Top reasons to work in healthcare in the Netherlands

Lately,The Netherlands is one of the most popular countries for expats. Here we take a look at six reasons why the Netherlands is an ideal choice for nurses.


1. The Netherlands has one of the best health care systems in the world 

According to the World’s Health Organisation, the health expenditure in the Netherlands is relatively high. Per capita spending in 2017 was EUR 3791, compared to the EU average of EUR 2884. The public share of total health spending (81.5%) is above the EU average, while out-of-pocket spending (11.1%) is comparatively low, partly because a large Voluntary Health Insurance sector helps limit this expenditure. The Dutch spend the most of all EU countries on long-term care. 

In the Netherlands, nurses and caregivers are treated with respect, by doctors, colleagues and patients. Everyone has one common goal: to perform the care in the best possible way. This is only possible if there is mutual respect and optimal cooperation. Healthcare in the Netherlands works with modern and highly advanced equipment in modern buildings. Innovation is very important and work is done on the basis of the latest work structures and techniques. 

The number of nurses (10.9 per 1000) is well above the EU average (8.5). With close to 80% of workers on a permanent contract, the health sector provides stable, secure and often relatively well-paid jobs (van de Berg and Jettinghoff, 2018).  

The sector is also at the forefront of task shifting and advanced nursing practices, creating a more attractive work environment. Low preventable mortality suggests the Dutch health care system provides effective public health interventions. Mortality from treatable causes is among the lowest in the EU, pointing to effective health care interventions. 

The Dutch health system provides very good access, with virtually no difference among income groups. The Dutch health system maintains a dense network of providers, ensuring good geographical availability of services. 

2. The work – life balance in the Netherlands  

Working as a nurse in the Netherlands means working between 32 and 36 hours per week. Dutch people choose to work fewer hours than the European average, prioritizing family time or leisure activities. 75% of women and 26% of men work part-time, with some even working a day or two from home.  

The paid vacation days are around 24 days a year. Commuting expenses are in most cases paid by the employer. The Netherlands has one of the most valuable pension funds in the world. 

3. Competitive salaries 

The Netherlands provides competitive salaries (based on diploma and experience) including extra payments for irregular working hours and overtime (ranging between 22% and 60% more on top of the hourly rate). Vacation pay, 8.3% of the annual salary paid in May is also part of the package. 

4. Good career opportunities  

The increased physician workload has led to a vertical transfers of tasks from doctors to nurses and a horizontal task reallocation between groups of healthcare workers. New occupations such as practice nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse specialist and physician assistants have been trained to fill the gap. 

There are numerous opportunities to specialize in different nursing areas such as: intensive care nursing, paediatric nursing or geriatric nursing. All registered nurses may apply for post-basic nurse training, designed to improve their skills and competencies trough a mix of clinical and theoretical training.  

Nurses with high level of training (EQF 6) can also become nurse specialist, being qualified to treat specific groups of patients independently, such as individuals with chronic diseases (diabetes, Parkinson, chronical pain etc.) 

For management roles there are also possibilities. There’s a slow path that can be done through part-time training and several courses. Or a faster one, by following a university master’s degree focused on management, policy, health or health sciences. With such a master, a nurse can cover senior positions in health policy, education or in the human departments in health care institutions.  

5. Working Standards 

The Netherlands is on the list of  the ten best countries to live in for a good work/life balance. The Dutch government is constantly finding new ways to attract highly skilled migrants and entrepreneurs via schemes such as  the  30% tax ruling  and  the start-up visa  residence permit.  

6. High Standard of Living 

The Netherlands is a small country within Europe. Nevertheless, it contributes almost 5percent to the European Unions gross domestic product, making it the sixth largest economy in the EU-28. 

Life expectancy in the Netherlands is among the longest in the world, and the  United Nations’ World Happiness Report  ranks the Netherlands as the seventh happiest country in the world. 

The UNICEF  study looked at the well-being of children and young people up to the age of 18 in the 41 most prosperous countries in the world. Their study found that  the Netherlands  was the best country to raise a  family, as children here are satisfied and have a good quality of life. 




Are you considering taking your nursing career abroad? 

Let EMTG help you build your health care career in The Netherlands. It is simply the greatest country to live and work in as a nursing professional.