You don’t need a referral (“verwijzing” in Dutch) from your doctor or general practitioner. If you think you have a problem related to the movement system of your body, you can make an appointment with a physiotherapist straight away. This might include injuries caused by sports, problems related to work (posture), small incidents like falling etc. or just bad luck as you might wake up with a sore neck or acute lower back pain.
The physiotherapist will start with an intake, in which case he or she will ask you to explain your complaints and will ask you some questions to get a better idea of what kind of problem we are dealing with. Next he or she will start a physical examination, by testing the joints, the muscles or specific tests for specific structures. The physiotherapist can get a good idea of what might be the cause of the complaint and how to possibly treat it. If the physiotherapist does not find enough evidence to explain your complaint, or if something is not possible to assess by just physical testing, he will refer you to your doctor for some extra diagnostics or testing through other means.