Nurse Specializations

There are over 50 specializations and the demand for nurses in the Netherlands is continuously growing. The nursing career path offers many worthwhile benefits such as strong salaries, numerous opportunities, and a sense of fulfillment. In a previous blog, we have outlined several reasons for why the Netherlands is a great choice to boost your CV. In this article, you will find an overview of some of the most popular nursing specializations in the Netherlands. 

Generally, the practices at Dutch hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, physicians’ offices, etc., do not differ much from elsewhere in the world. However, the way that the healthcare system in the Netherlands has been set up along with government reforms may be different than what you are used to. If you take extra specialization courses you will not only get to understand the Dutch practices better, but you will also gain more knowledge, skills and be able to build a network. All this will help you to grow and advance your career. To qualify for nurse specializations program and subsequent employment in the Netherlands all nurses need to meet the following criteria as per the Dutch government: 

  • have a valid residence permit for the Netherlands or nationality from an EU country 
  • have a European nursing degree (e.g. Bachelor of Science in Nursing); 
  • have a good command of the English (A2) and Dutch (B1) languages 
  • have obtained your Dutch nurse registration, BIG register 
  • have recent work experience as a nurse 

Below are some of the most popular specializations to give you an idea of what it takes to work as a nurse in the Netherlands. 


Intensive Care Nurse  

This specialization can be rather complex and challenging. Intensive Care (IC), or critical care nurses require an advanced technical skill set and must operate in a calm manner.  In the Netherlands you can take the next step in your career as an IC nurse.  

In order to be able to work as an IC nurse in the Netherlands it is important to note that you have to be a certified (CZO recognized) IC nurse and have a BIG registration with at least one year of experience working at a hospital. Nurses must first complete an MBO or HBO nursing education (or an European equivalent; non-EU degrees must be validated by Nuffic). The specialist follow-up IC nurse training in an in-service training. You must therefore have a workplace in the hospital before you can start this training. The specialization training lasts eighteen months with an appointment in hospital for eighty percent or more. Depending on your experience and educational background, the salary will range between € 2.798, – and €4.111, – per month on a fulltime basis as part of the FWG-scale.  

Emergency Nurse 

As an emergency nurse in the Netherlands you must possess two years of work experience in a somatic department. An emergency nurse can be expected to determine proper medication administration by reviewing a patient’s medical charts, as well tend to basic wounds or ailments.  

That being said, in the Netherlands you will not work 12 hour shifts at most emergency departments. ED.  ER nurses also do not always have any tech around. You will have to do your own respiratory, circulatory and plasters. Depending on your education and experience as an emergency nurse, you will be able to make up to €3,808 a month with an additional end-of-year bonus of 8.3%. 

Wound care specialist 

Besides the basic knowledge you will need to learn more about the underlying syndromes, functional problems, trauma and other causal factors with regard to wounds. Furthermore, it is important to have knowledge of the nursing and medical diagnoses related to wound care. This includes skin problems, pain, nutrition, disturbed moisture balance, wound care problems, limitations in mobility and knowledge shortages of the care recipient.   

Extra training will ensure that you acquire knowledge, insights and skills in the field of observation and diagnostics. The Platform Wound care and WCS-Nederland will recognize your diploma and you will be accredited by the V&VN. The price for participating in a wound care education program is not cheap. The average cost is €4,900 but remember, a well-trained wound nurse is crucial in the substantive treatments of patients that require complex wound care and will be highly sought after. In some cases, it is possible that employers fund training and education programs. The salary of wound specialists is on the basis of FWG 60 and range from € 3,225 – €4,682 based on a 36-hour workweek. 

Scrub Nurse 

You must be organized and prepared for the surgery and possible complications. Being detail oriented ensures patient safety because small mistakes can mean the difference between life and death. Must have excellent communication skills to be aware of the needs of the surgeon and convey them to the surgical team. You should have excellent problem solving and critical thinking skills. Scrub nurse should be able to anticipate complications and plan for the next steps. As a scrub nurse your salary will range between €2,600 – €3,900 per month on full time basis.  

Circulation Nurse 

Before you can qualify for a circulation nurse position, you first need experience working as a registered nurse in a healthcare facility. Consider applying to work as an emergency room, post-surgery or critical care nurse to enhance your skillset and learn how to perform well in high-stress environments. Obtaining relevant industry certifications is an optional step, but this could have a beneficial impact on your employability for a position as a circulation nurse. 

It is possible to follow a training course, but these are not available everywhere. Currently, nurses obtain either a two-year college degree of nursing education or a four-year bachelor’s degree to become a registered nurse. What the Netherlands has to offer you as a circulation nurse is an environment where you can grow on a professional and personal level. You will be able to receive personal guidance throughout your development as a nurse. There is also a pleasant corporate culture whereby your opinion matters. You will be offered a great salary structure (roughly between €3000 – €5000) and the opportunity to join unions and networks. 


There are a wide variety of nurse specializations that are operating in the healthcare industry of the Netherlands. The ones mentioned above are some of the most common. Take a look at our jobs page to find out if there is a specialization that fits with your experience. Should you be interested in another specialization that is not mentioned on the page, then you can always contact us to see if we can help you find a job placement at a suitable healthcare institution.