The Netherlands has a good health care system. Here are some important things to know:
The huisarts (family doctor or General Practitioner) is central in the Dutch health care system and acts as your gatekeeper to the health care system. You can find a GP in your neighborhood on www.kiesuwhuisarts.nl.
The family doctor treats patients for non-surgical problems, and many also perform minor surgical procedures. They can answer most general health questions and serve as a link with other medical services.
Register with a family doctor once you know where you will be living. Note that many doctors have a waiting list. You are entitled to an orientation consultation before deciding which practice you would like to join.
A referral from your family doctor is required to visit a specialist. Check with your insurance company to confirm that they have an agreement with the specialist. Otherwise, you will have to pay for it yourself.
Do not be afraid to ask for the information/services that you want or feel comfortable with. Your insurance company is a good source of information about what is and what is not possible.
If you need to contact a doctor or a pharmacist outside of regular office hours, call the Centrale Huisartsen Post (CHP).
Antibiotics and other medications are prescribed with great reserve, which has resulted in a low incidence of antibiotic resistant infections.
Tests are not done automatically and annual check-ups are only part of the basic service when necessary. Private clinics offer this service, but they are expensive and are not covered by Dutch insurers.
Pregnancy and childbirth are considered natural conditions. Pain relief is only available in a hospital.
Abortions can be performed in the Netherlands up until a fetus is viable outside of the mother's body. (Generally the 24th week of pregnancy.)