Healthcare and insurance
The Netherlands has a good healthcare system. Learn more about healthcare in the Netherlands and the health insurance options for international students.
Basic medical help In the Netherlands starts with the GP (general practitioner, family doctor or "huisarts" in Dutch). For almost all health issues, you usually contact your GP first. Important: you need to find a GP in your local area and sign up there first.
Sign up with a GP
For medical help during office hours you can call your GP (family doctor, or "huisarts" in Dutch). You need to sign up with a GP practice first. GPs generally only take patients from the local area, so find one in your neighborhood.
Drop-in hour or appointment
Some larger practices have a drop-in hour ("inloopuur"). That's usually a time in the early morning when you can see a doctor without making an appointment. That's only for small health issues. For other, more serious or complex issues, call to make an appointment. It is customary in the Netherlands to first describe your problem to the doctor's assistant. The assistant is trained to give advice for the most common health problems. Sometimes that might be enough. If not, the assistant will schedule an appointment for you to see the doctor.
Don't go to the Emergency Room at a hospital unless there is an emergency. If the GP thinks that further medical examination is necessary, they will refer you to a specialist, often located at the hospital. This is customary in the Netherlands.
For medical help outside regular office hours or on weekends and holidays, contact the local out-of-hours surgery ("Coöperatieve huisartsenpost" in Dutch). They have a rotating schedule during which somebody is always on call. Contact them by phone first to request an appointment. What if your problem is serious and urgent? Then you can go straight to the Emergency Room. If you're in doubt, call the out-of-hours surgery. They can advise you on what to do.
In urgent need of an ambulance, the police or the fire brigade? Call 112. This is the national toll-free emergency phone number.
Please note: If you call an ambulance and it turns out it was not necessary, you have to pay the costs. This can be very expensive. It might be better to call your GP's office. They often have a number to press in case of emergencies so you don't have to wait on the line.
For prescription medicines in the Netherlands, go to the pharmacy ("apotheek" in Dutch). Your doctor will usually write out the prescription online and send it directly to the pharmacy. Please note that the contraceptive pill is only available on a doctor's prescription in the Netherlands.
For non-prescription medicines (over-the-counter medicines like paracetemol or cough syrup), you can go to the drugstore ("drogist" in Dutch). The Netherlands has a few large drugstore chains, Kruidvat, Etos, DA. Most towns have at least one of these. Supermarkets also stock basic over-the-counter medicines, but they are usually a bit more expensive than the drugstores.
As a HAN student you can get in touch with one of the student psychologists. They have offices in both Arnhem and Nijmegen. For more info about counseling options at HAN, go to our Student Services page.
Your GP can also help in finding a psychologist or therapist. Your health insurance will not cover the costs of a consult with all psychologists or therapists. So ask your doctor to refer you to a therapist whose consults will be covered. The same is valid if you need to see a physiotherapist or any other therapist.
Student health insurance
There are 4 health insurance options depending on your situation:
- AON health insurance for financial guarantee students. Are you required to pay the financial guarantee? Then you receive AON health insurance for the 1st year. Or for 1 semester if you start your degree in February or do an exchange. The cost of this insurance is included in the financial guarantee. The International Office arranges this on your behalf. After this period, you must renew and pay for the insurance yourself. More about the Financial Guarantee.
- Health insurance from home country. Your insurance policy in your home country might cover your stay in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has health insurance agreements with most European countries. Also, with some non-European countries. In that case, request an international declaration form or a European Health Insurance Card from your health insurance company. Bring these with you as you will need them when you see a doctor. And make sure the documents are written in a common European language (English, French, German or Spanish).
- Dutch public health insurance. Are you employed in the Netherlands? Or doing a paid internship? You have to get Dutch public health insurance. The cost of this is often higher than student insurance. See more about Working as a Student.
- Private health insurance. Not covered under public health insurance of the Netherlands or your home country? You have to get a private health insurance policy. There are special policies available for international students in the Netherlands.
HAN International Office
The HAN International Office provides support for incoming international and outgoing exchange students. International students that have been accepted at HAN University of Applied Sciences can count on International Office staff to help them with practical matters.