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The Netherland’s attractive lifestyle and welcoming locals have made it a popular expat destination in recent years. The country also has a reputation for having one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Facilities are of an incredibly high standard across the board and expats will have access to highly qualified and well-trained medical professionals in both the public and private healthcare systems.
The Dutch healthcare system provides a combination of services, with long-term illnesses and treatments covered by taxes while short-term issues are generally payed for by private healthcare companies.
Everybody who lives and works in the Netherlands is required to contribute towards health insurance on an income-based tax system. This insurance must be applied for within four months of arriving in the country.
Public insurance is separated into two different schemes. The first of these schemes covers general practitioners, emergencies and hospitalisation while the other covers long-term treatment and nursing.
Non-EU citizens living in the Netherlands for longer than three months will need a residency permit before applying for public healthcare. Those who hold a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are able to use it in the Netherlands for up to a year.
While the excellent public healthcare system provides basic services, taking out private international health insurance will provide expats with more comprehensive options when it comes to specialist treatments. These include a wider range of rehabilitation and maternity care programmes, more extensive dental treatments, and extended physiotherapy sessions, amongst others.
When using the private healthcare system expats will also have more immediate access to treatments and health professionals, avoiding the long waiting lists that can occur at state-run institutions.
It is crucial that expats planning to make use of this system take out comprehensive private health insurance to cover the exorbitant costs of private healthcare.
Pharmacies and medication
Pharmacies are ubiquitous in the Netherlands, providing both prescription and non-prescription drugs. While most follow standard operating hours, roughly opening from 9am to 5pm, there are also 24-hour pharmacies in most urban centres.
Expats should be sure to note the generic names of any chronic medication they will be using in the Netherlands, as brand names often vary from country to country.
There aren’t any significant health hazards in the Netherlands. Expats should make sure they complete routine vaccinations such as those for measles, mumps, rubella and diphtheria. Annual flu vaccinations are also recommended.
Emergency services and important numbers
One can dial the pan-European emergency line on 112, with the operators communicating in both Dutch and English. Calls are free, with access to fire, police and ambulance services.
Emergency services in the Netherlands are generally efficient and reliable. Medical staff tend to be well-trained and professional, and expats are likely to find that most medical professionals speak a high level of English.
Expats should also note the contact details for their nearest local embassy for use in cases of emergency.
Expat Protect plans have been designed for expats and local residents in France, Benelux or Monaco. They can be purchased as a top-up health insurance or purchased as full cover.