Language Requirement for Foreign Dentists

By 5 december 2016 december 30th, 2018 Career

In 2017, new guidelines regarding the registration of medical professionals will go into effect. These guidelines also carry consequences for dentists from the EU who wish to start working in the Netherlands. In order to obtain the BIG registration (which is obligatory for all healthcare professionals), dentists now have to prove they speak Dutch at a sufficient level. This requirement does not apply to dentists who have already obtained the registration. The KNMT–the Royal Dutch Dentistry Society–reports as follows:

“From 1 January 2017, all foreign dentists who come to work in the Netherlands have to be able to prove they speak a sufficient amount of Dutch. This is the result of an alteration in the policy of the register of medical professionals–the BIG. Previously, this requirement only applied to dentists from outside of the EU.

The new regulation applies to everyone who has obtained their diploma in one of the countries in the European Economic Area (EEA: EU countries + Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland), with the exception of the Netherlands. Dentists whose native language is Dutch but who were educated outside of the Netherlands also fall under this requirement.”

[source:; translation our own]

Although BGB agrees with the thought behind the regulation–all dentists who work in Holland need to be able to speak Dutch–we are unsure whether this is the most effective way to ensure the overall quality of foreign dentists working in the Netherlands.

However, thanks to our good relationship with both the KNMT and the BIG, we have been aware of the plans for this new regulation since late 2015. Consequently, we have been able to prepare ourselves accordingly, allowing us to continue to help EU dentists settle in the Netherlands in the future.

In anticipation of the new guidelines, we have adjusted our Dutch course so that it is even more effective in preparing dentists for work in a Dutch clinic. For instance, we have produced our own class material, which caters specifically to dentists. Not only does this material focus more on dentistry-related vocabulary, phrases and situations; it also prepares students for the language exam that they will have to pass in order to obtain the BIG registration.

If you have any further questions about how the new guidelines may influence your own situation, do not hesitate to contact one of our labour migration coaches.

Last updated: May 2, 2017