Family doctor, dentist and acute care

Last updated: 3/15/2023, 3:11 PM

In case of non-urgent health complaints, you go to the family doctor. If you have dental complaints, you go to the dentist. For acute care, go to the family doctor's office or call an ambulance.

In the Netherlands, with non-urgent health complaints, you should always see your general practitioner first. This is the case if you are pregnant, need medical advice, or experience psychological problems such as sleep problems, anxiety and depressive thoughts.

For example, if you have a cold, you donundefinedt have to go to the doctor right away. You can get medicine at the pharmacy or drugstore. If the cold does not go away, you can make an appointment with your general practitioner.

Registering with a general practitioner

Before you can make an appointment with a general practitioner, you first need to register with a general practitioner in your area. If you donundefinedt know how to get to a general practitioner, ask your contact person at

VluchtelingenWerk Nederland (VWN)
or your social worker which is the nearest general practitioner you can go to. It is good to check if your health insurance is valid for this general practitioner.

If you are registered with a general practitioner, you can make an appointment. You call the doctor and then make an appointment via the assistant. You discuss the issue with the doctor during the consultation hour. The general practitioner can refer you to the hospital or to other specialist care.

Medical file

If you have already had a medical intake interview in an asylum seekersundefined centre (AZC), the chances are that you already have a medical record in the Netherlands. Your new general practitioner can request this from the Asylum Seekers Health Centre (GCA) or from ArtsundefinedZorg.

If your general practitionerundefineds practice is closed, but your medical emergency cannot wait until the next day or after the weekend, call the general practitionerundefineds clinic in your area. At the general practitionerundefineds clinic, people are helped in the evening and on weekends, when the general practitioner is free.

During the phone call, an employee from the general practitionerundefineds clinic will tell you whether you can come by or whether you would be better off making an appointment with your general practitioner. The general practitionerundefineds clinic can also refer you to the accident and emergency department of a hospital.

Please note: always contact your general practitionerundefineds clinic before going to accident and emergency – except in the case of a life-threatening situation. Then call 112 for an ambulance.

If you or someone close to you is in a life-threatening situation, call 112. You will get an emergency operator on the phone. Explain the situation and answer the operatorundefineds questions.

The emergency centre can send an ambulance. The ambulance can take you or the person you are calling for to the hospital. The ambulanceundefineds doctors can also provide immediate medical assistance.

If the emergency centre does not send an ambulance, you will be told where you can go. For example, to the general practitionerundefineds practice nearby. You will have to make your own transportation arrangements.

The video below explains how healthcare in the Netherlands works.

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