Student insurance in The Netherlands

Are you planning to study, work or do an internship in the Netherlands?

Then it is recommended to find out how and what medical costs are covered and whether you need to enrol for a Dutch health insurance.

This article provides information about student insurance options in The Netherlands and points out when it is required to obtain a Dutch medical insurance.

Do I need Dutch health insurance?

You need to have a Dutch healthcare insurance if:

  1. You have a job contract (or zero-hour contract) with a Dutch employer or when you have your own company and pay a Dutch income tax.
  2. You do an internship for which your receive at least the Dutch minimum wage salary.
  3. Your stay in The Netherlands is not temporary (for example, when you have received a residence permit).

Apply here for a Dutch health insurance

If you fail to get a basic Dutch health insurance in time while this is obligatory, you may risk a fine from the government.


Flowchart that explains if you need health insurance as a international student

This video-guide will also give you some pointers on whether or not you need Dutch health insurance.


If you are doing an internship, traineeship or PhD for which you are being paid at least as much as the Dutch minimum wage, you are obligated to obtain a Dutch health insurance under the Wlz-scheme. Any expenses are regarded as remuneration for your internship, for example, if the company or university pays for your housing.

If you are paid less than minimum wage, and your stay in The Netherlands is temporary, you will normally not be eligible for Dutch health insurance. You could opt for a private health insurance.

Please check on which purposes are considered temporary and non-temporary.

Permanent stay

If you are 30 years or older and your stay in The Netherlands is permanent you will be required to choose a Dutch health insurance. Permanent stay is usually not the case for most international students, but for those who have finished their studies and planning to stay in The Netherlands permanently.

If you are unsure if your stay is considered permanent, you can ask for an assessment to determine if you should be insured.

Unsure about your insurance status in The Netherlands?

  • Call on: 0800 - 64 64 644 or +31 88 900 6960.

When am I not eligible for Health insurance in The Netherlands?

You are not eligible for a health insurance in The Netherlands if:

  • You are in The Netherlands for study purposes only.
  • You are on an orientation year with a search visa.
  • If you are from outside the EU/EEA and haven't received a letter from the Immigration Service (IND) conforming you will be given a residence permit.

In this case you could apply for private student health insurance for medical cover in The Netherlands.

When do I need international student insurance?

When you are not from the EU/EEA or Switzerland and if you are planning to study for more than three months in The Netherlands, it is recommended to get a private or international health insurance.

There are several health insurers that offer international healthcare insurances for foreigners that are going to do their bachelor's or master's in The Netherlands.

Examples of international insurance companies:

  • Allianz
  • Aon
  • ISI

Refer to their websites for more detailed information.

Check your insurance status

If you have any doubts about your insurance status and want to be sure where you stand?

Then contact the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB). You can ask for an assessment to determine if you should be insured.

You can also contact the governmental health insurance number through: 

  • 0800 64 64 644 or: +31 88 900 6960.

When can I use my European Health Insurance Card?

You can use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for medical care if you are from within the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland or Australia and when you are in The Netherlands only temporarily for study purposes.

EU-, EEA-countries and Switzerland have agreements and treaties with The Netherlands about medical coverage. That is why students from within the EU/EEA can usually keep their home country insurance.

However, it is important to make sure that your home country insurance covers the necessary medical care in the Netherlands and that they can issue a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to you.


Some national health insurers in EU-countries will only cover the costs of your healthcare in another country for a limited time; this is often the case for mature students (older than 28 or 30) and workers on training abroad. If this is the case for you, you will need seek another insurance if you want medical cover.

Moreover, most national health insurers only cover health costs up to the tariffs applicable in your home country. Hence, it is highly recommended to check whether your home country insurance provides full health cover in the Netherlands during your entire stay.

Otherwise, it may be required to arrange extra international cover.

How do I take out a Dutch health insurance?

In order to obtain Dutch healthcare insurance you need to complete several steps:

EU/EEA students

  1. Make sure you are eligible for Dutch health insurance
  2. Register with a municipality
  3. Compare different health insurance policies
  4. Choose and apply for a health insurance online

You must cancel your insurance plan if you no longer work in The Netherlands.

Non-EU/EEA students

  1. Obtain a residents permit at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND). In order to apply for such a permit you need the following documents:
    • A legal and certified copy of your birth certificate.
    • Document(s) that prove you have a permanent place to live in The Netherlands.
    • A legal and valid passport.
  2. After successful registration at the IND you can go to the local town hall (in the city you are residing) and register yourself as a new inhabitant. You will then receive a citizen service number.
  3. With this number, you can compare and select your own basic Dutch healthcare insurance and if desired, any supplementary health cover packages.

Here is an overview of all Dutch healthcare insurers.

What does the Dutch health insurance cover?

The basic Dutch health insurance covers essential health care, such as visits and treatments by a general practitioner, pharmaceuticals and hospital treatments.

Within the Dutch healthcare system you are also entitled for long-term care and social support care.

Basic cover

All Dutch healthcare insurance companies must offer at least the basic health care cover package (basisverzekering). This is stipulated in Dutch health laws.

This basic package contains most medical coverages required:

  • Visits and treatment by a general practitioner
  • Pharmaceuticals (with reference from a physician/general practitioner)
  • Medical care, operations and other treatments performed by doctors and physicians, such as cardiologists, dermatologists, surgeons, etc.
  • Certain medical aids
  • Dental care (until the age of 18)
  • Physiotherapy for people with certain chronic diseases
  • Psychological health care (with reference from a physician)
  • Hospital care
  • Pregnancy- and birth care (maternity and obstetric care)
  • Emergency transport by ambulance
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech-language pathology
  • Dietary advice
  • Special health care programs and population medical research
  • Emergency medical treatment abroad, according to Dutch standards

Supplemental cover

Each of the above items will have their requirements and possible limitations regarding financial compensation. Sometimes the basic cover does not suffice, for example, for:

  • Dental care
  • Physiotherapy
  • International cover for non-urgent medical care
  • Alternative Healing
  • Optical eye care
  • Orthodontics

If you need these types of healthcare you may refer to private supplemental insurance packages.

How to choose a Dutch healthcare insurance?

Although, the content of the basis Dutch healthcare insurance is the same with every insurer, the monthly fee, service, excess (deductible) and available choice of health care providers can vary depending on the chosen health insurance company and policy.

Therefore, it is recommended to compare Dutch healthcare insurance companies on their monthly fee and policy

Need help?

If you need help, ask a Dutch-speaking friend or colleague to assist you.

Or contact us by email or phone:

  • +31 (0) 10 34 000 20

Am I eligible for a healthcare allowance?

International students with a Dutch health insurance are usually eligible for a healthcare allowance (called 'zorgtoeslag' in Dutch). The allowance is meant to help lower income groups to pay for their healthcare expenses.

There are several requirements to be met in order to be eligible:

  • You are 18 years or older
  • You have a Dutch health insurance
  • You have a Dutch citizen number (BSN)
  • Your salary is below 38.520 euro (2023) or 48.224 (2023) if you have a fiscal partner

You can apply for the zorgtoeslag-benefit through the website of the Dutch tax authority (belastingdienst).

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