Childcare & medical facilities
The Dutch health care has an excellent standard and has been rated as the best in Europe. The philosophy underpinning the Dutch healthcare system is based on several more or less universal principles: access to care for all, solidarity through medical insurance (which is compulsory and available to all residents) and high-quality healthcare services.
However, many things might be arranged differently than in other countries. Therefore the internationals living in the Netherlands tend to experience problems understanding the system and adapting to it.
The most important difference is the central role of the General Practitioner (GP, or “huisarts” in Dutch) in the health care system. The GP acts as sort of a “gatekeeper” and refers the patients to other medical specialists. This means that the GP not only treats all the basic health problems but also serves as a link to most other health care services. The Dutch doctors also tend to be more cautious when prescribing antibiotics which has resulted in a very low incidence of antibiotic resistant infections.
Choosing a doctor
Many GPs speak English which makes the health care in the Netherlands widely accessible also to the foreigners. The patients are free to choose any GP, they all have the same education approved by the Dutch authorities.
Since not all the GPs are taking new patients, it is advisable to register by one beforehand. You can call a GP and make an appointment to discuss your personal requirements before you register. You will find at least one GP practice in every neighbourhood, or you can search for the GP on the internet, or the community guide (gemeentegids) that you can find at the City Hall.
If you need to see a GP outside the opening hours, you need to call the out-of-hours medical clinic “Centrale Huisartsen Post (CHP)”.
Wesselmanlaan 25, Helmond
Bogardeind 2, Geldrop
Catharina Ziekenhuis, Michelangelolaan 2, Eindhoven
0900-8861 (10 eurocents per minute)
Emergencies – call 112
In emergency medical situations you can call an ambulance. The emergency number for police, fire or ambulance is 112. For non-threatening issues, you should first contact your local doctor or find your closest out-of-hours medical clinic.
The Dutch health insurance is provided by private health insurance companies. All people residing in the Netherlands are obliged to take out a health insurance, everyone is free to choose an insurer. All health insurers are required to accept every person, irrespective of their health condition. They also have to guarantee that healthcare is available in the basic package for all their policyholders.
The basic health insurance package includes the following types of care:
• medical care provided by GPs, medical specialists (consultant physicians) and obstetricians;
• district nursing;
• mental health services, including hospital care (mental health-related) up to a maximum of
• dental care up to age 18;
• services provided by various types of therapists, including physical therapists, remedial therapists,
speech therapists and occupational therapists;
• nutritional/dietary care;
• medical aids;
• ambulance support/sedentary medical transport;
• physiotherapy for people with chronic illnesses.
In addition to the compulsory basic insurance package, health insurers provide supplemental insurance for additional care. This includes, for example, a special dental insurance policy, alternative medicine/homeopathy, eyeglasses and contacts, and more generous cover for physiotherapy, maternity care and medications. Private individuals can determine themselves whether they wish to make use of supplemental insurance policies.
Source: Healthcare in the Netherlands, Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport