Even though it is hard to qualify healthcare, Dutch healthcare is rated very well in Europe. In the unfortunate event you get sick during your time in The Netherlands, you are in very capable hands. Our healthcare system may well differ from what you are used to at home, therefore we have selected a number of topics to make you acquainted with Dutch healthcare.

General practitioner (huisarts)

Your first point of contact for healthcare in the Netherlands is your general practitioner (huisarts). If you are sick and want to see a doctor, you call your GP and make an appointment. Making an appointment may not be necessary if the general practicioner makes use of walk-in hours. A GP appointment generally takes around 10 minutes. In urgent cases, and typically on specific times, a GP may be available for house visits as well.

Consulting a specialist

If your GP believes it necessary, he/she will refer you to a specialist. This usually is the nearest hospital (determined through postcode), but if you prefer a different hospital, you may indicate this. Specialists usually ask for a GP’s letter of referral. In addition, your health insurance may lay down specific requirements for consulting a specialist. It is therefore highly recommended only to consult a specialist after referral by your general practicioner.

Finding a general practicioner or dentist

Finding a general practitioner (huisarts)
While it may be easy to consult a doctor near your house, you are not required or limited to his/her care. You may want to keep in mind that not all general practicioners have capacity for new patients, and not all of them may speak English fluently.

On the student affairs website, you will find an up-to-date overview of general practicioners in the Leiden/The Hague region. In addition, you can always ask for your neighbours' help and/or their experiences with doctors in the area.

Finding a dentist
The procedure for finding a dentist is similar for finding a GP. You can look for a dentist near you and inform if he/she is accepting new patients.

Sick during working hours

On the first day that you are sick, and on the first day that you are better, you should notify your manager in line with the procedures agreed within your faculty or department.  If your absence lasts four weeks you are invited to an (compulsory) appointment with the University doctor. For more information, please check the 'Illness and incapacity for work' page.


The emergency phone number (in case you need an ambulance, the police or fire brigade) is 112. If you are in need of first aid, help you can go to the nearest hospital for immediate medical help. When you arrive at the hospital, follow the EHBO (eerste hulp bij ongevallen) or SEH (spoedeisende hulp) signs. The hospital will ask for your insurance card for administrative reasons. It is therefore wise to always carry this card with you.

Last Modified: 17-02-2016