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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 10 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 register. The BIG register has been set up to protect patients against professional misconduct and medical errors.
The 10 professions are:
- Health psychologist
- Physician Assistant
- Remedial educationalist
Some healthcare professions are temporarily included in the BIG register (in Dutch).
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. 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
The register is a central, official register of healthcare professionals, that is kept on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS).
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 the number everywhere you disclose your name and profession (or those of healthcare providers you employ or hire) for professional purposes. This are at least (and if applicable):
- on your own website (or you employer’s website) where you name is stated
- in your email signature in any email you send in your professional capacity
If you do not know your BIG number you can look it up online in Mijn-BIG-register (in Dutch). Here you can also look up and change your personal data or reregister for instance. To access this register you need DigiD or your BIG log-in data if you live abroad.
Consulting the register
Everyone can look up the name of a healthcare professional in the register. This way anyone in need of a healthcare professional can find out if they 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.
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 committed 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, but remain registered in the BIG register.
If you have a foreign diploma and you would like to work as a care provider in the Netherlands, you can have your diploma recognised through BIG register. If your certificate was issued in the Dutch special municipalities of St Eustatius or Saba, then you also need to have your certificate recognised in the same way. You can read more on the procedures to have your international qualification recognised on the BIG register's website. If your certificate was issued in Bonaire (in Dutch) with Fundashon Mariadal you can now register directly (in Dutch).
To work in the Netherlands as a healthcare professional it is important you have sufficient command of the Dutch language.
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 services. You may register in the BIG, but this is not required.
Pharmacists, physiotherapist 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.