Are you a doctor and want to move to the Netherlands? You have picked a good destination. Doctors are the highest-paid occupation in the country, and its healthcare system is among the top ones in Europe. This article brings you all you must know to immigrate to the Netherlands as a doctor. The requirements, diploma recognition, and your FAQs are answered here.

How to Immigrate to the Netherlands as a Doctor? 

Let’s answer the age-old question, “How to work as a doctor in the Netherlands?”:

How to Immigrate to the Netherlands as a Doctor?

Video description 

Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport website to download the application form and appendix. 

Big register to create an account. 

The website is to register for the AKV language test.

Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport website to object recognition decision. 

Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport website to complete the BIG register before the internship. 

Netherlands work visa.

Step 1. Check Eligibility

To determine whether you are eligible to practice as a doctor in the Netherlands, you should:

  • You need a medical degree from an accredited institution to practice medicine in your country. You can find out what degrees are recognized on the Dutch government’s website.

  • You can expect Dutch authorities to review your qualifications, usually the Dutch Ministry of Health. Your qualifications will be checked to ensure they meet Dutch standards.

  • Continue your medical education and adhere to Dutch medical regulations. Practicing medicine in the Netherlands is essential if you want to succeed.

Step 2. Learn the Language

To immigrate to the Netherlands as a doctor, you’ll need a proficient level of Dutch, typically B2 or higher on the CEFR scale, and in some cases, C1. Inburgeringsexamen or NT2 language tests may be required, though specific tests and scores may vary. There is no substitute for learning medical terminology in Dutch.

Step 3. License Recognition

Medical professionals and doctors must go through the Netherlands Medical Council registration, also known as “BIG Register” (Beroepen in de Individuele Gezondheidszorg Register). Medical practitioners in the country are required to register with this organization. Healthcare professionals are registered with the BIG Register to ensure that their qualifications are up-to-date, adhere to Dutch healthcare standards, and are proficient in Dutch.

BIG Register registration requires certain criteria, including a recognized medical degree, language proficiency (especially in Dutch), and passing the BIG Exam. Dutch Health, welfare, and Sports Ministry (VWS) oversees doctors’ registration to practice medicine legally. Medical specialties and professional qualifications may have specific registration requirements.

Step 4. Apply for a Visa

To immigrate to the Netherlands as a doctor and start working, you’ll need a Netherlands work visa. Depending on your qualifications, you may be able to apply for a Highly Skilled Migrant Visa or a European Blue Card. Your employer can help you with the application if you have a job offer. Ensure you have all the necessary documentation, including a valid passport, proof of employment, and financial statements. 

Step 5. Residency Permit

  1. Your local municipality should be notified of your arrival after you have registered.

  2. By applying to the IND, you can obtain a Dutch residence permit. You can get assistance from your employer or sponsor.

  3. Ensure you have the necessary documents, including a valid passport, proof of employment, a criminal past, and proof of financial means.

  4. Obtain biometric information and interview if necessary.

  5. Your application will be processed, and a residence permit will be issued once the IND has processed it.

  6. Renewals of residence permits, which often require continued employment and financial stability documentation, must be done before they expire.

Step 6. Health Insurance

To immigrate to the Netherlands as a doctor successfully, you will need health insurance in the Netherlands since healthcare is mandatory. It may be possible for your employer to assist you with this. Zilveren Kruis, Achmea, CZ, VGZ, and Menzis are some of the Netherlands’ most prominent health insurance providers.

Step 7. Housing

Apartments, houses, shared housing, and short-term rentals are among the housing options available when relocating to the Netherlands. International residents can find housing on websites such as Funda.nl and Pararius.com and expat-oriented sites such as Expatica and HousingAnywhere. It may also be helpful to join social media groups and local boards.

Step 8. Financial Considerations

To immigrate to the Netherlands as a doctor, you must be prepared for the cost of living in the country, which includes taxes, healthcare premiums, and daily expenses.

  • Rent. Monthly rent is between €800 and €2,000 or more.

  • Groceries. The cost per month is approximately €200 to €300.

  • Transportation. The average monthly amount is between 50 and 100 euros.

  • Utilities. The monthly cost is estimated to be between €150 and €200.

  • Health Insurance. Typically, the cost per month is €100.

  • Dining Out. Mid-range restaurants may charge between €15 and €30 for a meal.

  • Entertainment. Per month, you should budget between €50 and €100.

Step 9. Stay Informed

Keep up with local news, taxation, health insurance, and legal changes to stay in the Netherlands successfully. Develop language skills, understand Dutch culture, and join expat networks. You can have a fulfilling experience in the Netherlands by staying informed about employment regulations and participating in cultural and leisure activities.

Infographic How to immigrate and work in the Netherlands as a doctor

Can Foreign Doctors Work in the Netherlands?

Can I move to the Netherlands as a doctor? The answer is yes. Foreign doctors in the Netherlands must be qualified and meet the eligibility principles. It’s a long process, and your documents must be recognized and registered. 

Protected Doctor Jobs in the Netherlands

A few job titles in healthcare need approval and recognition from the Dutch government. You must get approval from the authorities before you immigrate to the Netherlands as a doctor. It is illegal to work in these occupations if you don’t get the approval, and you may not apply for a visa or work permit.

  • Allied medical care professional
  • Clinical technologist
  • Dentist
  • Doctor
  • Health psychologist
  • Midwife
  • Nurse
  • Pharmacist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Physician Assistant
  • Psychotherapist
  • Registered dental hygienist (temporary registration)
  • Remedial educationalist

Are Doctors Paid Well in the Netherlands?

Yes. Doctors are the highest-paid jobs in the Netherlands. You can expect to earn about €12.000-€20.000 per month. The amount is average and increases with your expertise and work experience.

Doctors’ Salaries in the Netherlands

A doctor who has just graduated from the university can earn €4.000-€6.000. A licensed door can earn €12.000-€20.000 per month. The Netherlands has one of the top healthcare systems in the world. So you can expect to earn higher than in other European countries.

How to Become a Doctor in the Netherlands?

The following are the key steps to becoming a doctor in the Netherlands:

  1. Make sure to emphasize biology, chemistry, and physics in your high school education.
  2. The Netherlands conducts most of its medical education in Dutch, so international students should demonstrate proficiency in this language.
  3. Attend a Dutch university for a three-year premedical bachelor’s program.
  4. The Dutch medical schools offer six-year medical degrees after completing a pre-medical program.
  5. Take part in clinical rotations in various medical specialties as part of your medical education.
  6. Upon receiving your medical degree, choose a medical specialty that requires further training, including a residency.
  7. The Dutch government requires doctors to be registered in a medical registry called BIG (Beroepen in de Individuele Gezondheidszorg Register). As a result of this registration, you confirm that you are compliant with Dutch healthcare standards and proficient in Dutch.
  8. After completing your medical education, specialization, and any required residency, you must apply for a medical license.
  9. Maintain your knowledge of Dutch medical regulations and advancements in your field as a medical professional by committing to continuous learning.

Netherlands Medical License Exam

Dutch medical license exams are known as “BIG Exams” (Beroepen in de Individuele Gezondheidszorg). It assesses their knowledge, language proficiency, and competence to ensure that doctors comply with Dutch healthcare standards and regulations. Based on the medical field and position, the exam may consist of multiple-choice questions or practical components. Medical licenses in the Netherlands can only be obtained after passing the BIG Exam. The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport (VWS) provides detailed information on specific requirements and registration processes by medical specialization.

Can I Do My Medical Residency in the Netherlands?

Yes, a medical residency in the Netherlands for foreigners is possible in the country. There are several steps involved in the process, including:

  1. Ensure that the Dutch authorities recognize your medical degree. It is often necessary to have an assessment conducted by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport (VWS).
  2. Most medical residencies require proficiency in Dutch because of direct patient care and the importance of effective communication. You may need to take a language exam to demonstrate your proficiency in a language.
  3. Find out which residency programs in the Netherlands and apply to them. A strong application and relevant experience are crucial for these programs, which can be highly competitive.
  4. Ensure you obtain the necessary visa and residence permit to live in the Netherlands while here.
  5. Your residency contract should outline the terms and conditions of your training if you are accepted.

Is PLAB Accepted in the Netherlands?

To immigrate to the Netherlands as a doctor, a medical practitioner cannot use the PLAB (Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board) certification. Mostly, foreign medical graduates who wish to practice medicine in the UK take the PLAB test. 

How to Get a Job as a Doctor in the Netherlands?

  • Find out whether there is demand for your specialization and locations where you might be able to find jobs in the Dutch medical field.
  • Dedicated healthcare job websites like “MedischeBankenbank” or general job boards like “Indeed” and “LinkedIn” can be used to find vacancies.
  • You can find job listings at medical societies and associations, such as KNMG.
  • Connect with Dutch medical professionals by attending medical events and online forums.
  • If you are seeking a job, you may want to consider medical recruitment agencies.

Are Doctors in Demand in the Netherlands?

Yes, there is a high need for doctors in the Netherlands due to factors like the aging population and the increasing number of people requiring healthcare. The healthcare industry offers doctors a variety of employment opportunities. Specialization and location may affect demand, however.

Can You Work in the Netherlands Without Dutch Language Proficiency?

The answer is a definite no. You must show proof of language proficiency at the typically B2 and, in some cases, C1 level. 

How to Become a Doctor in the Netherlands from India?

Here is what an Indian student in the Netherlands needs to do to earn a medical degree: After completing secondary school with the necessary subjects, learning Dutch to a proficient level, selecting a Dutch university offering medical programs, applying, being accepted, securing funding, obtaining a residence permit and student visa, beginning medical school, graduating in about six years, registering with the Dutch Ministry of Health, and possibly considering specialization. Keep up-to-date on changes to immigration and education regulations, and double-check the specific requirements and policies of your preferred school.

Immigrate to the Netherlands as a Doctor: Let’s Recap

This article answered the prominent question, “How to work as a doctor in the Netherlands?” It brought you all you have to know: who is eligible, the requirements, and the recognition and registration process. Every step is explained in detail; you will need no other guide to move to the Netherlands as a doctor.

If you have questions, write them down in the comment section. The Visa Library team will answer them. You can find more information about the Netherlands visa from the right sidebar.


Do you need to speak Dutch to work as a doctor in the Netherlands?

Yes, you typically need to speak Dutch to work as a doctor in the Netherlands.

Do doctors speak English in the Netherlands?

There are a large number of doctors who speak English, especially those in large cities and academic medical centers. The Netherlands has many schools that teach and speak English as a second language.

Can American doctors work in the Netherlands?

Yes, American doctors have the opportunity for working as a foreign doctor in the Netherlands, but they must navigate a series of steps.

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  1. Hamma Jukl says:

    Good day
    I am a medical doctor working in iraq, what should my first be? The thing should i start creating an account on Big Register Website and start doing document work or i should be doing that after getting my language certificates?

    • Max says:

      Medical practice in the Netherlands requires fluency in Dutch, so an Iraqi doctor moving there should make that a top priority. The next step is to submit the necessary paperwork to the Dutch government in order to have your medical credentials officially recognized. After your credentials have been validated, you can apply for inclusion on the BIG Register, the Dutch healthcare professional register. This is a necessary requirement for working as a medical professional in the Netherlands. Get started on your job hunt or residency applications at the same time. Get ready for life in the Netherlands and make sure you’re meeting all the immigration requirements. You can make the transition to the healthcare system in the Netherlands much easier by consulting immigration experts or organizations that specialize in healthcare relocations.

  2. Stef B says:

    Hello. New info has come forth that as of the 1st of January 2024, the AKV test wont be necessary and you can provide just the language proficiency instead. Can explain please what does this mean exactly? Thank you in advance, your content is most helpful.

    • Max says:

      You have received information that shows a shift in the immigration rules for medical professionals in the Netherlands, effective as of January 1, 2024. It specifies that linguistic proficiency rather than the AKV (Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) test will be sufficient for immigration.

      This likely means that the AKV test, which was previously used to evaluate a doctor’s knowledge and skills, will no longer be required for doctors seeking employment in the Netherlands. They will mostly need to show that they can communicate well in Dutch or whatever other language is necessary for their profession. Being able to communicate fluently in a language both patients and coworkers understand is crucial in the healthcare industry.

  3. Amma says:

    Is 1700euro fee for all part of medical exam DKV,VGT & DKK? Or is it 1700euro for each ?? Are these exams in English or Dutch? N

    • Max says:

      The 1700 euro fee typically covers all parts of the medical exams (DKV, VGT, and DKK) required for doctors seeking to immigrate to the Netherlands. These exams are generally conducted in Dutch.