Living in the Netherlands

The Netherlands becomes a different country once you're beyond the tourist status and become a resident. You are a resident and will encounter regulations, requirements, and unknowns you may never have thought when leaving your home country. This section service a guide for your stay in the Netherlands. 

Change of Address

If you are changing your registered address in the Netherlands just registered your new address with the local municipality. You can also register a change of address online through the municipality's website. You will need a DigiD account to apply for changes online. Alternatively, you may report yourself with the civil registry desk or the local expat center to apply for the address change. 


You can become a Dutch citizen through naturalization. The application procedure to follow is with your local municipality. The conditions to be eligible for naturalization are:
  • you need to be 18 years or over 
  • you lived, uninterrupted, for at least five years in The Netherlands (some exceptions apply)
  • you a valid residence permit during your stay in the Netherlands (EU/EEA and Switzerland citizens excluded)
  • some of the integration criteria (such as speaking sufficiently Dutch) apply
  • You are not involved in criminal proceedings. No convictions or criminal records.
  • You renounce your current citizenship (exceptions apply)
  • You are willing to take an oath of solidarity
Contact the IND or your local municipality for more information.

Qualifications and diploma validation

If you have obtained your diploma in another country and want to work in the Netherlands, you probably need to know what a particular credential is worth in terms of the Dutch system. The Netherlands has two centers of expertise in the evaluation of international credentials: Nuffic (for higher education) in The Hague and Colo (for vocational education) in Zoetermeer.

Depending on your plans on how to make use of your qualifications in the Netherlands, you can use either of these centers. It is therefore highly recommended that you first call the Information Center for Credential Evaluation (IcDW) for general advice. The centers of expertise have set up this Information Center. When you are entitled to live and work in The Netherlands and you are officially registered as a jobseeker at a local office of UWV WERKbedrijf, the WERKbedrijf can support you in getting the necessary answers regarding your qualifications and diploma validation.


Nuffic's full name is Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education. Within Nuffic, the Department for International Credential Evaluation is responsible for comparing education and assessing diplomas. Nuffic's work also involves the evaluation of credentials and competencies. The aim of Nuffic's work is to remove obstacles standing in the way of students and workers who wish to be internationally mobile and either enter or leave the Netherlands.

Nuffic also carries out projects in the field of credential evaluation, and, on the basis of international treaties, has been appointed by the education ministry to act as a national information center regarding matters of recognition. It does this in two international networks: the European Commission’s NARIC network (National Academic Recognition Information Centres) and the network of the Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES known as ENIC (European National Information Centres on Recognition and Mobility).

Contact information:

Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 12:30 hrs at the Information Centre for Credential Evaluation (IcDW)
P.O. Box 7338 2701 AH Zoetermeer, the Netherlands, telephone +31-79 3217930, fax +31-79 3217929


Colo is the association of national bodies responsible for vocational training for the private sector. Colo represents 18 bodies, or, knowledge centers, each of which is organized around one sector of business or industry.

Colo also has its own department for international credential evaluation, which is a center of expertise on diplomas, certificates and other qualifications awarded in other countries. Colo assesses these qualifications by comparing them to the Dutch qualifications that can be acquired through vocational and adult education. This service has an official character. The Dutch Ministry of Education has appointed Colo as the national information center regarding the EU Directives for a General System, which regulates access to certain professions within the member states of the EU and the EEA. Colo's credential evaluation department belongs to a number of international networks that foster mobility and transparency in qualifications. These include Netref (European Network of National Reference Structures for Vocational Education).

Contact information:

E-mail: or     

Health Care Cost Insurance

The Dutch Health Care Cost Insurance Act requires that Dutch nationals and residents in the Netherlands join the national health care insurance scheme. It is legally mandatory to sign up for an insurance with a licensed private Dutch health care cost insurer, irrespective of whether you have already set-up with an insurance in your home country which provides for coverage in the Netherlands. The requirement for a Dutch-registered insurance company is strictly adhered to. 

Health care insurance act

The Dutch health care insurance act introduced in 2006 provides for universal health care insurance for all residents of the Netherlands. The act makes it compulsory for all residents to take out a health care cost insurance with a designated Dutch private insurer.

Employees, entrepreneurs, and retirees pay an income-dependent contribution to the health care insurance act (Zvw) to the Dutch tax office.  For employees, this contribution is withheld from their salary. 

Mandatory Basic Insurance for All 

Individuals who live or work in the Netherlands have to take out health care cost insurance.  Insurers have to accept anyone irrespective of age, health condition or gender. 

The coverage of the basic health care cost insurance is determined by the health care insurance act.  The annual premium for the health care cost insurance is paid to the private insurer. Children under 18 years old are insured for free.  A maximum excess may apply. The excess is not tax-deductible. Supplementary insurances are not mandatory by the act.

Contribution Health Care Insurance Act

Everyone who lives or works in the Netherlands is legally obliged to take out standard health insurance to cover the cost of, for example, consulting a general practitioner, hospital treatment and prescription medication.

Standard package

The government decides on the cover provided by the standard package. All insurers offer the same standard package. Healthcare insurers are obliged to accept anyone who applies for the standard insurance package and must charge all policyholders the same premium, regardless of their age or state of health.

The health insurance system in the Netherlands is based on the principle of social solidarity. Together, we all pay the overall cost of health care. Everyone contributes, for example, to the cost of maternity care and geriatric care.

Additional insurance

Not all health care is covered by the standard package. You can opt to take out additional insurance to cover, for example, physiotherapy or dental care. Additional insurance is not obligatory and you are not obliged to take out the standard package and additional insurance with the same insurance company.

Insurance companies are not obliged to accept everyone who applies for additional insurance. An insurance company can refuse to accept you as a client or can ask you about your health before accepting you.

Standard health insurance premium

You pay a fixed, nominal premium to your insurance company for the standard health insurance package. People on a low income may be eligible for healthcare benefits to help pay for health insurance. 

Children under 18 insured free of charge for standard package

Children under the age of 18 must have health insurance but do not pay premiums for the standard package. Parents must register their child with an insurance company within four months of its birth.

Income-related contribution

In addition to the nominal premium, you must pay an income-related contribution to the standard package. This contribution, a percentage of your income, is laid down in the Healthcare Insurance Act (ZVW) and is also known as the ZVW contribution. Your employer will remit the ZVW contribution directly to the Health Insurance Fund.

Taking out health insurance for someone else

You can take out health insurance for the following people without their permission:

  • your children under the age of 18;
  • anyone placed under your guardianship (including financial guardianship) or tutorship.

In other cases, you must have a written declaration from the person you wish to insure. If that person is unable to give permission, you can act as his or her attorney and sign the application yourself.

Two contributions to the health care system

The first contribution paid towards the Dutch health care system comes in the form of a monthly insurance premium to a private insurer. The second contribution is collected by your employer as a set percentage of your income and paid to the Dutch tax office. This contribution is referred to a the ZVW contribution (inkomensafhankelijke bijdrage Zorgverzekeringswet). The self-employed will receive a separate payment request for the ZVW directly from the Dutch tax office. 

Health care cost insurance

Everyone in the Netherlands is obliged to take out health insurance, even if you are only living and working temporarily in the country.

Foreign health insurance

It is often recommended that during the initial period of your stay in the Netherlands, you keep the insurance you had in your country of origin. This is on the condition it covers your possible costs here, so be sure to confirm that in advance.

If you are a resident of the Netherlands, you are, in principle, obliged to take out Dutch health insurance, even if you are already insured back home. This ensures that every person is protected against the financial risks of illness and hospital admission. You are free to choose your own health insurer (zorgverzekeraar) offering the basic package (basisverzekering) and are allowed to change insurers once a year. To register for health insurance, you will require a social security number(burgerservicenummer or BSN).

Please note: If you are not covered by Dutch health insurance, you risk being fined and billed retroactively for the months you were not insured.

Health coverage

The foundation of the Dutch healthcare system is the mandatory basic health insurance policy (basisverzekering). The coverage of this standard package is determined by the government and includes medical care by specialists, GPs and midwives, hospital care, medication, rehabilitation, dental help for persons younger than 22, mental healthcare and necessary medical help during a holiday or business trip abroad.

Health insurance companies have an obligation to accept everyone for this package, irrespective of gender, age and health. Health insurance companies also offer additional premium plans (aanvullende verzekering). These may cover things such as physiotherapy, spectacles, dental care for persons 22 years and older, and alternative medicine. You will always have an excess or deductible (eigen risico) of at least €150.

You can take out health insurance with any one of a number of insurance companies. Check whether your employer offers corporate health insurance. For a comparison of insurances and prices, consult the following website (only in Dutch):

If you have too little income to be able to pay the full Zvw-contribution, then you can apply for financial compensation from the Dutch Tax Authorities: the so-called care allowance.


You may come from a country with which the Netherlands has entered into an agreement in the field of social security; this applies in any case to all EU countries. In this case, your personal circumstances may be such that you are not eligible for direct insurance via the Zvw and the AWBZ. For example, because you still have statutory health insurance in your former country of residence. The health insurer with whom you register can provide you with more information about this.

Blue Umbrella for Dutch tax matters

Living and working in the Netherlands for a time? We can help you with your Dutch taxes, so you don't have to deal with the Belastingdienst yourself. Whether you're employed or have a small business, we'll make your life easier and save you money.