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The Netherlands has a reputation for having one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Facilities are of an incredibly high standard and there is a highly qualified and well trained professional workforce. The country provides a combination of services, with long-term illness and treatments covered by taxes while short-term issues are payed for by private healthcare companies, of which membership is obligatory.
Most of the Dutch population is bilingual, meaning it’s likely that doctors will speak English.
Everybody who lives and works in the Netherlands is required to contribute towards health insurance, applied for within four months of residing in the country, on an income-based tax system. There are two different schemes: one covers general practitioners, emergencies and hospitalisation while the other covers long-term treatment and nursing.
Non-EU residents 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 are able to use it for up to a year.
While the excellent public healthcare system provides basic services, taking out private health insurance will provide 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. With private health insurance, expats will also have more immediate access to treatments and health professionals, avoiding the long waiting lists that normally occur at state-run institutions.
Pharmacies (apotheek in Dutch) are ubiquitous in the Netherlands, providing both prescription and non-prescription drugs. Alternatively, a drogist stocks products such as toiletries, everyday medication for rudimentary ailments as well as cosmetics. While most follow standard operating hours, roughly opening from 9am to 5pm, there are also 24-hour pharmacies.
There aren’t any significant health hazards in the Netherlands. But expats should make sure they complete routine vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, chicken pox and polio. It’s also recommended that they get a yearly flu shot. While not a necessity, some travellers may want to get vaccines for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and rabies.
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.
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.