankle, abdominal pain, psychological problems, chronic illness or gynecological problems, contact the doctor first. You will want to find a doctor and register as soon as possible when you arrive. Usually you must make an appointment first, which you do by calling the receptionist. Many doctors also have a telephone consultation hour (telefonisch spreekuur) for simple questions or repeat prescriptions. For further details, you can check www.centraldoctors.nl.
Most GPs’ surgeries close at 16:00 and do not have weekend hours. If you need a doctor outside office hours, you can call the Amsterdam 088 00 30 600 number. The service operates around the clock (24-hour) and is available for nights, weekends and all public holidays.
As a resident or employee in the Netherlands, you are entitled (and therefore, obliged) to take out a Dutch public healthcare insurance. This type of insurance is called 'zorgverzekering' or ‘basisverzekering'. The insurance provides cover for basic medical care, such as a visit to the GP, most hospital treatments and other necessary medical treatment. It is taken out on an individual basis and should be taken out for partners and children as well. Even if you already have a health insurance policy in another country, you are still obliged to take out a new policy in the Netherlands. Although the health insurance system is a public one, it is not free. A substantial monthly insurance premium (around €100) will be charged by the insurance company where you take out your policy.
You must take out health insurance within 4 months after you move to the Netherlands. If you fail to do so you may be fined 130% of the monthly premium over each month you have not been insured, with a maximum of 5 years. You can take out insurance with the Dutch health insurance company of your choice. A health insurance company cannot refuse to cover you for the standard insurance package, irrespective of your age or state of health. For every health insurance company, the standard insurance package is the same, but the contribution you have to pay may vary. You do not have to pay contributions for children under 18.
More information can be found here.
Additional private insurance is voluntary and can be taken out on top of your public healthcare insurance. The cover provided by these packages varies greatly, as do the premiums and any applicable excesses. Supplementary insurance can cover medical care such as dental care, physiotherapy and cover abroad. Any healthcare insurance provider can tell you what your options are.
Depending on your income, you may be eligible for a contribution towards the costs of your insurance. The website Study in Holland provides a toolkitfor non-Dutch speaking foreign nationals to help you out with the application process.