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Registering as a healthcare professional

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

To work as a healthcare professional in the Netherlands, you must have the right professional qualifications and register in the BIG register. Read more.

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 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.

These professions are:

  • Allied medical care professional (temporary registration)
  • 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 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). 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 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.

Please note: you are required to communicate your BIG number, but enforcement of this requirement is delayed as a result of the corona crisis. It is yet unknown when enforcement of the requirement will start.

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.

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 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.

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 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 FM Academy (Fundashon Mariadal) you can now register directly (in Dutch).

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.

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 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 need to apply for permission for Temporary and occasional provision of services. 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.

Re-registration

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.

Corona crisis: re-registration resumed

Re-registration in the BIG register was temporarily suspended as a result of the corona crisis. The duty to re-register has been resumed on 25 April 2022 (in Dutch). You have until 31 December 2022 to re-register. You can also consult the frequently asked questions about the resumption of re-registration (in Dutch).

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This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
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