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To the Doctor & Health Insurance

Getting a general practitioner and (health) insurance are not the most interesting things to read up on. However, both are necessary and in some cases even mandatory when you are studying in the Netherlands. Did you know that in the Netherlands you have to go to your GP for medical advice before you can go to the hospital? And did you know that health insurance only covers costs when you have arranged your insurance prior to the development of any symptoms?

General Practitioner
In the Netherlands, your GP is the first point of contact for medical advice. You can only go to, for example, a psychologist or medical specialist at the hospital once you have been referred to them by your GP. 

In the Netherlands, you are free to choose your General Practitioner (“huisarts” or family doctor). You can use websites such as Zorgkaart Nederland to find a general practitioner close to you. It is advised to register at a general practitioner as soon as possible. Most doctors in the Netherlands speak English, but if you do want a general practitioner that is specialized in expats, you can go to the Studentarts in Groningen. The GP can also help you with everything you need regarding your health insurance since this can be a little complicated sometimes. The GP visits are always covered by Dutch health insurance. You can register for free at any GP practice. It is important to do this before any medical problems arise, so you can quickly receive help when you need it.

You can contact your general practitioner for all medical problems, except for emergencies. They can treat the problem themselves if possible, or refer you to a specialist. You always need a referral from your general practitioner before you can see a specialist.

If you urgently need a doctor outside of office hours, you need to call the Doctors Service (“doktersdienst”). The phone number for the Doctors Service Groningen is: 0900-9229.

If you experience an acute medical emergency, you can call the national emergency number 112.


Health insurance
Having a good health insurance package is necessary and even mandatory when you are staying in the Netherlands on a residence permit with ‘study’ as your purpose of stay. The health insurance company will cover medical expenses like consultations with your general practitioner, psychological and specialized care, but also repatriation to your home country if that is necessary. It is important to get insured before you start suffering from medical problems, because only in this case will the policy cover your costs.

Get insured in a few simple steps
The university of Groningen thinks its important that students are properly insured. Because of this, in collaboration with AON Insurance, they offer the possibility to get insured for medical expenses, among other things. From 15 November until 15 December 2021, students of the UG can take out the Complete+ insurance policy, which will cover care for existing medical issues as well. For more information and to take out the insurance, please go to this website:

Of course, it is also possible to take out the insurance after 15 December 2021. However, the care for existing medical issues will not be covered in that policy then.

Already insured but unsure about the coverage? Please check: