Health insurance

Dutch health insurance is not required for people who already have European Health insurance and only study in the Netherlands. However, you must take out Dutch Health insurance if you:

  • do not have European Health insurance
  • work in the Netherlands. (Regardless of your health insurance coverage elsewhere. If you are employed in the Netherlands you will be forced to get Dutch Health Insurance.)

Most students will therefore never require Dutch health insurance if they choose not to work in the Netherlands during their degree. However, if you get a job you must take out insurance as soon as possible or you will be violating Dutch law. We are here to guide you through this process. You should also take a look at our finances section to find out how to  receive a subsidy in order to help cover your insurance costs.


The Dutch health insurance regulator is called CVZ (College Van Zorgverzekering) and part of their job is to check if everyone that should be insured in the Netherlands is actually insured. If you study in the Netherlands you may at some point receive letter from the CVZ stating you must take out health insurance in the Netherlands. This is a preliminary ruling and works according to the reverse proof of burden. Rather than them having to prove you are not insured you have to prove that you are indeed insured.

Health Insurance letters (CAK Nederland)

Every year around March & September/October the CAK Nederland sends out letters to students registered at the municipality telling them to take out basic Dutch health insurance.

If you don’t do anything within three months of receiving this letter you will be fined around 350 – so be sure to react before the deadline! If you have a job beside your studies then you are indeed obliged to take out Dutch health insurance. But if you are only studying and not working in the Netherlands and are insured elsewhere in the EU, then you don’t need to take out Dutch health insurance. You can check this downloadable factsheet to find out for sure if you are required to be insured in the Netherlands specifically. In either case you must react to the letter as soon as possible. All you need to do is fill out this form and send it to the SVB (Sociale Verzekeringsbank).

The SVB will then determine whether you need Dutch health insurance or not and will notify you by post. You will either receive a letter similar to this telling you that you don’t need Dutch health insurance, or you will be informed that you must take out Dutch health insurance.


If you are start working in the Netherlands, or if you do not have European health insurance, there are many options of health insurance providers that you can chose from. In order to find out which one suits your needs most you can take a test at a comparison website such as Things to note here are the coverage levels (do you wish to have dental insurance for example) and the deductibles (eigen risico). See the section below for more information about deductibles.


The Dutch Healthcare system works with deductibles (eigen risico). This is the amount you yourself have to cover when receiving treatment. For example if your own risk is €385 and your received surgery cost €1000, you will be billed for €385 only and the rest is taken care of by your health insurance.

You can choose your own deductible level from a variety of options. Currently the lowest deductible is €385 but this can change every year. This government website provides more information about deductible levels (only in Dutch).


The government ensures that insurance providers give the same basic level of service in their packages. The amount of coverage is subject to change and needs to be consulted every so often to see what is and isn’t covered. The contents of the basic care package (basispakketcan be found on the government website.

Visiting a family doctor, for example, is included in the basic health care in the Netherlands. If you are not insured in the Netherlands you will be asked to pay up front and then claim the money back from your own health insurance.

Subsidy application

As is often the case health insurance can be a pricey burden on your income. However the Dutch Tax office offers a benefit to people who don’t earn more money than the certain limit per year. Most students fall within this category, making it likely that you will be able to receive this subsidy. These health benefits (Zorgtoeslag) can be applied for by anyone living in the Netherlands and are a form of monthly benefits that cover most if not all of your monthly health insurance costs. In order to check if you are eligible please consult this website.

Download our guidance document below which shows you all the necessary steps for applying for the health insurance subsidy. Please take into account that you need to have a DigiD account to apply for health insurance in this way.

subsidy application (living outside the Netherlands)

If you work in the Netherlands but live abroad (for example commuting from Aachen in Germany), then you have to follow different steps in order to get the health benefits because you cannot get a DigiD account if you live abroad unless you are Dutch. Therefore, the following steps must be taken:

  • Call Belastingdienst Tax Office: +31(0)555385385. They speak German, Dutch and English, so you can call them yourself. On the Phone, they will ask for your BSN number, birthdate and address to confirm your personal information.
  • In case your bank account is not known to them, you have to give them your bank account details:
  1. If it’s a Dutch bank account you can submit your information via phone.
  2. If it’s a German bank account you’ll need to send them a bank statement in the post.

Note: Either German or Dutch account is okay!
Within 10 working days, the tax office will send the form that you need to fill out and send back to them. Based on this information, the Tax Office decides whether you are eligible for the benefit or not.

Further Information Health Insurance

The website provides a lot of useful information about health insurance for internationals. Navigate to the website and click on ‘coming from abroad’ for information in English. Also, you can call them for free on weekdays between 09.00h and 17.00h on: 0800 64 64 644. If you are calling from abroad you should call this number: +31 88 900 6960. They will be able to give you an immediate answer to your question.

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