Health Insurance in The Netherlands (for International Students)

health insurance in the netherlands

Whether you are coming to The Netherlands as a student from another country or even just taking a semester abroad, it is essential that you understand the rules and regulations when it comes to health insurance in this nation. As an international student in The Netherlands, you must have adequate insurance coverage to ensure that your medical expenses are covered should something happen to you while studying here. This blog post will cover all the important details related to health insurance in the Netherlands for students. So that you can confidently plan for success during your stay! Read on for our comprehensive guide about dutch basic health insurance and available options for international students in the Netherlands.

Why do I need health insurance in The Netherlands?

In the Netherlands, all students over 18 must have basic health insurance. This form of social security ensures that you are financially covered in case of medical incidents or illnesses and provides access to healthcare services. You can receive treatment from Dutch doctors without adequate coverage and be liable for any medical bills incurred.

However, there are three most common reasons why you need to have health insurance in the Netherlands:

  1. When you pay a Dutch income tax, you need to be insured with basic health insurance if you have a company or a job contract with a Dutch employer.
  2. If you are applying for a residence permit in the Netherlands, you will need to have health insurance.
  3. If you are a student, then having health insurance is essential as it covers your medical costs and provides access to healthcare services.

What type of health insurance do I need in The Netherlands?

All residents and students in the Netherlands are required to have standard health insurance. The Dutch government subsidizes the cost of this insurance, and you can choose from a range of plans offered by private insurance companies. It is important to note that international students cannot get the same state-subsidized health insurance plans as Dutch nationals.

These plans usually cover the cost of any medical treatments, doctor visits, and hospital stays. Depending on your chosen insurance provider, additional coverage, such as dental care, optical care, alternative treatments, and home care, may be included.

When am I not eligible for health insurance?

Here are a few situations in which you may not be eligible for Dutch basic health insurance:

  • You are staying only in the Netherlands for a short-term period (less than 4 months).
  • With a search visa, you are in an orientation year.
  • All non-EU/EEA citizens who have not received a letter from the Immigration Service (IND) will receive a residence permit.

When do I need dutch health insurance for students?

If you are not from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, and your study plan in the Netherlands lasts longer than 4 months, you will need to have private health insurance. You also need to make sure that it covers the entire period of your stay in the Netherlands.

International students usually have to purchase private health insurance from a Dutch provider. You should also make sure that your policy meets the requirements of the IND so that you can apply for a residence permit.

It is essential to start looking into different health insurance providers before you arrived in the Netherlands, as it can take some time to compare and purchase the appropriate coverage.

Here are some examples of Dutch health insurance providers that can provide policies tailored to international students:

When can I use my European Health Insurance Card?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is only valid for EU/EEA citizens staying in the Netherlands for a short period (less than four months). This card enables you to receive medical treatment from Dutch healthcare providers, although it does not cover any costs incurred.

Due to various agreements and treaties between The Netherlands and EU/EEA countries, as well as Switzerland, foreign students from those regions can typically maintain their home country’s medical insurance. However, make sure your home country’s insurance covers medical care in the Netherlands.

Regardless of your home country, you should always research the different health insurance policies available in the Netherlands and choose one that meets your needs.

Furthermore, getting additional travel insurance is also a good idea if you are planning to take trips outside of The Netherlands during your stay. This can help cover any medical costs incurred while you are abroad.


Mature students and workers on training abroad may only be granted limited healthcare coverage through their national health insurers when studying or working in another EU country. To make sure you have adequate medical insurance, it is important to seek an alternative policy if the currently provided one does not meet your needs.

Furthermore, most insurers will only cover up to the health tariffs of the country you are studying in. If a medical treatment costs more than this, then you may have to pay out-of-pocket expenses. To avoid this, make sure that your health insurance policy covers any additional costs you may incur while receiving medical care in The Netherlands.

Otherwise, additional international cover may need to be arranged.

How do I take out Dutch health insurance?

The process of taking out Dutch health insurance is fairly straightforward.

EU/EEA students:

  1. First, ensure you are eligible for Dutch health insurance by obtaining a valid residence permit.
  2. Register with a municipality
  3. Compare different health insurance companies
  4. Choose the best option for you and request a policy
  5. Apply online or submit a paper application
  6. Receive confirmation that your policy is active

If you no longer work in The Netherlands or have returned to your home country, make sure to cancel your insurance policy.

Non-EU/EEA students:

1) You’ll need to apply for a resident permit at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND). Here are some documents you’ll need to provide:

  • Birth certificate legal and certified copy
  • Proof of sufficient financial means
  • A valid passport

2) After registering with a municipality as a new citizen, you’ll receive a citizen service number.

3) With this citizen service number, you can choose a health insurance policy that meets your needs.

4) Apply online or submit a paper application

5) Receive confirmation that your policy is active

6) After you have signed up for health insurance, you will need to make sure that the policy meets the requirements of the IND when applying for a residence permit.

What does Dutch health insurance cover?

Dutch citizens can rest assured knowing their health is taken care of with basic insurance covering necessary doctor’s visits, treatments, and more. Pharmaceuticals are also covered as well as hospital-related expenses.

The Dutch health care system also ensures that the cost of prescription drugs is kept at a reasonable rate. 

Basic cover

Dutch health laws demand that all healthcare insurance companies provide basic medical coverage, aptly called basisverzekering.

  • A general physician, specialist visits, physiotherapy treatments such as massages, laboratory tests, medicines prescribed by doctors (up to a certain price per medicine), and medical treatments are all covered by basic insurance.
  • Dietary advice
  • Occupational therapy
  • Emergency ambulance transport service.
  • Speech-language pathology
  • Pregnancy- and birth care
  • Physiotherapy for people with disabilities
  • Hospitalisation in a regular hospital ward
  • Mental health care
  • Emergency medical treatment abroad
  • Special health care programs and preventative measures.

Supplemental cover:

Covering the costs associated with any of the above items may be limited or exceed expectations, so examine each carefully to ensure an adequate budget. For instance, a basic cover might prove inadequate – additional funding could be necessary in order to provide suitable reimbursement, such as:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Dental care
  • Orthodontics
  • Optical eye care
  • Vaccinations
  • Alternative Healing

You can refer to the private supplement insurance package if you need coverage not offered by the basic cover.

How To Choose The Best Dutch Health Insurance Package?

Choosing the right health insurance package is an important decision. It’s essential to consider all aspects of insurance coverage and associated costs before making a final decision. Here are some tips to help you make the best choice:

  1. Start by researching private providers offering various levels of coverage and policies.
  2. Ask for advice from existing customers, health professionals, and independent advisors.
  3. Compare the different packages – look at premiums, deductibles, cover limits, and any additional benefits offered.
  4. Check that your policy meets the requirements of the IND when applying for a residence permit if you are a non-EU/EEA student.
  5. Make sure your policy offers adequate coverage for all necessary medical services.
  6. Read the documents and understand the conditions, exclusions, and exceptions before signing up to avoid later disappointment.

How do I know if I am eligible for Healthcare Allowance?

If you are a Dutch citizen, EU/EEA national, or Swiss national and have taken out the basic (Dutch) health insurance package, then you may be eligible for a healthcare allowance. This allowance is designed to help cover the cost of the deductible and premiums. To qualify for this allowance, you must meet certain criteria, such as being over 18 years old, having an annual income of less than €54,000 (or €64,000 for couples), or having a residence permit.

Important advice about your Dutch health insurance

  • You can ask for more information about Dutch health insurance from the local healthcare provider.
  • It is essential to choose the right plan for your specific needs and understand exactly what is covered and excluded in each policy.
  • Take into account any additional coverage that might be necessary, such as supplemental insurance or a medical allowance.
  • Be sure to review all the details before signing up.
  • Finally, if you are a non-EU/EEA national, remember to check whether the policy meets IND requirements before applying for a residence permit.

How Does Health Insurance Work In The Netherlands?

In the Netherlands, every citizen and resident over the age of 18 is legally required to have health insurance. Employers usually provide health insurance for their employees, and those out of work can subscribe to Medicaid. A basic package of healthcare typically covers illnesses, childbirth, and prescription drugs, but it’s also possible to opt for an extensive package with wider coverage. Those holding a basic or extensive package may be eligible to receive a tax refund of up to 694 euros per year, depending on one’s income level. Overall, the Dutch system provides reliable and affordable access to quality healthcare.

The insurance companies work with the healthcare providers to ensure you access the best possible care while keeping costs low. Depending on your policy, additional services such as physiotherapy, dental care, or alternative healing treatments may be available.

The Dutch health insurance market is highly competitive, so shopping around and comparing packages is important to find the best deal.


Now that you know the ins and outs of Dutch health insurance, it’s time to start looking for a policy that fits your needs. Comparing different policies can be tricky, but we’ve got you covered with our dutch health insurance guide. With this guide, you can make an informed decision that’s right for you and your family. So what are you waiting for? Get started today and have peace of mind knowing that you’re covered in case of an emergency.

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