International students who study or work in the Netherlands are legally required to have health insurance. There are different rules that apply to different situations.

Study purposes only

You are legally not allowed to take out a Dutch public health insurance if you are in the Netherlands for study purposes only. Make sure you have a health insurance from your home country with enough coverage or take out a private health insurance or health insurance from your home country.

If you are from the EU/EEA you may be eligible to receive a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which covers your necessary medical costs during your stay. Please make sure you check this with your health insurer in your home country as this might differ per EU-member state. See the website of the European Commission for further information on EHIC.

Study and internship

If you are doing an internship for which you are paid at least as much as the Dutch minimum wage, you are subject to compulsory insurance under the Wlz scheme. Check this explanation of the minimum wage.

If you receive expenses this will also count as remuneration for your internship. You should bear in mind that room and board may also be regarded as remuneration. Contact the SVB and start the Wlz assessment when you are in doubt.

Study and work

You are required to have a Dutch public health insurance if you have a (part-time) job.

Do you work on a self-employed basis (in Dutch: ZZP-er), contact the SVB and request an assessment of your Wlz position. The SVB will decide whether you need to take out a Dutch public health insurance or not.

How to take out a Dutch public health insurance?

  1. You must be registered with a municipality before you can take out a basic health insurance.
  2. Choose your health insurance from one of the Dutch public health insurers. Fill out the application form and sent it to the health insurer.
  3. The registration is complete once you have received an insurance policy (in Dutch: polisblad).
  4. If you stop working or if you leave the Netherlands, cancel your insurance. Do not forget to deregister from the municipality.
  5. When you have finished your studies and decide to stay in the Netherlands, you must apply for a health insurance when you start to work. During an orientation year with a search visa you are not allowed to take out a Dutch public health insurance if you have not started to work. You can take out an international health insurance.

When taking out health insurance, please make sure to check Checklist-How-to-take-out-Dutch-basic-health-insurance ( to know what you should look out for and what differences there are in terms of health insurance.

You can find more information on health insurance in the Netherlands on the website of Zorgverzekeringslijn.

Health care benefit

You can only apply for health care benefit (in Dutch: zorgtoeslag) if you are eligible for a Dutch public health insurance via the Dutch Tax Office (in Dutch: Belastingdienst).

Received a letter from the CAK?

You might receive a letter from the CAK about your insurance obligation. You need to take action within 3 months or you will receive a fine of € 402,24. Even if you incorrectly received the letter from the CAK.

  1. It is important to contact the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB) to request (free of charge) an investigation of your insurance position under the Wlz scheme. For this request, please go to the website of the SVB.
  2. Keep in mind that it might take 6-8 weeks before you receive the outcome of the Wlz assessment. Therefore, take action immediately after receiving the letter from the CAK.
  3. Send a copy of the decision from the SVB about your insurance position to the CAK. Use the contactform and chose option ‘regeling onverzekerden’.
  4. CAK will close your file if the outcome of the Wlz assessment states that you are not to be insured.



(Sociale Verzekeringsbank) is the organisation that implements national insurance schemes in the Netherlands.
Website of the SVB
Tel. +31 20 656 48 48


A government organisation responsible for the uninsured regulation. Sends the letters, issues fines and takes further action to get you insured.
Website of the CAK
Tel. +31 800 50 28 option 2 (regeling onverzekerden)


The Dutch Tax Office. They give out health care benefit if you are eligible for a Dutch public health insurance.
Website of the Belastingdienst
Tel. +31 800 05 43


Hotline for independent advice and practical tips about how to solve health insurance issues.
Website of the Zorgverzekeringslijn
Tel. +31 800 646 46 44 / +31 88 900 69 60

What to do if you fall ill?

If you are not feeling well or have complaints you must first go and see your general practitioner (GP), or in Dutch huisarts. The GP decides whether to send you to see a specialist and, if necessary, send you to a hospital. If you need medicines, you will receive a prescription from the GP. With the prescription you can collect the medicine at a local pharmacy (apotheek).


In case of an accident or other emergency situation, call 112 for an ambulance.