Healthcare in Amsterdam




One of the most important factors expatriates consider when relocating is the quality of healthcare services that will be available. In Amsterdam, this need not be high on people's list of concerns because the city offers healthcare services at par with world standards. 

Expatriates bound to the capital of the Kingdom of the Netherlands need not to worry because overall, the Dutch healthcare system is regarded as one of the best in Europe. Medical facilities, doctors, nurses and hospital staff in Amsterdam are all highly skilled and are considered as globally competitive. When it comes to individual healthcare, insurance is mandatory for all citizens including expatriates as the government ensures the protection of every citizen and resident against the medical and financial risks of illness and hospitalisation. 

The Mandatory Health Insurance 

Foreign nationals who will only stay in Amsterdam for less than a year are not required to take out the mandatory Dutch health insurance but still need to have some sort of medical coverage since it is one of the basic requirements before entering the country. Healthcare in Amsterdam (and nationwide) is covered by two primary statutory forms of insurance scheme: 

  • Zorgverzekeringswet (Zvw) – also known as the basic insurance which covers primary medical care
  • Wet langdurige zorg (Wlz) – covers long term care and nursing 

Automatically, Dutch citizens and employed individuals are covered by the Wlz but everyone still needs to take out the basic insurance. Every year, the Dutch government decides what is included in the standard insurance. This so called basic coverage covers the most common medical care including GP consultations, medication, maternity care and midwives as well as nutritional/dietary care. In Amsterdam, expatriates are allowed to choose from any health insurer offering the standard package and are free to change their provider once a year. 

Cost of Healthcare 

Employers will pay 6.75% of the expatriates’ salary to the Zvw component and another 9.65% goes to the Wlz part. Self-employed individuals, on the other hand, pay slightly lower for the Zve which is around 5.65%. On top of those, foreign assignees in Amsterdam also need to pay monthly contributions to their health insurer which is roughly EUR 1,290 a year. 

Another great thing about working in Amsterdam is that expats can get help assistance towards their insurance payment. They can take advantage of the zorgtoeslag (health allowance) by applying to the Dutch Tax Administration (Belastingdienst). To be eligible for the assistance, the applicant must be 18 years old and above, has a valid residence permit and must be paying a Dutch health insurance. 

Doctors and Hospitals 

General Practitioners or huisarts are the primary healthcare providers in Amsterdam that are responsible in gathering all the medical records of the patients. They are capable of dealing with routine health concern and can refer you to other hospitals or specialists. Upon arrival in Amsterdam, expats must need to register with a GP whom they could call during medical emergencies. Otherwise, they may call the national medical emergency hotline, 112. 

There are numerous hospitals in Amsterdam and some are attached to universities while others carry out medical research. The latter usually have the most advanced medical treatments and facilities. During an emergency situation, expats can proceed directly to the spoedeisende hulp or eerste hulp bij ongelukken (EHBO) or emergency department of their local hospital. Most attending medical personnel in EHBO are Dutch but they are also fluent in speaking other languages including English. Some of the most prominent hospitals in Amsterdam are:

Pharmacies or Apotheken 

There are two types of pharmacies in this city. First is the drogist that only sell non-prescription medicines, baby essentials, toiletries and cosmetics. Second is the apotheek which is licensed to sell prescription-only drugs, vitamins, medical equipment for home use and homeopathic products. Most pharmacies in Amsterdam are open from Mondays to Fridays. If the pharmacy is closed, expats will always see the details (posted on the door) of the nearest 24-hour pharmacy in their area.


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Healthcare in The Netherlands