Want to Become a Nurse in the Netherlands? Here’s What You Need to Know

Are you a foreign nurse who wants to work in the Netherlands? If so, you might be wondering how to become a nurse in the Netherlands, what are the requirements, and what are the benefits of working as a nurse in this country. In this article, we will answer these questions and provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to become a nurse in the Netherlands.

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Why Work as a Nurse in the Netherlands?

1. The Netherlands has a high-quality and well-funded healthcare system that runs on private insurance. All adult Dutch citizens pay around €135 per month in health insurance, with those under a certain income level being (partly) reimbursed for this by the government.

2. The Netherlands has a shortage of nurses due to an aging population, a high demand for healthcare services, and a low supply of nursing graduates. According to the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, there were about 40,000 vacancies for nurses in 2020, and this number is expected to increase in the future.

3. The Netherlands offers an excellent salary, a 36-hour workweek, a non-hierarchical workplace culture, and plenty of career advancement opportunities for nurses. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a nurse in the Netherlands is €3,000 per month, which is higher than the average salary in many other European countries. Nurses also have the opportunity to specialize in different fields, such as oncology, neurology, immunology, diabetes, etc., and to pursue further education and training.

4. The Netherlands is a beautiful and diverse country with a rich culture, history, and nature. It is famous for its cycling culture, tulips, cheese, windmills, canals, and museums. It is also a safe and tolerant country with a high standard of living, a good education system, and a vibrant social life. The Netherlands is also well-connected to other European countries by train, bus, or plane, making it easy to travel and explore.

What are the Requirements to Become a Nurse in the Netherlands?

To become a nurse in the Netherlands, you need to meet the following requirements:

1. You need to have a valid nursing diploma or degree from your home country or another country. The level of your diploma or degree should be equivalent to the Dutch HBO (higher professional education) level, which is similar to the bachelor-master system in other countries. You can check the equivalence of your diploma or degree on the Nuffic website, which is the Dutch organization for internationalization in education.

2. You need to have your diploma or degree recognized by the BIG register, which is the official register for healthcare professionals in the Netherlands. The BIG register is responsible for verifying your qualifications, skills, and competencies, and for granting you the right to use the protected title of “nurse” and to perform certain reserved procedures independently. The BIG register also places you under Dutch disciplinary law and entitles you to specialized training. You can find more information about the recognition procedure and the application form on the BIG register website. The recognition procedure may take several months and may involve an assessment of your theoretical and practical knowledge, a language test, and a work placement.

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3. You need to have proof of Dutch language proficiency at level B1 or higher, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). You can prove your language proficiency by taking one of the following exams: the NT2 Programma II exam, the CNaVT exam, or the Inburgeringsexamen. You can find more information about these exams and the preparation courses on the website of the Dutch Language Union.

4. You need to have a valid work permit and a residence permit to work as a nurse in the Netherlands. If you are from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you do not need a work permit, but you still need to register with the Dutch immigration authorities and obtain a citizen service number (BSN). If you are from a non-EU/EEA country, you need a work permit, which can be obtained by your employer or by yourself if you have a highly skilled migrant visa. You also need a residence permit, which can be applied for online or at the Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country. You can find more information about the work and residence permits on the website of the Dutch government.

How to Find a Job as a Nurse in the Netherlands?

Once you have met the requirements to become a nurse in the Netherlands, you can start looking for a job in the healthcare sector. There are several ways to find a job as a nurse in the Netherlands, such as:

1. Searching online on job boards, websites, and social media platforms that specialize in nursing jobs in the Netherlands. Some examples are Glassdoor, Indeed, Monsterboard, LinkedIn, and Facebook. You can also use the EURES portal, which is the European network of employment services that connects job seekers and employers across the EU/EEA countries.

2. Contacting recruitment agencies or intermediaries that help foreign nurses find jobs in the Netherlands. Some examples are Eduployment, EMTG, Nursework, and Fortran. These agencies or intermediaries can assist you with the recognition procedure, the language test, the work permit, the accommodation, and the integration process. They can also offer you a variety of career options, such as working in nursing homes, hospitals, home care, or specialized clinics.

3.Networking with other nurses or healthcare professionals who work or have worked in the Netherlands. You can join online or offline communities, forums, groups, or associations that connect nurses from different countries and share experiences, tips, and opportunities. Some examples are the International Council of Nurses, the European Federation of Nurses Associations, the Dutch Nurses’ Association, and the Nurses in the Netherlands Facebook group.


Working as a nurse in the Netherlands can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice for foreign nurses who want to experience a different culture, a high-quality healthcare system, and a variety of professional opportunities. However, becoming a nurse in the Netherlands requires meeting certain requirements, such as having a recognized diploma or degree, a proof of language proficiency, and a work and residence permit. It also requires finding a suitable job in the healthcare sector, which can be done by searching online, contacting recruitment agencies, or networking with other nurses. If you are interested in becoming a nurse in the Netherlands, we hope this guide has provided you with useful information and resources to help you achieve your goal.

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