Citizen service number (BSN) in the Netherlands

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

In the Netherlands, anyone who registers with the municipality they live in automatically receives a citizen service number (burgerservicenummer, BSN). The BSN is a unique personal number you use to identify yourself to government agencies.

As a non-governmental organisations you may only ask for and record someone’s BSN if you:

  • are a recognized healthcare provider, to identify the care recipient
  • are an educational institution
  • need it for your payroll accounts

Citizen service number employees

If you hire a new employee, you must record their BSN in your payroll accounts. If you are a subcontractor or intermediary, you should communicate your employee’s BSN to the main contractor or client.

Do you hire a foreign employee without a BSN? Depending on the length of their stay, the employee must:

You cannot apply for a BSN for your employee. They must register with the municipality they (will) live in themselves to automatically receive a BSN.

Citizen service number for healthcare, childcare, and rented homes

For the childcare allowance, childcare organisations are required to ask for the parents' BSN and that of their child. Health insurance companies and landlords also need this information for healthcare and rent allowance purposes. The BSN is included in the medical records for healthcare providers, assessment bodies, and health insurance companies.

Citizen service number in education

In the Netherlands, schools use a personal identification number (persoonsgebonden number, PGN) or education number for their students. This PGN is equal to the BSN. Schools must use the PGN in their school records.

If a child in your school does not have a BSN you can contact DUO for a temporary PGN (in Dutch).

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