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Work and health insurance (international students)

Last modified on 19-03-2024 17:06
If you’re working alongside your studies or doing volunteer work, you must get Dutch health insurance even if you're already insured elsewhere.
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You are required by Dutch law to have health insurance for the duration of your stay in the Netherlands. Read more about what happens if you don’t have health insurance.

Dutch health insurance is mandatory for working students

Having Dutch health insurance is mandatory if you wish to work in the Netherlands, whether it’s a part-time job alongside your studies, volunteer work or employment after graduation. Dutch health insurance is also required if you’re doing an internship that pays you the Dutch minimum wage or more. All international students (EU and non-EU) must have Dutch health insurance to work. 

If you’re in the Netherlands to study only and have no plans to work, then you cannot apply for Dutch health insurance.

Switching between insurances

If you’re paying for a (supplemental) private health insurance, you will have to switch your insurance to a standard Dutch health insurance ('basisverzekering' in Dutch) when you start working. You’ll have to change back to your (supplemental) private health insurance when you stop working.


Standard health insurance in the Netherlands costs around €1,500 a year. In addition, there is a yearly insurance excess, meaning you have to pay some of your initial health costs yourself. However, you may be eligible for financial aid in the form of a healthcare benefit ('zorgtoeslag' in Dutch).

Insurance excess

The yearly insurance excess for Dutch health insurance is €385 (2023). This means that you must pay the first €385 in health care costs yourself, before you can start receiving reimbursements from the insurance company.

This excess does not apply to costs for visits to a GP, obstetric or gynaecological care, maternity care or dental care if you’re under 18.

Financial aid

International students working alongside their studies are often entitled to financial aid from the Dutch government. This is meant to compensate the costs of the Dutch health insurance you had to buy in order to work. To receive this healthcare benefit, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Have Dutch health insurance
  • Have a residence permit and a BSN (citizen service nummer)
  • Earn less than a certain amount (the exact figure varies each year)

For more information about this healthcare benefit, visit the Dutch tax administration websiteExternal link.


Standard health insurance in the Netherlands covers:

    • Essential health care such as visits to a doctor/general practitioner (GP), maternity care and hospital care
    • Emergency medical care
    • Essential medicines

What is not covered:

  • Standard Dutch health insurance does not cover dental costs if you are over 18. Make sure your insurance company at home covers dental care costs abroad, or take out a supplemental health insurance that includes dental care.
  • Paramedical services such as physiotherapy, chiropractic services etc.

Taking out Dutch health insurance

Get a Citizen Service Number (BSN)

Before you can take out Dutch health insurance, you must get a citizen service number ('BSN' in Dutch). This is a unique ID number, equivalent to a tax and social security number. You’ll receive this BSN when you register with the municipality. Read more on www.uva.nl/workExternal link.

Choose an insurance company

If you intend to work only some of the time, make sure you choose an insurance company that allows you to switch easily between private insurance for international students (which you’ll need when not working) and standard Dutch health insurance (which you’ll need while employed).

There are many different insurance companies in the Netherlands you can choose from. On the website Zorgwijzer.nlExternal link (in English) you can compare the different policies available. Some insurance agencies offer special deals for students, such as the AON student health insuranceExternal link.


If you're unsure about whether you need standard Dutch health insurance, or if you have questions about it, please contact the Zorgverzekeringslijn.nlExternal link.