The Dutch Healthcare System

The Dutch healthcare system. Firstly, it is quick and efficient and has an excellent reputation.

It is a well-oiled and modern system where all the parts seem to work together easily. The non-Dutch find it hard work sometimes to get more than aspirin from their doctor, which sometimes shows people used to healthcare systems in France and Italy, for instance. It is said that seeing the inside of a Dutch hospital is quite rare. In some ways, that might be true, but the health system filters people rigorously in the first instance. Once you do see the OLVGs in Amsterdam, you quickly understand that they are modern and efficient hospitals. Now, here is an overview of the Dutch healthcare system for the Amsterdam area.

Healthcare in The Netherlands

The following should be able to help you get registered in the healthcare system and to learn how it all works. It might feel weird at first, but you will soon get used to it.

But, it is essential to know what will happen when you fall ill and who to contact.

Dutch Healthcare system


Emergency Telephone Numbers in Amsterdam

In addition, please note these emergency services: these are the numbers to use for fire, police and ambulance. Also, overdoses, poisons and emergency doctors, emergency dental care and hospitals…

So here are the telephone numbers to use in Amsterdam for Emergencies – 

Alcoholics Anonymous Amsterdam

Tel: 020 625 6057


Jellinek Drug and alcohol help centre

088 505 1220 or  020 – 570 2355


Tel: 0900 204 2040 or 020 55 5822

Local website for information about AIDS

Child Helpline (14:00-20:00)

Tel: 0800 0432 or ChildLine

Women’s Helpline (09:00-23:00)

Tel: 020 611 6020

Red Cross

Tel: 020 622 6211

See more information and all the numbers and advice you need on the Red Cross Netherlands website.

You can also see about their projects and do some volunteering.

Emergency Doctor

Tel: 088 003 0600

Emergency Dentists Amsterdam

Tel: 0900 321 2230

Emergency Vet Amsterdam

Tel: 0900 0245 or Tel: 020 560 6360

Pharmacy/Chemist On Duty

Tel: 020 694 8709

Emergency Hospitals

Tel: 112 

ACCESS Information Helpline

Tel: 0900 222 2377


Accident & Emergency Departments in the Hospitals (Ziekenhuizen)

Academisch Medisch Centrum (AMC)

At: Meibergdreef 9

1105 AZ Amsterdam Zuidoost

Emergency Tel: 020 566 3333

Tel: 020 566 9111

Fax: 020 566 4440

Website (in Dutch)


Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis – OLVG

At: Eerste Oosterparkstraat 279

1091 HA Amsterdam

Tel: 020 599 9111

Fax: 020 599 2299

Website (in Dutch)


Support groups


Health Insurance in the Netherlands

You will need to get it if living in the Netherlands, so get informed about it and start to use it. It includes many things you will find very useful. Yes, you have to pay for it, but then all good things cost money, right? In other words, getting good coverage and the lowest costs is not the best.

How it works for you and your family?

If you live here and pay tax, you need Dutch health insurance for you and your dependents.  This is your access to The Dutch healthcare system. The mandatory health insurance, Basic Health Insurance, is called the ‘basisverzekering’ and is available to all residents and provides general medical care by specialists, GPs and midwives, hospital care, medication, rehabilitation, mental health care and dental cover for children up to 21.

Similarly, it also includes basic medical emergency holiday travel cover. For instance, there are various types of basic policy; in some cases, the insurer organises and pays for all “reasonable” costs, while in others, the insured arranges treatment and pays and is subsequently reimbursed by the insurer. Insurers should always be notified of hospital admission (well in advance, if possible).

What the basic policies usually cover : 

Treatment by a GP and most prescription medication

All costs for hospitalisation

Transport by ambulance

Dental care for kids (see policies for adults dental care)

A visit to the psychologist

Surgery and other operations in a hospital


Some cases of physiotherapy

Aanvullende verzekering is the Dutch term for your private health policy, and these vary depending on the offer. Then you get add-ons you think you might need – more dental cover, extra physiology needs, etc. The dentist one is exceptionally costly and with checking before, you take a policy.

Finding insurers and healthcare

The local health insurance office (zorgverzekeraar) will have the most up-to-date information on local providers. In addition, it will also provide information on local doctors (huisarts) and dentists (tandarts) and how to register with a practice.

Try this site to see what the offer are and to compare.

Compare Dutch health insurance | Check prices + save money‎


Dental Care in the Netherlands


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Also, in this article,  you can learn more about how to get dental care in the Netherlands and what happens when you need specialist work done on your teeth. Firstly, in 2006 significant changes were made, and now there is no distinction between private and public healthcare in the Netherlands. All practitioners are part of the public system, including dentists.

Dentists working in general practice provide almost all dentistry in the Netherlands. A large proportion of the Dutch people are registered with dentists, as should you be. A 6 monthly check-up is the norm, and some places only do dental hygiene. Children join their parents’ checkups from the age of 2-3 years.

Importantly, there is a national scale of maximum fees.  Amounts are set each year by the government. Under the basic health care insurance package, dental care is covered for all children up until their 18th birthday.

All preventive and curative dental care and all orthodontic care for grown-ups (>18 years) can be additionally insured or paid for privately, so check with your insurer because you can make savings. 

Also, see our Dental Information page for The Netherlands.


Quality of Care

The Individual Health Care Professions Act (BIG Act) for medical care and dentistry has existed since December 1st 1997. Its purpose was to promote and monitor the quality of professional practice across all health care aspects and to protect the patient against inexpert and negligent treatment. Every dentist and dental hygienist has to have a BIG registration number to work in the field legally, so make sure they do.

Quality Register

Firstly, in 2007, the Stichting Kwaliteits Register Tandartsen, KRT (Institute of the Quality Register for Dentists) was established to create transparency in dental treatment and clinic practices, thereby contributing to patient safety.


Usually, specialists usually are orthodontists and oral/maxillofacial surgeons. Patients may attend specialists directly but usually go via referral from their primary dentist. Specialists apply a different scale of fees from general practitioners. In addition, the government sets the amount each year. In addition, oral and maxillofacial surgeons work mainly in hospitals and universities, while most orthodontists work in private practices.

Dentists with special interests

Some general practitioners specialise in endodontics, periodontics, pedodontics and implantology, although they are not classified as true specialists. Patients may attend dentists with special interests directly but usually go via referral from their primary dentist.

Dental hygienists are paramedics with an independent status. Most are employees in dental practices, some work in hospitals and centres for paediatric dentistry, and some have their own private practice.

Emergency and Trauma

According to the BIG Act, every individual dental practice has to have the arrangement to offer after-hours emergency services. For details, check the practice’s website, or telephone the practice and an answering machine will tell you who to contact in an emergency ( most messages are in Dutch).

Treatment after opening hours, in the evening and after midnight will have additional costs. For instance, toothache and other discomforts can normally wait for the next day, but teeth loss, luxation and complicated fractures need attention in the first 30-45 minutes after the accident.

Every dentist has to offer immediate emergency care within 45 minutes of being notified of the problem, which means you have a choice.

Further reading about The Dutch healthcare system

Yearly dental fee schedule for general practice and orthodontic treatment (in Dutch)

In conclusion, keep an eye on the evolving situation, especially with Covid. Furthermore, insurance companies are often evolving their offers and prices. In addition to the information above, always check directly with your general doctor first.

 Lastly, for more details, see our Information Pages.

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