Health and safety

Of course we hope that your stay in the Netherlands will be without any problems regarding your health or safety. And most likely this will be the case. However, should you need any medical assistance or emergency services (ambulance, police or fire brigade), here is some useful information.


  • Ambulance, police or fire brigade: call 112 (this is the general European emergency number).
  • For police matters that are not an emergency: call 0900-8844.
  • Utrecht University Security: call 030-253 4444 or call 4444 from a campus phone.

Health Services

If you need to find a Doctor, Dentist or Pharmacy in the area where you live, you can find one in the yellow pages:
Below are some useful Dutch terms to help you in your search.

Useful Dutch Terms

Here are some Dutch terms that will help you find what you need:

  • Doctor/ General Practitioner = Dokter/ Huisarts
  • Dentist = Tandarts
  • Pharmacy = Apotheek
  • Hospital = Ziekenhuis
  • Emergency Room = Eerste Hulp

Outside Opening Hours

If you need medical assistance outside of your doctor's office hours, you can contact a Huisartsenpost. Please call: 0900-4501450.

Health insurance

You must carry health insurance throughout your stay in the Netherlands. Medical costs are high, so make sure your health insurance covers the Dutch tariffs. To give you an example, one day in hospital can cost up to €1300, not including the cost of treatment. The University recommends the Dutch providers of student insurance packages for students (see below), as the coverage meets all legal requirements in the Netherlands.

Residence permit

To obtain a residence permit you must have an adequate health insurance.

Insured in your own country?

If you are insured via social security or welfare in your own country, you should ask whether there is a reciprocal agreement between your country and the Netherlands with regard to health insurance. If this is the case you should ask for a Health Card (EHIC) from the social security or welfare department in your country before you leave for the Netherlands. This form indicates that you are insured against medical costs in the Netherlands. Make sure that your health insurance covers the Dutch tariffs, as medical costs are (very) high!

Make sure you always carry proof of health insurance with you, because you will need it whenever you use one of the health services in the Netherlands. If you have a private health insurance, you should ask whether it covers your stay in the Netherlands. Please note that some insurance companies only extend foreign coverage for a few months. If necessary, you can arrange private health insurance upon arrival.

The Dutch health insurance system

Dutch nationals are insured through a basisverzekering (basic health insurance package), and have the option to extend this coverage with additional packages. Dental care and prescription glasses are usually not covered in a standard Dutch policy, nor does it cover all costs incurred during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal care.

This basisverzekering is also required for certain international students:

  • Students of all ages who have a (part-time) job.
  • Students over 30 years old who plan to stay for more than one year.

For more information about the basisverzekering and the regulations surrounding it, visit the Nuffic website, and read the fact sheet on ‘health insurance for foreign students in the Netherlands’. Please note that if you are required to have a basisverzekering but you do not apply for it, you may be fined.

Student insurance packages

If you are not required to take out a basisverzekering, you can apply for an insurance package offered by a private company. AON offers an insurance package for international students. This insurance package covers medical expenses, extraordinary costs, legal aid, accidents, liability and baggage cover and household goods. We strongly recommend that you apply for this insurance. The premium is approximately €39 per month. You will find more information about the conditions on the AON website.

Personal liability insurance

Personal liability insurance is not compulsory but strongly recommended. It insures you against costs incurred if you cause damage to someone else or their possessions (for example: if you cause a traffic accident with your bicycle or as a pedestrian). You may be able to arrange such insurance prior to arrival in the Netherlands (in combination with your health insurance). Otherwise it will have to wait until you are here. Personal liability is included in the student insurance packages. Don’t forget a good travel insurance and check your car insurance if applicable.

Fire and theft insurance

This insurance is not obliged, but most Dutch people have a fire and theft insurance. You can insure your personal belongings such as audiovisual equipment, cd´s, books, jewellery, clothing etc. against theft from a locked space and fire and water damage. The premium depends on the value of your personal belongings.