Vitamins, painkillers, prescriptions: all forms of medication are available in the Netherlands. Different types of medicine are, however, found in various different locations. Some will be in your local drugstore, next to the baby food. Others must be prescribed by a Dutch GP, and collected from a pharmacy. Find out where to get what on this page. It will also offer a little information on sourcing alternative forms of medicine in NL.
THE DRUGSTORE AND THE PHARMACY
1. The Drugstore
‘Drogisterij’ (drugstores) do not stock prescription drugs. You should visit the drogisterij when you are in need of an over-the-counter remedy. Over-the-counter medications include items like:
- Throat lozenges
- Homeopathic medicines
- Pain relievers
Drogisterij also hold:
- Cleaning supplies
- Baby formulas and foods.
2. The Pharmacy
Like drugstores, ‘apotheeken’ (pharmacies or apothecaries) offer:
- Over-the-counter (non-prescription) drugs
- Homeopathic medicines
- Infant formulas
- Some baby foods
- Medical supplies
Unlike at the drugstore, you can collect medication that your doctor has prescribed you from the ‘apotheek’. Here is what you need to know about it:
- Usually, prescription drugs are filled at an apotheek
- The apotheek computerizes your prescriptions and keeps a close watch on the drugs you are taking. This enables them to avoid drug interaction
- Most apotheeken bill your insurance company directly for the costs of prescription medicine
- Apotheeken usually have regular opening hours. However, there will always be an apotheek open in the evenings and on weekends
- You can pick up a schedule from any apotheek. It will show when each apotheeken in your area is open. If you do not have access to a schedule, the name of the nearest apotheek that is open after-hours should be posted on your local apotheek’s door. If it is not, you will be able to find it on their website.
Homeopathic medicines can be purchased at either an apotheek, drogisterij or a reformhuis (health food store).
Alternative forms medicine, like acupuncture and homeopathy, are very popular in the Netherlands.
In fact, some homeopathic medicines can be purchased at either an apotheek, a drogisterij or a ‘reformhuis’ (health food store). For more information on alternative medicines, get in touch with the ‘Infolijn Alternatieve Geneeswijzen’: The alternative medicine information line. Our article on other medical issues in the Netherlands might help you as well.