Those who legally reside and/or work in the Netherlands are, in principle, subject to the Dutch social security system. There are two kinds of compulsory social insurance schemes in the Netherlands. One is applicable to the population in general (national insurance schemes), and the other is applicable to employees only (employee insurance schemes).

National Insurance Schemes

The national insurance schemes (volksverzekeringen) cover all persons living or working in the Netherlands, and include the following:

  • General Old Age Pensions Act (AOW): an old age pension paid out upon reaching the age of 65+.
  • General Surviving Relatives Act (ANW): an income-dependent widow’s, widower’s or ‘dependent children’s’ benefit.
  • Long-Term Care Act (WLZ): for those who need intensive care orsupervision 24/7.
  • The Health Insurance Act (ZVW): this act declares that everyone who legally resides in the Netherlands and is subject to the Dutch social security system is obligated to have health insurance.
  • Child Benefit Act (AKW – Kinderbijslag): a benefit paid out to parents who have children under the age of 18.

Please note that contributions for the national insurance schemes are levied on income, up to approximately 33,791 euros a year, together with the income tax.

Employment Insurance Schemes

In principle, it is compulsory for anyone employed in the Netherlands to be insured under the employee insurance schemes (werknemersverzekeringen), which include:

  • Sickness Benefits act (ZW) / WULBZ / WVLBZ: Based on this act, your employer is obligated to continue paying you a percentage of your salary, during the first 104 weeks of sickness.
  • Work and Income According to Labor Capacity Act (WIA): created for those who have been disabled and out of work for more than 104 weeks. The aim of this act is to stimulate ‘ability’ to work.
  • Disability Insurance Act (WAO): for employees who were already receiving the WAO-benefit on January 1, 2006.
  • Unemployment Insurance Act (WW): an insurance against the financial consequences of unemployment.

The contributions for the employee insurance schemes are levied by the tax department, together with the wage tax.



You are not subject to the Dutch social security legislation if you have been posted to the Netherlands from another EU or EEA (European Economic Area) member state, or Switzerland, or if you work here for less than six months. This changes if the income you earn in the Netherlands is subject to wage tax, and you in fact carry out your work here.

There is an entirely separate set of rules surrounding continued coverage of the social insurance system of another EU/EEA/Swiss country. They are just too detailed to go into here, so for more information visit, under Payroll Taxes.


If the Netherlands has entered into a social security treaty with the country from which you have been posted, this treaty determines which social security legislation applies to you. If you are here temporarily, you will probably continue to be covered by the social security system of the country from which you have been posted.

If you have been posted from a country with which the Netherlands has not entered into a social security treaty, it is, in general, not possible to obtain an exemption from the Dutch social security system.

If the total of your benefits and any other family income amounts to less than the minimum income, you can apply to the Social Security Institution for a supplement, under the Supplemental Benefits Act (Toeslagenwet). These benefits are paid out specifically to help finance rent, health care insurance premiums, daycare for the children of working parents and general expenses related to the having of children.

Useful links
For more information about what types of insurance are available, click here

Sociale Verzekeringsbank (Social Insurance Bank):


Dutch Tax:

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