Health insurance in the Netherlands

Every country has their own structure of healthcare and health insurance. When you live, work or study in the Netherlands, having a health insurance is compulsory. It can be confusing when you are not familiar with the local structure and regulations. Your purpose of stay and status in the country is determining how you should be insured. All Dutch citizens should at least have a basic health insurance.

Dutch health insurance companies
In the Netherlands there are eleven groups of companies that provide health insurances. 85% of all insured people chosen a health insurance package from one of the "big four" (Achmea, VGZ, CZ or Menzis) In the Netherlands you are free to choose your health insurance and any complementary insurances packages that best fits your personal healthcare needs.

Basic & additional complimentary packages
The basic health insurance is compulsory and covers common healthcare costs, such as general practitioner, hospital treatment and prescription medication. The additional complementary health insurance packages are optional and broadens the coverage of healthcare costs that you might have in the future e.g. certain dentist cost and physiotherapy. Every package has different coverage.


Travel insurance is not mandatory for visitors who are traveling to the Netherlands for a short stay (less than 90 days). However, having some kind of travel health insurance when traveling abroad is recommended.


Expats from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland who arrive in the Netherlands must select a Dutch health insurance within four months of receiving their residence permit, even when they already have an existing health insurance from their home country.

International students
Having Dutch health insurance is compulsory when the Dutch government considers you a resident of the Netherlands. This means that means in general that international students are not obliged to have a Dutch health insurance, because staying in the Netherlands only for a limited period of time.

When you are a EU student, you can apply for a European Health Insurance Card. When you are a non Non EU/EER student you are most likely be insured at "AON", "OOM" or "Insured to Study", because universities most likely made certain agreements with this health insurance companies for their students.

Be aware! When you work, you need Dutch health insurance!

When you start working in the Netherlands  -even thought it is a part time job-  you will be most likely be insured under the "Wlz scheme" (the Long-term Care Act) and this means that you will be obligated to take out a Dutch health insurance. 

Unemployed Student
EU student > European Health Card
Non EU/EER student > Insured to Study /OOM/AON

Employed Student
All students > Basic Dutch health insurance

Switching Dutch health Insurance
Every year you are free to select the health insurance that best fits your need. Once a year you can change or switch the health insurance company or just the complementary health insurance package. Usually you can start changing and switching at the end of every calendar year starting in November. That is the time of year when the new tariffs and health insurance coverage and conditions for the following year are updated.

Physiotherapy health insurance coverage
Most physiotherapy treatments are for non chronic pain conditions. With Dutch health insurance, these conditions can be covered from the "complementary healthcare packages" which are optional. These packages must be selected before the new calendar year.

Check here for Dutch health insurance coverage

Specific chronic pain treatment might be eligible for partially reimbursement through the Dutch basic health insurance. However, a referral letter from your doctor or medical specialist is needed and your health insurance company must approve the treatment before you can be treated at the physiotherapist.

International health insurances might have other conditions. In any case, if you want to know what cost your health insurance covers and what not is covered when you are abroad, it is your own responsibility to be properly informed.