Upon arrival: How to find your way in Dutch Healthcare?

Upon arrival: How to find your way in Dutch Healthcare?

Many internationals have problems to find their way in Dutch healthcare, once they have moved to The Netherlands.

Before arrival internationals generally do not worry about how to find their way in Dutch healthcare. The Netherlands is a civilized country, right? So when needed, surely appropriate healthcare services will be available. Priority, understandably, is given to finding a place to live, getting (settled in) a job and finding a school for the children.


Once here, sooner or later, you will need to see a doctor. When you have small kids this is probably sooner. When your child suddenly develops a high fever and you rush to the nearest hospital, you’ll be turned away (unless in case of a life-threatening emergency). They will tell you, you first have to visit a ‘huisarts’, whatever that may be.

If you have found your way to a ‘huisarts’ (GP) you are told that you first need to have Dutch insurance and a BSN…. or that you can’t register at the practice because you live in another part of town.

If you are healthy and don't need to see a doctor for months, you may be surprised by a letter, in Dutch, of the CAK, telling you that you’ll be fined, if you don’t get Dutch health insurance, while you were sure to be fully covered under the policy of your international health insurance.

How to find your way upon arrival

Here are a the steps to take after having arrived in The Netherlands. They may save you some unpleasant surprises and frustration.

Tell us about any issues you have faced when you arrived in The Netherlands. We'll use your feedback in our effort to have Dutch healthcare information and services better meet the needs of internationals.

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