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Medical care in the Netherlands

Medicines and doctors

Common questions and answers about medicins and doctors in The Netherlands.

My child has a chronic disease, how do I ensure she still gets the same meds and treatment?

If your child has a chronical condition, ask your current physician to draw up a summary of his/her records for you to bring with. That way there will be no questions asked and you will receive the same treatment as in S.A.

What about immunisations?

Immunisations are done at the “Consultatiebureau”. Here you can expect to be seen by a physician as well as a nurse. Whenever your child is due for an immunisation you will be contacted via post to notify you of an appointment made and the address where your child is expected. Once you are here you will also be contacted by the “Gezondheidsdienst” and they will ask you to send a copy of your child’s immunisation card to them. Please keep this handy, so that you will be able to send it to them within the first few weeks of arriving.

I hear flu meds and antibiotics are hard to come by…how will I cope?

The good news is that this is nothing new and the Netherlands still seem to have population growth. The Dutch do not believe in over medicating for obvious reasons when it comes to antibiotics. It is advised to bring a little stock of flu meds, but you will soon enough discover your preferred cures that are available from the shelves here.

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Related subjects

Childcare facilities

In the Netherlands there are three main types of organised childcare facilities: Kinderdagverblijf, Gastouder and Buitenschoolse / Naschoolse Opvang - BSO (After School Hours Care). For the childcare facilities you can apply for a “kinderbijslag”.

Education system

From age 4 they attend elementary school (“Basisschool”) of which the first two years are similar to kindergarten, but as soon as your child turns 5 years old they are expected to show up daily.

Child allowance

When you life and work in the Netherlands, you may qualify for “kindgebondenbudget” or also called “kindertoeslag” which is a child support benefit.

Dutch language

If your child speaks Afrikaans it takes about three weeks to get used to the Dutch accent, thereafter your child should be able to deduce what is said to him/her if the speaker speaks slowly and with a few hand gestures.

Swimming diploma

It is compulsory for children to go for swimming lessons and to qualify by doing a diploma called “A, B, C” swemdiploma. It makes sense as there is so much water here in the Netherlands!


Once in the Netherlands, you'll notice some frequently used terminology, like: kinderdagverblijf, gastouder, naschoolsopvang.