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HEALTHCARE AND INSURANCE (ziektekostenverzekering)

Everyone living in the Netherlands is legally obliged to have health insurance. The health care system in the Netherlands is a social provision, which means that everyone has health care insurance and access to care.


Dutch public health insurance (basiszorgverzekering)

You will participate in the Dutch public healthcare insurance if you fall under the Dutch social security - either through being employed by a Dutch employer or through having the center of your social, economic and cultural life in the Netherlands (ordinarily resident). All employees of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam will automatically participate and are obliged to take out Dutch public health insurance.  You need to arrange this within 4 months after arrival in the Netherlands. The basiszorgverzekering is a standard insurance and may be extended with additional packages. Although it is a public health insurance scheme, the insurance policies are provided by private insurance companies. Each company offers a different package and competes on different service levels. You are free to choose any company you like, however, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers a group health insurance scheme in cooperation with health insurer Zilveren Kruis. Zilveren Kruis offers you and your family a 10% discount on the basic health insurance policy and an attractive group discount on the supplementary packages and dental insurance cover. Like most other insurers, Zilveren Kruis offers supplementary packages ranging from limited to very extensive. With the exception of comprehensive dental insurance cover, Zilveren Kruis does not make this subject to medical selection. 

For further information on premiums and reimbursements, or to register for health insurance, visit Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam’s group insurance policy number for is 207083079.

If you have any questions, contact Zilveren Kruis’s customer service at +31-(0)71 36 52080. This service is available from 08:00 to 21:00 Mondays to Fridays, and from 10:00 to 14:00 on Saturdays. Always quote Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam’s group insurance policy number.

Dutch private health insurance

International guests of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (if not considered an ordinarily resident) can take out Dutch private health insurance. Several private insurance companies sell policies designed especially for researchers coming to the Netherlands, for instance: AON.

  • Please see the Euraxess website for more options.

The insurance packages offered, usually also include liability insurance, accident insurance, theft insurance, travel insurance, repatriation insurance and legal aid insurance. They provide adequate healthcare cover and information in English. The latter is something that most Dutch healthcare insurance companies lack.

The Dutch healthcare in video


Finding and visiting a doctor                                

In case you need medical care in the Netherlands, you will need to register with a doctor (General Practitioner (GP)/ in Dutch: Huisarts) close to your home. Many practices have male and female doctors and allow you to specify any preferences when you make an appointment. Most doctors speak English. It is advisable to find a GP and register with them as soon as possible. This can take some time as there are often waiting lists.

The GP should be the first point of call for all medical problems with the exception of real emergencies. You can make an appointment over the phone, and in some cases by email. Most doctors have set consultation hours and some even give advice over the phone. If the problem is serious, the doctor may make a house call, but this is not normal practice.

When visiting the doctor for the first time, take any medical records with you, as this enables the doctor to assess your medical history and this may help communication.

Please also bring a valid ID and valid proof of insurance with you. This initial meeting will normally be charged as a consultation.

Once a diagnosis is made, the doctor decides on the method of treatment. He or she may treat the problem themselves, perhaps with prescription drugs available from a chemist. Alternatively, the doctor may refer the patient to a specialist in a hospital. A referral is always necessary to see a specialist except for physiotherapists or midwives.

Pharmacy (Apotheek)

The Dutch word for pharmacy is Apotheek. At the pharmacy you can obtain prescribed drugs and other related items, such as non-prescription cough syrup, vitamins and pain relievers. Only a doctor may issue a prescription (recept). He or she may ask which pharmacy you would like to collect your medicine from and contact them on your behalf. It can be to your advantage to use the same pharmacy for all your prescriptions. Employees at the pharmacy are qualified, licensed pharmacists and can answer your questions about the drugs you are getting and about minor medical afflictions.


All students and employees of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam who stay in the Netherlands for more than one year can register with ACTA for dental care. Employees who stay for less than one year can contact the Tandartsenbemiddelingsbureau (Dentist mediation bureau). They will assist you in finding a dentist who can help you at short notice.

  • Please note that basic Dutch health insurance does not cover dental care. Additional coverage may therefore be necessary.

ACTA Amsterdam (Dentist) 

Gustav Mahler Laan 3004, , 1081 LA Amsterdam, +31 (0)20-5980380,,, open on weekdays from 8:30AM to 12:30PM, and from 1:30PM to 5PM, Tandartsenbemiddelingsbureau (Dentists, urgent matters), +31 (0)20 3034500

PERSONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE (Aansprakelijkheidsverzekering voor Particulieren, AVP)

In the Netherlands, you are legally liable if someone suffers damage due to a mistake made or an accident caused by you. This means you must compensate the other party for the damage suffered. Personal Liability Insurance (AVP) protects you against this. AVP covers almost all damage for which you, as a private individual, can be held liable, regardless of how the incident in question occurred. The cost of damages can be quite considerable. AVP will also cover damage that your child or pet might cause. However, damage caused by motor vehicles, for example, through a collision, is not covered by AVP. For this, you must take out Third Party Insurance (WA-verzekering) via a car insurer.

  • For more information please see the website of  IN Amsterdam.


If you have your own car, motorbike or moped while living in the Netherlands you are required to insure yourself against legal liability through Third Party Insurance (WA-verzekering). You are then insured against damage you may cause with your vehicle. Damage to your vehicle, however, is not covered. You can supplement your Third Party Insurance with All Risk Cover (cascodekking). This provides insurance for the car itself but not its contents. For more information please see the website of  IN Amsterdam.

Collective car insurance via Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (for employees only):
International employees of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam can take out car insurance via the University’s group contract with Aon Nederland. For information and premiums, contact:

  • Service Center Aon Verzekeringen, tel. +31 (0) 71 364 35 30 (open from 08:00 to 18:00)  (Dutch only)

HOUSE CONTENTS INSURANCE (Inboedelverzekering)

Fire and theft can cause unforeseen damage and expense – you can insure yourself against them. In some larger cities, you will always have an excess (eigen risico) for theft. There is also a maximum insurance payout for audiovisual equipment such TVs or DVDs. It is important to make sure you have proper cover. Your house contents must be insured at replacement value. If your cover is too low, the insurer will pay out less, even for minor damage. This will mean that the money is insufficient to replace old articles with new.

  • For more information please see the website of  IN Amsterdam.