Dutch health care

If you need medical help during office hours, call your general practitioner (huisarts). The GP should be the first point of contact for all medical problems. So, if suffering from flu, a twisted ankle, abdominal pain, psychological problems, chronic illness or even gynaecological problems, contact your GP first. You can make an appointment over the phone, and in some cases by email or online. Most doctors have set surgery hours and some even give advice over the phone.

Outside office hours
Do you urgently need a doctor in the evening, at night or during the weekend? Then call the central telephone number (088-0030 600) of the GP post for Amsterdam, Badhoevedorp, Landsmeer, Diemen and Duivendrecht.

Medical emergency: call 112
If you or someone around you need urgent medical attention, where every second counts, call the Dutch emergency number: 112.

If you don’t have a general practitioner yet, you should register at a general practice. You can look up which GP offices are located in your own neighbourhood. As Dutch GP’s generally do not make house calls, it’s wise not to have to travel far from your home if you’re feeling ill and you want to visit your doctor. Are you having problems with registration at a GP’s office and you need help? Contact your student counsellor.

When visiting the doctor for the first time take these with you:

  • Medical records: Take any medical records with you, as this enables the doctor to assess your medical history and may help communication.
  • Your passport or ID.
  • Proof of insurance: Bring your insurance card or papers with you. The initial visit will normally be charged as a consultation.

Once a diagnosis is made, the doctor decides on the method of treatment. The doctor can treat the problem, perhaps with prescription medicines available from a chemist. Alternatively, the doctor may refer the patient to a specialist in a hospital. A referral is always necessary to see a specialist except for physiotherapists or midwives. Unless there is a real emergency, you cannot contact the hospital before you have spoken to your GP.

Health insurance covers the cost of a consultation. However, there are two possible approaches. Under a contracted care policy (naturapolis), the doctor sends his bill directly to the insurer and you don’t pay. Under a non-contracted care policy (restitutiepolis), the doctor bills the patient and the patient declares the costs with the insurer. Please note that it is advisable, under contracted care policies, to check with an insurer which doctors are on its list. This expedites the doctor’s payment and will save you time and stress. More information: health insurance.

If you have mental health problems you can either get support online or via chat or telephone with ‘Alles oké?’ (Everything alright?). You can also go to your General Practitioner. They can provide treatment or refer you to other mental health professionals, depending on the nature of your problems and their complexity.

We strongly advise you to register with a GP as soon as you arrive in the Netherlands. Especially if you are familiar with mental health problems, or use psychopharmacological medication. This saves you a lot of struggles and stress, in case you experience a relapse and are in need of additional counselling.

Mild mental health problems can be treated by a GP, who often collaborates with a general practice mental health worker (Praktijkondersteuner Huisartsen - Geestelijke Gezondheidszorg, or POH-GGZ). Your GP can also maybe offer you online counselling (e-health). If your GP and mental health worker consider your problems too complex to treat themselves, they may refer you to a mental health care specialist.

In the Netherlands, health insurance covers part or all of the costs of primary and secondary mental health care. The exact conditions depend on your insurer and the policy you have, so you should check your policy or contact your insurer for more information.

With insurance, a visit to the GP and/or POH-GGZ is free of charge. If you are not insured, you can still visit a GP. You are often required to pay a ‘passerby fee’, which you pay directly at the desk of the doctors practice. More information: health insurance.

In case of an emergency, contact your general practitioner. Do you need a doctor in the evening, at night or in the weekend? Then call the central telephone number 088-0030 600 of Huisartsenposten Amsterdam.

If you fear that you might hurt yourself or that someone else might hurt themselves, you can call 0800-0113, or visit 113 for help with suicide prevention. Or read more information about mental health care in the Netherlands.

You can register with a dentist in your own neighbourhood.

Please note that a basic Dutch health insurance and the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) do NOT cover dental care. Additional coverage may therefore be necessary.

Disclaimer: although this information has been produced and processed from sources believed to be reliable, no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of any information.