You Can’t Work, Pay Taxes or Get Health Insurance Without Citizen Service Number (BSN)

You Can’t Work, Pay Taxes or Get Health Insurance Without Citizen Service Number (BSN)

The BSN is the citizen service number that allows you to work, pay taxes, and get health insurance in the Netherlands. This is one of the first things you need to get when you arrive in the country.

The citizen service number is also known as the Burgerservicenummer or Sofi Number, and to get it, you must register with the Dutch Tax Administration (Belastingdienst).

Don’t worry, the process is simple. Let’s talk about it in more detail, how paying taxes works for foreign workers and how you can get Dutch health insurance.

What Is Citizen Service Number (BSN)?


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The citizen service number is what every foreign worker needs to work legally in the country. Also, it allows you to pay taxes, get refunds if available, and calculate work-related social security payments. With this number, you can’t open a bank account in all of the banks in the Netherlands, while some will allow you to do so and receive payments. Even so, you’ll need this number and it is best to get it as soon as you move. 

Citizen Service Number Characteristics

This number is a lifetime number. For citizens of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the citizen service number is always indicated on the driver’s licence and on the ID card or passport.

Since the Netherlands isn’t your home country but you come from the European Union, you will receive a separate document with this number. After that, you’ll have access to certain services, no different from any Dutch citizen.

How Do I Get a Citizen Service Number (BSN)?

If you find a job through Robin, you have nothing to worry about because the employment company in the Netherlands will take care of your citizen service number. All you need to bring is any valid identification document (either a passport or your ID card). They will register your residence address and issue the citizen service number.

Since you are from the European Union, you don’t need to receive a residence permit – this is only for people outside the EU and EEA. Sometimes, you may get the citizen service number the same day, but other times, you might wait a few days or a few weeks.

It is possible to start working even if you don’t receive the citizen service number, but a slightly higher tax rate will apply during that period. You can get a tax refund in the following year because that was no mistake on your end, and you will get the extra money back.

Going to the Netherlands On Your Own

If you are going to the Netherlands on your own, you will have to apply for the Sofi Number at the nearest Tax Administration Office. You will have to present an identification document and give your residence address. Again, for EU residents, no residence permit is necessary, while all others need to get one.

Taxes in the Netherlands


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We’ve mentioned that you’ll need to pay taxes, and for that, you’ll need to get the citizen service number. Finding a job through Robin means that you will not have to submit anything to the Dutch Tax Administration. The employment agency you sign a contract with will deduct from your salary and pay taxes for you.

Basic Information about the Dutch Tax System

The Netherlands has a progressive tax system: the more you earn, the more taxes you pay. The maximum amount of tax the government can deduct from your salary is 52%, but you must make at least €57,000 a year.

You can expect around 34–40% of your annual earnings to be taxed. Dutch taxes are among the highest in the world. They are only exceeded by the tax rates in Belgium, Denmark, France, Portugal, and Sweden.

Dutch Health Insurance



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Health insurance is one of the most important things you need to take care of. Not having health insurance may make every doctor’s visit way too expensive.

With Dutch health insurance, you gain access to various health services, reduce your medical costs, and receive proper medical treatment.

No matter how skilled you are, accidents at work happen, and there’s always a chance to get sick. That’s why you need proper medical coverage.

Dutch health insurance is one of the best in Europe, and their healthcare system is unparalleled. Let’s talk more about the medical services offered to foreign workers and what all of this looks like when you arrive in the Netherlands.

Bring Your EHIC or PRC


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For all workers from the EU or EEA, you can bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) from your country. If you are staying for no more than four months, you will not need to get health insurance.

This card allows you access to the healthcare system in the Netherlands on the same terms as Dutch citizens. The card covers medical care that is required during your stay. The only people who don’t have to obtain Dutch health insurance are those who work for a European institution, as they are covered by the Joint Sickness Insurance Scheme, unless they do something else for the Dutch company. 

Public and Private Health Insurance

Before we proceed to what health insurance you need, we need to explain how Dutch health insurance works in the Netherlands. They combine public and private healthcare to provide the best possible health insurance for not only Dutch residents but also foreign students and other people who work temporarily in the Netherlands.

You will need to get public health insurance, which is standardised by every insurance company. A private health insurance policy offers some extra benefits, and every policy differs from one insurance company to another.

Let’s first review what you need:

Compulsory Dutch Health Insurance for Foreign Workers

Because you arrive through Robin to work and stay for at least six months (if everything goes as planned), you need compulsory health insurance.

Getting Dutch health insurance shouldn’t be difficult. You need to find a health insurance provider who will sell you the basic package, which is part of public healthcare. Expat health insurance works the same way.

You have your medical care and medical costs covered with the compulsory health insurance, as well as all your healthcare needs.

Your basic health insurance costs around €100 a month, and it covers:

  • Appointments with your doctor (huisarts)
  • Stays at the hospital
  • Surgery and emergency treatment (ziekenhuis)
  • Ambulance services and patient transport (ambulancevervoer)
  • Prescription medications (medicijnen)
  • Blood tests (bloedonderzoek)
  • Dental care for children under 18 years (tandarts)
  • Limited dental care for adults over 18, restricted to dental surgery, dental x-rays
  • Mental health care (geestelijke gezondheidszorg)
  • Appointments with medical specialists such as dermatologists, allergists or internal specialists

How to Choose the Best Dutch Health Insurance

It doesn’t really matter where you get the basic package or the basic health insurance (Basisverzekering). It is a mandatory one to get, and it provides coverage for standard medical care. As we’ve already said, you first need to get your citizen service number before you can apply for this medical insurance.

Dutch and International Health Insurance Companies You Can Contact


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However, there are a large number of providers that offer medical insurance and different private health plans. If you want an additional Dutch health insurance policy, you can check out some of these Dutch and international health insurance companies:

  1. CZ Health Insurance (CZ Zorgverzekering)
  2. VGZ Health Insurance (VGZ Zorgverzekering)
  3. Menzis Health Insurance (Menzis Zorgverzekering)
  4. Achmea Health Insurance (Achmea Zorgverzekering) – This includes several brands under Achmea, such as Zilveren Kruis, Interpolis, and FBTO.
  5. ONVZ Health Insurance
  6. De Friesland Health Insurance (De Friesland Zorgverzekeraar)
  7. Delta Lloyd Health Insurance
  8. Ohra Health Insurance
  9. Salland Insurance (Salland Zorgverzekeringen)

Every insurance company on this list is reliable, but we’ll leave the choice to you, as we don’t want to promote any insurance company over another.

Should I Get Additional Insurance For Extra Protection?

For those of you who want additional insurance, you can always get it. This includes some physiotherapy, alternative medicine, and dental care. For example, maternity care and hearing aids are only partly covered with Dutch health insurance (the basic care and medical expenses are included), and if you want extra coverage there as well as some benefits, you can get additional health insurance.

In addition, plastic surgery isn’t included in the basic health insurance policy. These are all the extras that aren’t considered essential.

For foreign workers, getting additional medical insurance isn’t necessary, and it could be considered an unnecessary expense. Your basic medical insurance will cover all of your needs and cut down on medical expenses significantly.

How Can I Apply for Dutch Health Insurance?

With your citizen service number, you can apply for health insurance. They are legally required to accept you for basic insurance coverage regardless of health issues, pre-existing conditions, your health needs, or your economic status.

Monthly Premium for Your Dutch Health Insurance

For your Dutch health insurance to be active, you will need to pay a monthly premium. It costs around €100 a month, but the fee depends on your age, income, and the insurance company you select.

It is essential to maintain your health insurance during your stay in the Netherlands. Failing to do so can result in fines, but it will also increase your medical expenses if you end up in the hospital in need of medical care.

Civil Liability Insurance is Specific to the Netherlands

You might not need additional insurance, but civil liability insurance is something we recommend you get.

Under Dutch law, if you cause damage to other people, you must take responsibility and pay for it. Civil liability insurance is very popular in the country, with around 90% of the population covered.

What does it do?

It can cover repairs to the car if you hit someone or something while driving, minor damage to furniture in a rented apartment, or even restoring a neighbour’s lawn that has been vandalised by your dog.

Also, liability insurance even takes care of damages caused by professional activities, such as medical suits, so it is recommended for everyone.

Final Words

After you sign your contract (online or when you arrive), your first priority is to get the citizen service number (BSN). An employment agency will get one for you. They’ll also pay taxes for you. However, with your number, you need to get Dutch health insurance.

Pick one of the providers from the list and explain what you need; they will get it for you. The process is simple, and the sooner you get your health insurance, the better it is for you.

We’ve hopefully answered all of your questions about Dutch health insurance. Feel free to write to us if you have any questions, and one of our recruiters will provide details for you. If you’ve already arrived in the Netherlands, contact your employer to help you with health insurance. 

Explore jobs in the Netherlands and apply today! 


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