Social security

National insurance in the Netherlands

Social security


When you come to the Netherlands you may be in contact with the Dutch social security. Below are some subjects which may help you.




Persons moving to the Netherlands must register with the local authorities in their place of residence.The municipality will issue a registration nummer called BSN. This is also your tax and social security number.


Employers must complete formalities to ensure that their employees are covered by social security. Employees do not need to contact social security themselves. For tax purposes, employers may ask employees to present a valid identity document, such as a passport or identity card. Only when it comes to choosing a mutual insurance society does the initiative lie with individuals. Employers can provide advice on this.

Write down the address of the Social Security Bank (Sociale Verzekeringsbank), which you will have to deal with should the case arise: you will have to contact this Bank in order to obtain family allowances or to apply for your retirement pension when you reach 65. (If you are not resident in the Netherlands at that time, your pension will be paid by the "Foreign" (Buitenland) department of the Social Security Bank in Amsterdam).


In the event of your death, your widow/widower and your children will also have to contact the Social Security Bank to obtain the benefits for which they are eligible.


Persons claiming benefit in the Netherlands are required to show a valid identity document such as a passport or identity card.


Social security management

All residents (employees, the self-employed, persons not in employment) are insured under national insurance schemes ("volksverzekeringen") covering old age, death, long-term invalidity, certain medical expenses and child benefit. In addition, employees are insured against illness, long-term invalidity and unemployment.

In the event of illness, employers are, in most cases, legally bound to pay 70% (or 100%) of wages.

Individuals with insufficient means to cover basic living expenses are entitled to claim supplementary benefit.


National rules on social security

Special laws cover each area of social security legislation and contain specific provisions for all residents (national insurance schemes) or for employees (employee insurance schemes).


The following national insurance laws apply:


  • Algemene Ouderdomswet (AOW) - old age

  • Algemene Nabestaandenwet (ANW) - death

  • Algemene Kinderbijslagwet (AKW) - child benefit

  • Algemene Wet Bijzondere Ziektekosten (AWBZ) - special medical expenses

  • Wet werk en arbeidsondersteuning jonggehandicapten (Wajong) - disabled young people


as do the following employee insurance laws:


  • Ziektewet (ZW) - illness

  • Wet werk en inkomen naar arbeidsvermogen (WIA) - disabled

  • Werkloosheidswet (WW) - unemployment

  • Zorgverzekeringswet (Zvw) - medical care


Personal contribution


Your employer will pay your contributions to the various social security agencies. The part of the contribution paid by yourself will be deducted from your wage. If you are receiving cash benefits, the institution which pays them will have to deduct a contribution in certain cases.


Your employer or his professional association can tell you the levels of contribution which apply to you.



If you do not agree with a decision made by an institution, you are entitled to appeal to the administrative law section of the local court (Arrondissementsrechtbank, sector bestuursrecht). This will be specified in the decision which will also specify the time limit for lodging your appeal. If this information is not given, you must, as soon as possible, ask the agency for a "decision subject to appeal".

To lodge an appeal, you must send, to the administrative law section of the local court, a letter stating that you do not agree with the institution's decision and that you are requesting a new decision. This type of letter is known as a "complaint". You must send two copies and enclose the decision which you are disputing. If you do not agree with the local court's decision, you can then usually appeal (Hoger Beroep) to the Central Appeals Board (Centrale Raad van Beroep). This new appeal must be lodged within one month of notification of the local court's judgment.

In this case, your letter is known as an "appeal". Again, you must send two copies and enclose the local court's decision.