Health Care in the Netherlands – be prepared

What do you do when you fall ill?
!!Always start by contacting your GP (family doctor)!!
Tip: Dutch word for family doctor is: Huisarts.

During office hours If you need medical help during office hours, call your general practitioner (= family doctor). The GP should be the first point of call for all medical problems. So, if suffering from flu, a twisted ankle, abdominal pain, psychological problems, chronic illness or even gynecological problems, contact the GP first. You can make an appointment over the phone, and in some cases by email. 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? Call the central telephone number (088 - 00 30 600) of the general practitioner (GP) service in Amsterdam, Badhoevedorp, Landsmeer, Diemen and Duivendrecht. See also:

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

How do I register at a general practice?

If you don’t have a general practitioner yet, you should register at a general practice. There are a few options available to choose from:

1. Register with UvA GP’s
Students from ATD (theather and dance) and NFA (film) can register at the GP’s connected to the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Their website is also filled with all kinds of useful information on the subject.

2. Register at office Reguliersgracht
Doctor Kernebeek is connected to this office and welcomes AHK students.

3. Register in your neigbourhood
You can also 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

Councellor, he or she can help you.

What to expect further

When visiting the doctor for the first time take these things:

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

Very important: be clear and honest about everything – this will make it much easier for the doctor to help you.

Once a diagnosis is made, the doctor decides on the method of treatment. He or she can treat the problem themselves, perhaps with prescription drugs 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.

It’s always a good idea to register with a GP before you actually need a doctor, this will save you a lot of stress.

What about the costs?

Health insurance covers the cost of a consultation. However, you can expect two approaches:

  1. Under a contracted care policy (naturapolis), the doctor sends his bill directly to the insurer and you don’t pay.
  2. 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.

For more information on health insurance coverage, please check the information on health insurance.

In case of emergency

The general Dutch alarm line if every second if every second counts:


You can register with a dentist in your own neighbourhood, just like you did with a family doctor.

Students who stay for less than one year can contact the Tandartsenbemiddelingsbureau. They will assist you in finding a dentist who can help you at short notice. Tel: +31 (0)20 3034500. Please note that basic Dutch health insurance and the EHIC do not cover dental care. Additional coverage may therefore be necessary.

Mental Health Care

Need mental health care – start at your GP
If you have mental health problems you can either get support online, or from 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 often also offer you online counselling (e-health).

If your GP and POH-GGZ consider your problems too complex to treat themselves, they may refer you to a mental health care specialist.

Here you will find more detailed information on how it works

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.

In case of an emergency, contact your general practitioner or the central doctors' line (Amsterdamse huisartsenposten) 088-003 0600.

If you fear that you might hurt yourself or that someone else might hurt him or herself, you can call 0900-0113, or visit for help with suicide prevention. 

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.