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Registering as a healthcare professional

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

If you want to work as a healthcare professional in the Netherlands, you must register in the BIG register in addition to having professional qualifications and diplomas.

Does your profession have a protected title?

There are 9 healthcare professions which have a protected title under the Individual Healthcare Act (Wet op de Beroepen in de Individuele Gezondheidszorg, BIG). If yours has a protected title, you have to register in the BIG registerExternal link. The BIG register has been set up to protect patients against professional misconduct and medical errors.

The 9 professions are:

  • Pharmacist
  • Doctor
  • Physiotherapist
  • Health psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Dentist
  • Nurse
  • Physician Assistant
  • Midwife

What is a BIG registration?

The BIG registration clearly states what a healthcare professional can and cannot do. For instance whether or not a healthcare professional is allowed to give certain injections or perform certain operations. Everyone can look up the name of a healthcare professional in the register. If your name is in the register, it means:

  • You have a professional certificate from a recognised body;
  • You can carry out your work without limitations;
  • You do not have any physical or mental problems which prevent you from working.

Displaying your BIG registration number

You are obliged to actively display your BIG registration number. Patients can then check whether a healthcare professional is competent and qualified. You have to display your BIG registration number (or those of any healthcare professionals you employ) wherever you display your name and profession. This means you must display your BIG registration number on your:

  • website and digital media
  • stationary and email signature
  • invoices
  • and hospital or surgery waiting rooms

The register is a central, official register of healthcare professionals, that is kept on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS).

Foreign diploma

If you have a foreign diploma and you would like to work as a care provider in the Netherlands, you can have your diploma recognisedExternal link through BIG register. If your certificate was issued in the Dutch special municipalities of Bonaire, St Eustatius or Saba, then you also need to have your certificate recognised in the same way.

To work in the Netherlands as a healthcare professional it is important you have sufficient command of the Dutch languageExternal link.

Working temporarily in the Netherlands with a EU diploma

Do you have a EU diploma or certificate and do you want to work temporarily or occasionally as a healthcare professional in the Netherlands? If your profession has a protected title, you need to apply for permission for Temporary and occasional provision of servicesExternal link (in Dutch). You may register in the BIG, but this is not required.Pharmacists, physiotherapist and nurses can apply through the European Professional Card (EPC)External link. This permission is valid for 1 year. You can only start working once you have permission. You also must have a professional liability insurance.


You must re-register in the BIG registerExternal link every 5 years to prove you still meet the requirements for your profession. To do so, you must meet the work experience and education requirements. The criteria are different for each professionExternal link (in Dutch). If you do not re-register, your name is removed and you are no longer allowed to carry out your profession.

Disciplinary measures

If you make a medical error or fail to meet the requirements to practice as a medical professional, a disciplinary court may impose disciplinary measuresExternal link. Such measures may for example be a fine, a warning or temporary suspension from your duties. In this case, your name is added to a list of healthcare professionals subject to disciplinary measuresExternal link. If you have committed a serious offence (indecency, violence, murder, manslaughter), the disciplinary court may ban you from pratice. This means you can no longer work at all as a healthcare professional. This can also happen if you commit a serious offence outside your profession or if you do other work, but remain registered in the BIG register.

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO