What you need to know to be a nurse in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a country with a population that is steadily growing older. It has a big expat community and a high demand for nurses. It is also located in the center of Europe, so it is easily to commute through from other countries. This makes it an interesting place to work as a nurse. 

The corona virus is not the reason why there currently is a shortage of nurses. This problem started over the last decades as a result of a growing population in combination with numerous changes at most nursing schools. Hence, the supply of highly educated nurses has become limited. On the other hand, as people grow older and the population increases, the demand for healthcare professionals goes up. This is part of the reason why the average salary of nurses is higher compared to other countries. Therefore, if you’ve been thinking about making a move to the Netherlands to work as a nurse, now is the right time to do so. Whether you are already living here or are interested to find out more information, this article will help you to understand what it takes before you can start working as a nurse in the Netherlands. 

The Netherlands has plenty to offer you on both the private and professional fronts.  Apart from cheese, tulips and stroop waffles there is a remarkable work-life balance in place. Compared to other countries, the Netherlands offers an excellent salary structure, a 36-hour workweek, a non-hierarchical workplace culture and great career advancement opportunities.  

Living in the Netherlands is a great choice in general as well. Perhaps you’re already in the Netherlands, but now find yourself with nothing to do since you don’t speak Dutch and have no connections with healthcare institutions. Well, we have good news for you. EMTG can help you propel your career in the Netherlands! 

The basic requirements

It must be noted that in order to be able to work as a nurse in the Netherlands via EMTG, you will need to meet the following requirements: 

  • Possess a European nursing degree. If you have a non-European nursing degree, you must validate your diploma with Nuffic. Validation can take up to 4 weeks. 
  • You should also have a good command of English, minimum A2 level  
  • Have a valid working permit in the Netherlands or a nationality from an EU member state. 

To work in the Netherlands as a healthcare professional it is essential that you have sufficient command of the Dutch language, minimum B1 level. However, there are many language schools that can offer intensive 3-month Dutch language courses. 

To work in the healthcare industry, all nurses must go through the BIG register, the Dutch nurse registration. The BIG register is named after the Netherlands’ BIG Act, the Individual Healthcare Professions Act.  

What is the BIG registration? 

The BIG registration clearly states what a healthcare professional can and cannot perform. For instance, whether a healthcare professional can give certain injections or perform certain operations. If your name is in the BIG register, it means that: 

  • You have a professional certificate from a recognized entity. 
  • You can carry out your work without limitations. 

The register is a centra and official register of healthcare professionals that is kept on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS).  Being on the BIG register allows you to use certain professional titles (like nurse – ‘verpleegkundige’  in Dutch). 

Salary and working culture  

In the Netherlands, nurses earn between €1790 and €3370 per month- depending on your experience and the working hours. The average monthly salary for a nurse in the Netherlands is €2725.  There is also a pension scheme provided for them.  Most contracts are for 32 to 36 hours a week. Furthermore, working on weekends and holidays are paid extra. 

* Data taken from Ziekenhuis (Article 9.4), VVT (Article 5.19) and GGZ (Article 9)

The corporate culture in general is not very stiff and formal.  When you start working as a nurse in the Netherlands, you will have a supervisor who will be a more senior nurse. You will receive medical information about your clients from a doctor. 

An interesting fact that you may want to know is that nurses are treated with respect, by doctors, colleagues and clients. Everyone works together to achieve one common goal: to perform the caregiving process in the best possible way.  

Steps to becoming a nurse in the Netherlands via EMTG 

  1. The first step depends on whether your nursing diploma is from the EU. If it is not, you need to get it validated by Nuffic.
  2. Send your CV over to recruitment@emtg.nl so that a team of experts can review your profile and experience. 
  3. If your CV matches to an open position, a EMTG Recruiter will invite you over for an interview. During the interview you will be able to share your professional experiences and motivations for working in the Netherlands.  
  4. If selected, you will be immersed in an intensive Dutch language and culture course.  
  5. Upon completion of the course, you will be able to start working as an EMTG nurse and will be place you at one of the Dutch health care institutions  where your new journey finally begins! 

Need more reasons to work in the Netherlands click here and join one of our upcoming events to learn more about life and work in the Netherlands.