Written by Arjen Versteeg
To help you get an overview of the paperwork involved in moving to the Netherlands, here is a list 6 bureaucratic checkpoints that you will need to pass, and how to do it. All these points require your attention before you are able to start working in a Dutch dental clinic.
1. BIG Register
The BIG is a register for all healthcare professionals working in the Netherlands. As a dentist, you will also need to be admitted to the BIG before you are able to obtain a job in a Dutch clinic. Compared to Dutch dentists, the process is more complicated for you, because the BIG will first need to verify your degree. This can sometimes lead to bureaucratic nitpicking, with a diploma that says “graduated in” being approved, while “graduate in” is declined because it does not coincide with the documentation guidelines of the BIG.
If you would like to know more about the BIG register, or commence the registration procedure, visit the English version of their website here.
2. X-Ray Certificate
While dentists from countries such as Spain and Portugal are able to work with X-Ray equipment, their X-Ray diploma is not certified in the Netherlands. As a result, they need to retake an X-Ray course that is accepted by Dutch clinics, for example the course offered by ACTA.
For more information, you can access ACTA’s website here. (Dutch only)
3. Titer test
Every dentist in the Netherlands is required to have a document proving that their body has produced enough antibodies against Hepatitis B. This document can be acquired through a test at the hospital or doctor’s office. It is possible to do this test anywhere in Europe, but sometimes the documents do not correspond to the demands of the Dutch health regulations. In such a case, the test would have to be done again in the Netherlands. If you have doubts about whether your own results are up to Dutch standards, reach out and I’ll verify it for you.
4. Health insurance
In the Netherlands, you are obliged to have health insurance. Whereas some countries, such as Spain, have both public and private health insurance, in Holland you only have the option to be insured privately. The insurance premium may differ greatly depending on which company you choose and how much treatments you wish to cover. It is important to take care of this early on: if you get health insurance a few months down the line, you will also have to pay for the months in which you were not insured.
5. 30% ruling
The 30% ruling allows expats living and working in the Netherlands to get a tax benefit if their yearly salary is above a certain amount. With this measure, the Dutch government hopes to attract foreign professionals to come work in the Netherlands. In addition to a certain salary, there are a couple of other criteria by which the Belastingdienst (tax office/Dutch IRS) judges if a person is eligible for the ruling. One such criterion is that there has to be ‘scarcity’ in their field of work, meaning that Dutch professionals themselves are not able to saturate the market. Previously, dentistry was not considered a ‘scarce profession’, in spite of the shortage of dentist graduates each year. But in 2013, a Dutch court determined it was indeed necessary for foreign dentists to fill the gap in the dentistry sector. Since then, obtaining the 30% ruling has become a lot easier for dentists from other countries.
Also read Sebastian Schreijer’s blog on the 30% ruling to learn about all the benefits and criteria of the 30% ruling.
Finding a suitable house or appartment is often the final step of a dentist’s transition to the Netherlands. How easy or difficult it is to find a place to live varies greatly per area. As can be expected, appartments in cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam can be quite expensive, while farther away from the metropolitan Randstand area, you will experience less trouble finding a house that is affordable and to your liking. In general, do keep into account that Holland is a small country that is home to nearly 17 million people. This means that housing is something that will demand your focus, as finding a house through the regular channels can eat up a lot of your time.
The best place to start is Funda, both for buying and for renting appartments and houses.
With the 6 checkpoints described above, you can create the perfect circumstances for a successful career in the Netherlands. However, make sure you don’t forget about these basic but vital points either:
- Registering yourself in the Netherlands
Before you can get anything done in the Netherlands, such as opening a bank account or signing an employment contract, you will first have to register yourself. This can be done at the city council (“gemeente” in Dutch). When you first arrive, you register yourself as a non-resident (“Registratie Niet-Ingezetene” or “RNI”) and state that you will remain in the country for no longer than 4 months. Upon registration, you will receive a social security number (“BSN”). After you find a job and a house, you can make another appointment to register yourself as a permanent resident. For this second appointment, you will need: your ID, the letter of the RNI that contains your BSN, your housing contract, your original birth certificate and an e-mail confirmation of your appointment.
- Opening a Dutch bank account
In order to receive salary from a Dutch employer, you will need a Dutch bank account. Take your ID and the letter of the RNI (see previous point) to either the ABN Amro or the ING bank. You can find them all over the Netherlands, and with just these 2 documents, you can open a bank account with them.
- Finding a Dutch doctor
After settling in the Netherlands, we highly recommend you to register with a Dutch doctor’s office. Should you experience any problems regarding your health, you’ll always have a place nearby you can go to for information and help. If you want to find a doctor’s office near you, simply go to the website Independer and fill in your place of residence or postal code to see the options.