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Education Bachelor's Bachelor's international students Study in Groningen Living in the Netherlands

Healthcare in the Netherlands

At the University of Groningen, your well-being matters to us. We understand that diving into a new healthcare system can feel overwhelming, but no worries - we've got your back. This page is your go-to resource for unraveling the ins and outs of health insurance in the Netherlands. From the role of a general practitioner to medical support and emergency services, we've compiled all the essential information you need.

Health Insurance

In the Netherlands, having valid health insurance is a legal requirement for everyone residing here, including international students. It's important that you are properly insured by an internationally recognized insurance provider. We highly recommend you arrange your insurance before your departure. Please note that international students are not automatically enrolled in the Dutch healthcare system, so make sure you  arrange your own private health insurance coverage!

Having comprehensive health insurance is essential as it will cover the costs of medical care and medication during your stay in the Netherlands. It's crucial to be proactive in obtaining the appropriate health insurance before your arrival to ensure you have access to the healthcare services when you need it . Below you will find all relevant information suitable to your personal situation.

Important! We strongly advise you to arrange your insurances before your departure to the Netherlands

I am a non-EU/EEA-student (Private Healthcare Insurance)

If you are a non-EU/EEA student, you need to ensure yourself through Private Healthcare insurance. It is possible to arrange this within your home country or within the Netherlands. Make sure you check the coverage provided by the insurance company to ensure it meets the requirements for your time in the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands, it is common to have multiple insurances, for example to cover traveling risks, (health) care, household and more. If you are planning to study in Groningen, we recommend you to check the insurances you will need during your stay. Private health insurance for international students often includes comprehensive coverage, including health, liability, home, and travel insurance. This ensures that you have adequate protection for your health, personal belongings, and any potential liabilities that may arise during your time in Groningen. 

At the University of Groningen, we find it important that you are well insured during your student time here. Reputable insurance providers such as AON offer insurance packages designed specifically for international students. These insurance packages are comprehensive and provide the necessary coverage for your stay in the Netherlands.

It's important to review the details of the insurance policy, including the coverage limits and any specific requirements. This will help you make an informed decision about the insurance that best suits your needs.

For more information and guidance on the recommended insurance options, please reach out to the university's Immigration Service Desk . They will provide you with the necessary support and information to ensure that you have appropriate insurance coverage during your time in the Netherlands.

I am an EU/EEA-student (European Health Insurance Card - EHIC)

Students from within the EU/EEA are insured through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). However, it's important to note that the level of coverage provided by the EHIC may vary per country. While costs for emergency medicine will most likely be covered, expenses for services such as psychological help or physical therapy may not be included.

To ensure that you have comprehensive coverage during your stay in the Netherlands, we recommend checking the specifics of your EHIC coverage. If necessary, it is advisable to apply for additional travel, household, and accountability insurance through a private health insurance available in the Netherlands.

At the University of Groningen, we find it important that you are well insured during your student time here. Reputable insurance providers such as AON offer insurance packages designed specifically for international students. These insurance packages are comprehensive and provide the necessary coverage for your stay in the Netherlands.

Private health insurance can offer broader coverage, including services that may not be fully covered by the EHIC. It is important to have comprehensive coverage for both your physical and mental well-being while studying in Groningen.

The university's Immigration Service Desk will be able to guide you and provide information about the private health insurance options tailored for EU/EEA students. They can help you understand the coverage offered by different insurance providers and assist you in making the right decision based on your individual needs.

Dutch Basic Health Insurance (obligated for all students)

As an international student studying at the University of Groningen, it's important to understand the requirements for Dutch public healthcare insurance. It’s important to arrange the right insurance suitable to your circumstances before your departure, so that your medical expenses are covered if anything happens. Additionally, regulations surrounding healthcare insurance can vary based on your personal situation. Let's break it down:

  • Employment or Internship:
    If you have a (part-time) job or paid internship in the Netherlands, you are required to take out Dutch public healthcare insurance.

  • PhD Scholarship Students
    PhD Scholarship students are obligated to have Dutch public healthcare insurance too.

If you fall into any of these categories, you are obliged to take out Dutch Basic Health Insurance. This insurance covers the cost of basic medical care and is a legal requirement. Additionally, depending on your situation, you may be eligible for Zorgtoeslag, which is a healthcare payment allowance. 

To find the most suitable Dutch Basic Health Insurance for your needs, you can consult Zorgwijzer. This website provides an overview of different insurance options, comparing what they cover and what they cost. It is important to note that Dutch healthcare insurance (“basiszorgverzekering”) only covers basic medical care. It does not include liability insurance, home insurance, or travel insurance. For additional coverage, you can consider taking out an additional insurance package. The University of Groningen can inform you about your options.

Understanding and obtaining the right health insurance coverage is crucial to ensure that you have access to the necessary healthcare services during your stay in the Netherlands. If you have any further questions or need assistance, you can reach out to our Immigration Service Desk .

Important concepts

As you begin your studies in Groningen, it's crucial to acquaint yourself with key healthcare concepts in the Netherlands. In the sections below, we provide a concise introduction to help you grasp important aspects of the Dutch healthcare system. Let's dive in and unlock the knowledge you need for a successful and healthy stay in the Netherlands.


In the Netherlands, the General Practitioner (GP) or “huisarts” is your first point of contact. Being registered to a “huisarts” is a vital step in making sure you get the help you need, when you need it.

Here you'll find a few possible GP's in Groningen, but you are at liberty to choose any other GP.

Via the website you'll find an extensive list with GP's in Groningen and Leeuwarden.

If you urgently need the help of a GP at night, during the weekend or on a public holiday, you should call the Medical Services:

Huisartsen spoedpost Groningen:


Dokterswacht Friesland:


It's important to know where to seek mental healthcare when needed. In the Netherlands, there is a sector organisation of specialist mental health and addiction care providers (Geestelijke Gezondheidszorg - GGZ). Your general practitioner, or "huisarts," can refer you to more mental healthcare professionals such as psychologists or psychiatrists. Additionally, the University of Groningen offers short-term therapy services through its own psychologists, although they are not specialized in crisis situations.

  • If you find yourself in a mental health crisis during regular office hours, please contact your huisarts/GP for assistance. They will be able to provide guidance and support.

  • For mental health crises that occur outside regular office hours, please contact the Huisartsenpost (emergency GP's office) for immediate assistance.

  • In case of a mental health crisis where you or someone you know may be at risk of self-harm or suicide, please contact 113 Suicide Prevention. You can reach them by calling '113' or visiting for help with suicide prevention.

If you have any further questions or need additional guidance, don't hesitate to reach out to the university's Student Service Centre or consult your healthcare provider. Your well-being is important to us, and we encourage you to prioritize your mental health as you navigate your academic journey in Groningen.

Medical Emergencies

Knowing how to respond in emergency situations is crucial for your safety and well-being. Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind during your stay in the Netherlands:

  • Emergency Services

In case of an emergency or life-threatening situation, dial 112. This number will connect you to the police, fire department, and ambulance services. They will provide the necessary assistance from healthcare practitioners.

  • Suicide Prevention

If you or someone you know is at risk of self-harm or experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact 113 Suicide Prevention. You can reach them by calling '113' or visiting They provide valuable support and guidance for suicide prevention.

  • Hospital Visits

In the Netherlands, hospital visits are typically reserved for emergencies or specialized care. Unless it is an emergency, it is important to always contact your general practitioner (GP) first. Your GP will assess your situation and refer you to a specialist if necessary. It's worth noting that emergency rooms can be expensive, and non-life-threatening cases may be redirected to the GP.

Groningen has two hospitals:

University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)

Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ Groningen

Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen

Martini Hospital

Van Swietenplein 1, 9728 NX Groningen

Martini Ziekenhuis

Leeuwarden has one hospital:

Medisch Centrum Leeuwarden

Henri Dunantweg 2, 8934 AD Leeuwarden

Medisch Centrum Leeuwarden

When seeking medical care, remember to always carry your health insurance card with you. This card will provide important information for healthcare professionals and ensure a smoother process when receiving treatment.


When it comes to dental and oral healthcare in the Netherlands, there are some important points to keep in mind:

Coverage for Dentistry
It's essential to carefully review your insurance package to determine if dentistry is covered. If dental care is included, make sure to keep your receipts for treatment so that you can request a refund from your insurance company.

Private Dental Practices
To receive dental treatment, you will need to visit a private dental practice in the Netherlands. There are various dental clinics and practitioners available, and it's advisable to research and choose a reputable one in your area.

Dental Costs
Dental treatments and services can vary in cost. It's recommended to inquire about the fees and charges associated with dental procedures before undergoing any treatment. This will help you make informed decisions and plan your budget accordingly.


In the Netherlands, it's important to understand the distinction between a pharmacy (“apotheek”) and a drugstore/chemist (“drogist”) when it comes to purchasing medicines and related products. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Drugstore/Chemist (Drogist)
    At a drugstore or chemist, you will find toiletries, over-the-counter medicines, and products for minor complaints such as headaches or common ailments. These establishments offer a range of non-prescription items that you can purchase without a doctor's prescription.

  • Pharmacy (Apotheek)
    If you have received a prescription for medication from your doctor or specialist, you must take it to a pharmacy (“apotheek”). Pharmacies dispense prescription medicines and provide professional advice regarding their proper use. It is important to register with a local pharmacy, similar to how you register with your general practitioner (GP). Most GPs have a pharmacy nearby where you can register, but each area in the city typically has at least one pharmacy with regular office hours.

  • Medication Regulations
    Please be aware that not all medications can be brought into the Netherlands without certain requirements. It's advisable to check with the Dutch embassy in your country to determine if you need a medical certificate or any specific documentation for your medication.


For a wide range of health-related information and services, you can turn to the Public Health Department, known as the Gemeenschappelijke Gezondheidsdienst or GGD. Here's what you need to know:

  • Information and Services
    The GGD provides valuable information and resources on various health-related topics. Whether you have questions about specific diseases, preventive measures, or general health advice, the GGD can be a reliable source of information. They also offer services such as vaccinations and tests for diseases.

  • Vaccinations and Disease Tests
    If you require vaccinations or need to undergo tests for certain diseases, the GGD can assist you. They have professionals who specialize in administering vaccinations and conducting necessary tests to ensure your health and well-being.

  • Confidentiality and Anonymity
    It's important to note that when visiting the GGD, you have the option to remain anonymous if you wish. Your privacy and confidentiality are respected, allowing you to seek the information or services you need without disclosing personal details if you prefer.

To access the GGD 's services, you can contact them directly or visit their website for more information.

Well-being (for UG students)

Are you a student at the University of Groningen? Explore our Well-being Portal for resources on mental, physical and financial health. Click the button below for vital information to enhance your student experience.

I thought mental healthcare was covered, but it was not. Fortunately, I was able to arrange additional insurance in advance and got the right care in time during my studies - Martin, Bulgaria
I did not know that it was common in the Netherlands to get insurance for several things. And that it was even mandatory for my Dutch residence permit. - Luna, Mexico
Last modified:02 April 2024 2.45 p.m.