Family doctors and dentists
Family doctor or General Practitioners (GP’s)
The first point of contact in getting healthcare in the Netherlands is via a family doctor or General Practitioner (GP). He/she will help you or forward you to a specialist when needed.
It is therefore important to register with a family doctor (huisarts in Dutch) or GP soon after arriving in the Netherlands. If you have not registered with a GP and you then become ill, you may have difficulty finding a nearby doctor who is taking patients, as their practice may already be full.
How to find a doctor
To search for a local doctor, go to the zorgkaartnederland.nl website (in Dutch) and enter your postal code. Or you can visit your Gemeentehuis (town / city hall) and ask for a gemeentegids (a booklet issued by your municipality containing information about as doctors, sports groups, day care, etc.), which will have a list of all the local GPs.
Your GP may wish to have a consultation appointment with you to go over your medical history. This is a good opportunity to have any questions about healthcare in the Netherlands answered.
Making appointments with a GP
You can call your GP directly to make an appointment, or go to the spreekuur (consultation hour) of your clinic, usually early in the morning, where you can speak to your doctor without an appointment. You may also be able to consult the doctor (or assistant) over the phone in the case of simple questions. Some GPs also make house calls for special cases, usually after hours or during a specifically allotted time. If your doctor is away or during weekends, they will leave an answering message with the number of another doctor and possibly the number of the emergency service doktersdienst. The replacing doctor varies area to area, so the service will give you the name and number of a doctor on duty near you, or have the doctor call you. The other option is to call your local huisartsenpost.
Making appointments with a specialist
If you wish to see a specialist, you will need a referral from a general practitioner. You will also need to show this referral to your insurance company if you wish the costs to be covered. Once you have a referral, you can make an appointment with the specialist directly. If you know the specialist you wish to see, you may request a referral to that person.
Dentists & Dental care in the Netherlands
Dentistry is privatised in the Netherlands and not covered by basic insurance policies (except for children under 18 and specialist dental care, such as surgery).
There are over five thousand clinics in the Netherlands. Traditionally, dentists (tandarts in Dutch) in the Netherlands work in their own single-dentist clinic, although the trend is that clinics are becoming larger with more than one dentist per clinic.
Finding a dentist
Given the number of clinics, you should be able to find one easily in your area. Tandarts.nl or zorgkaartnederland.nl can help you to find a dentist . Be prepared that clinics are full and it may be difficult to find one taking on new patients, so be prepared to ring around.
Dental care costs
Other dental care can only be insured by taking out “extras” for your policy. Depending on your health insurance, this could cover up to 75 per cent of the costs.
Dentists list their prices on their website and insurance companies have comparable lists of how much they will cover for each service, allowing people to choose their own level of care and expenditure.
Dental surgeons are usually affiliated with a hospital, while orthodontists work in private practice. In order to visit one of these (or another type, such as a children’s dentist) you will need a referral from a regular dentist.
For dental hygiene practices you don’t need a referral to visit.