Health Care

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

  • 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.)

Official Partners: Health Care