Register with the municipality and get your BSN

If you are staying in the Netherlands for more than 4 months you will need to go to the municipality and register as a resident in the Personal Records Database (BRP). This will enable you to get your Citizen Service number (Burgerservicenummer or BSN).

You need a BSN to open a bank account, take out health insurance or get a job or internship position in the Netherlands.

Many universities and universities of applied sciences also facilitate municipal registration at special intake days for international students.

There are 3 ways to avoid delays in obtaining your BSN:

  1. Be prepared.
    Arrange important documents such as birth certificates and make sure your passport is valid. If possible, find accommodation in the Netherlands before you leave.
  2. Register at your municipality as soon as possible.
    Do not miss out on the special arrangements your institution has made. Ask your international office for more information.
  3. Know your rights.
    There are only three grounds on which the municipality can refuse your registration: ​​​​
    • you do not have a valid passport or European identity card;
    • you do not have lawful residence;
    • you have no intention to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 4 months.

Read more about the BSN on

Get your DigiD

After you receive your BSN, you can apply for a DigiD. This ID allows you to take care of government related issues online. You can use DigiD to log in to government websites like Studielink, DUO (study finances), Belastingdienst (taxes) or municipality services.

Find out more about DigiD on (including videos) or

Open a bank account

If you stay in the Netherlands for a long period, it is useful to open a bank account. Most people use a Maestro debit card (pinpas in Dutch). Many grocery stores do not accept credit cards and some stores have even stopped accepting cash.

You must have a bank account if you are working or doing an internship.

Read more about banking matters on

Apply for health insurance

Dutch health insurance is compulsory for all residents of the Netherlands. Students often stay on a temporary basis, so may not be obliged to get insured. Things change if you also do an internship or have a part-time job.

Read more on our page about health insurance

Insure your stuff

There are several things you can insure yourself for. For instance, liability, repatriation and travel insurance are common things to have in the Netherlands.

Another important one is the household insurance (inboedelverzekering in Dutch). This insurance covers the contents of your student room against loss due to fire, water damage or burglaries.

Many insurance companies offer student discounts or competitively priced insurance packages. It may look expensive, but it is really worth it to be properly insured.

Read more about insurance matters on our page about insurances.