Registering as a healthcare professional

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

Do you want to work as a healthcare professional in the Netherlands? You must register in the BIG register. You can only register in the BIG register if you have the right professional qualifications and diplomas.

Does your profession have a protected title?

Certain professions in healthcare have a protected title under the Individual Healthcare Act (Wet op de Beroepen in de Individuele Gezondheidszorg, BIG). If your profession has a protected title, you must register in the BIG register before you can practice your profession.

These professions are:

  • Clinical technologist
  • Dentist
  • Doctor
  • Health psychologist
  • Midwife
  • Nurse
  • Pharmacist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Physician Assistant
  • Psychotherapist
  • Registered dental hygienist (temporary registration)
  • Remedial educationalist

Some healthcare professions are temporarily included as experiments in the BIG register (in Dutch).

What is a BIG registration?

The BIG register has been set up to protect patients against professional misconduct and medical errors. It 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. If your name is included in the register, it means:

  • You have a professional certificate from a recognised body;
  • You can carry out your work without limitations (within the boundaries of your profession)

The register is a central, official register of healthcare professionals. It is kept on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS). You can find more information on the conditions and procedures on the Ministry's website.

If you want to find out which procedure applies to you, you can follow the BIG register’s Advice wizard.

Stating your BIG registration number

You must actively communicate your BIG number and make sure it can be easily found. You should communicate this number wherever you disclose your name and profession (or those of healthcare providers you employ or hire) for professional purposes. This is at least (and if applicable):

  • on your own (or you employer’s) website on the same page or pages your name is stated
  • in your email signature in any email you send in your professional capacity

You can find your BIG number online in Mijn BIG-register (in Dutch). Here you can also look up and change your personal data or re-register for instance. You need DigiD to access this register, or a dedicated BIG log-in if you live abroad.

Please note: It is not yet known when enforcement of the requirement will start.

Consulting the register

Everyone can look up the name of a healthcare professional in the register. This allows anyone in need of a healthcare professional to see if you have the right qualifications. They can also consult the register to find out if a healthcare professional has had an order or disciplinary measure imposed on them under the Healthcare Professionals Act.

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 measures. 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 measures.

If you have been found guilty of a serious offence (indecency, violence, murder, manslaughter), the disciplinary court may ban you from practice. 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 while you are still registered in the BIG register.

Working in the Netherlands with a foreign diploma

If you have a foreign diploma and you would like to work as a healthcare provider in the Netherlands, you can have your diploma recognised through BIG register. The procedure depends on the country in which your received your qualification, your nationality, and the profession for which you want to register.

You can read more on the procedures to have your international qualification recognised on the BIG register's website. If you have a foreign diploma you can register for an informative meeting (for EU diplomas) or the special consultation hours and information meetings (for non-EU diplomas) on the procedures for recognition of your professional qualifications or your certificate of competence.

You must have sufficient command of the Dutch language to work in the Netherlands as a healthcare professional. You need to supply proof of this with your registration.

Qualifications from BES islands

Is your certificate 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. If your certificate was issued in Bonaire (in Dutch) with FM Academy (Fundashon Mariadal) you can now register directly (in Dutch).

Working temporarily in the Netherlands with an EU diploma

Do you have an 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 first need to apply for permission for temporary and occasional provision of services. If you receive permission, you are not registered in the BIG register and you will not receive a BIG number. You may register in the BIG, but this is not required.

Pharmacists, physiotherapists, and nurses can apply through the European Professional Card (EPC). 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 register every 5 years to prove you still meet the requirements for your profession. To do so, you must meet the work experience or education requirements. The criteria are different for each profession (in Dutch). If you do not re-register or you re-register too late, you will be deregistered and you are no longer allowed to carry out your profession.