Waterside city in the Netherlands

Travel Insurance for the Netherlands

Planning an adventure to the Netherlands? Don't forget about travel insurance

From the thrilling cosmopolitan that is Amsterdam, to the rural charm of the far north, the Netherlands is a beautiful country with much to offer. This extremely dense and urbanised country is one of the most developed nations in the world. Its distinct progressive identity, combined with the fact that most people speak English, makes the Netherlands an extremely attractive place for many Australian travellers.

So do I need travel insurance?

Like most travel destinations, Netherlands has many potential risks for the unwary and is why taking out the right insurance is of high importance. Despite having a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia, there many limitations of such system which makes travel insurance a high priority for travellers.

Continue reading this guide to see why travel insurance for the Netherlands is an essential protection to have or:

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Is the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement enough?

Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RCHA) with a number of European countries including the Netherlands. This allows Australian visitors to access the local public health system for emergency medical treatment. But while the Dutch health system is of a high standard, it would not be wise to rely on the RHCA. It only covers certain things and does not cover;

  • Ambulance
  • Dental and elective surgery
  • Funerals
  • Medical evacuation back to Australia

  • Para-medical services
  • Treatment in a private hospital
  • Treatment as a private patient in a public hospital
  • Non-urgent medical treatment.

For this reason, you should not rely on the RCHA and should ensure you have travel insurance with overseas medical and hospital cover before visiting the Netherlands.

5 alarming travel concerns in the Netherlands you must know about

Travelling anywhere overseas can have dangers, so it always pays to have travel insurance and to know something about your destination before arriving. The key travel concerns of the Netherlands are

  • Terrorism. The Netherlands Co-ordinator for Security and Terrorism warns that national terrorism threat level in the Netherlands is rated as ‘substantial’ and you should be vigilant in public places at all times.
  • Asylum seekers. Smartraveller says there has been a large influx of asylum seekers which has led to localised public transport disruptions and this should be factored into your travel plans.
  • Theft and pickpocketing. Bag snatching and pickpocketing has been reported as a common occurrence, particularly in Amsterdam, so always keep passports and valuables on your person rather than in a bag.
  • Airport delays. Schipol Airport has been reported to have long delays, due to the their security check's process and airport layout. This could potentially cause missed connections
  • Drugs and spiking. While the Netherland's is known for it's liberal view towards drugs, and you will want to avoid situations where you are spiked unexpectedly with an unknown substance

The following case study illustrates how travel insurance can get you out of a sticky situation in the Netherlands.

Tony and Anne's Stolen Wallets

Tony and Anne were holidaying in Amsterdam when they were approached by two men who claimed to be plain clothes police. The men demanded to inspect their currency for counterfeit notes, but when they handed over their wallets they fled, leaving Tony and Anne without any money or ID. Fortunately, their insurer had an emergency assistance service in the Netherlands and they were able to lodge a successful claim to have their passports and money replaced.

Am I covered if I participate in marijuana tourism? amsterdam-district

"Weed Tourism"

Weed, or marijuana tourism is travelling for the purpose of obtaining or using marijuana and because of its relaxed attitude to drugs, the Netherlands is a destination for marijuana tourists from Europe and abroad.

In recent times, the Netherlands has become divided on whether its drug laws should be tightened, with the north and south having different opinions on the matter. Local governments in districts that rely on such tourism are defying federal bans on supplying marijuana to tourists and the practice still continues in pockets of the country.

Here's what travel insurers think

While the Netherlands has a relaxed view on drugs, the same cannot be said for travel insurance companies. Most travel policies have an exclusion to the effect that cover is voided if the insured is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, unless prescribed by a medical practitioner. 

A balcony high up

Mark, a young backpacker from Melbourne, was enjoying his afternoon on the 3rd floor of his apartment, situated above a renown cannabis cafe in Rotterdam. Earlier that day he had consumed a few menu items from downstairs, and was now feeling the effects. Misjudging his balance, Mark slipped off the balcony and broke his leg. Mark's insurer refused his claim on the ground that he was intoxicated, and he was forced to pay for his own medical treatment, which came to several thousand dollars.

redlight-amsterdamnIf I participate in escort services in the Red Light District am I covered medically?

Amsterdam's Red Light District

Just as the Netherlands has a relaxed attitude to drug use, it also views prostitution in a more liberal light. Amsterdam’s Red Light District is a classic example, where tourists flock to see prostitutes touting their wares in the famous shop front windows.

Here's what travel insurers think

If a tourist were to do more than look, they could find themselves in the same position as a marijuana tourist. Insurers have an exclusion in their policies which states that claims arising from reckless or irresponsible behaviour are not covered. If you were assaulted or had your valuables stolen while consorting with prostitutes, you would not be covered, just as you would not be covered if you contracted a sexually transmitted disease (another automatic exclusion in most policies).

If something goes wrong, how do I make a claim?

If something goes wrong in the Netherlands and you have to claim on your travel insurance, you will need to follow the correct procedure to ensure a successful outcome. The steps involved include;

  • If it is a criminal matter. You will need to obtain a report from local police within 24 hours of the crime and contact your insurer as soon as possible
  • If it is a minor medical claim. You may have to pay for treatment upfront and claim the cost back later
  • If it is something requiring hospitalisation. You will need to contact your insurer immediately to guarantee payment to the hospital, otherwise you may not be admitted
  • In all cases. You will need to fill out a claim form and send it to your insurer along with all requested documentation

What are the specific entry requirements  for the Netherlands?

Passport valid for 3 months beyond the length of stay

To enter the Netherlands, an Australian traveller requires a passport valid for at least three months beyond the length of their stay.

Return ticket and means of living

You must have a return airline ticket and must be able to show evidence of sufficient funds.

Residence permit after 90 days

You can stay up to 90 days, after which you must leave or apply for a residence permit. And while travel insurance is not compulsory during the 90 days, you will be required to take out health insurance if your residence application is successful.

When is the best* time to travel to the Netherlands?

Deciding when to travel to the Netherlands will depend on your budget and what you want to do while you are there. 

Time of the yearActivities
  • Summer
  • Bike riding
  • Explore the canals
  • Spring (last two weeks of April and first two weeks of May)
  • Take a trip to the famed Dutch tulips
  • Winter
  • Ice-skating on frozen canals
  • Mid-September through to Mid November
  • January through March
  • Travel on a budget

Organising money for the Netherlands

What currency do you need?

As part of the EU, the Netherlands uses the Euro as its currency. When travelling to any country, it is always a good idea to have a little cash on hand for places that don’t accept cards and you will get reasonable exchange rates for Euros from the larger money exchangers in places like Amsterdam.

Money for tips for the Netherlands

Using a card for your transactions is a better way to go in the Netherlands, as there are ATMs everywhere and cards are accepted in most establishments. If you choose to use a credit card, be aware that you will be charged a conversion fee every time you use it and also a withdrawal fee. The main advantage of using a credit card is that it provides security through its zero-liability guarantee, which reimburses you if you fall victim to fraud.

A better alternative is a travel card, which allows you to load and spend Euros without incurring a currency conversion fee, although you will still pay reloading and ATM fees. 

Who do I contact in an emergency?

It’s always a good feeling to know you can contact someone in an emergency and the following details will assist you if something goes wrong in the Netherlands;

  • Minor matters. Contact friends and family if it is a minor issue such as needing money urgently
  • Criminal matters. Contact the local police and obtain a police report if making a claim
  • Emergencies. Contact your insurer’s emergency assistance provider or the Netherlands emergency services number 112
  • Consular matter. Contact details are shown below.

What am I covered and not covered for?

A normal comprehensive travel insurance policy will provide the following benefits and exclusions:


  • Overseas medical emergency treatment and hospitalisation
  • Lost deposits and cancellation fees
  • Lost, stolen or damaged luggage and personal items
  • Stolen cash and travel documents
  • Personal liability for third party injuries or property damage
  • Rental vehicle excess
  • Flight delays and cancellations.


  • Undisclosed pre-existing medical conditions
  • Travelling to a region where a government warning has been issued
  • Incidents related to a pandemic or epidemic
  • Incidents related to a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
  • Pregnancy or childbirth (unless due to complications)
  • Not taking reasonable action to limit your loss
  • Reckless or irresponsible behaviour
  • Unattended baggage
  • Any mental or nervous disorder

  • Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Self-inflicted injuries or attempted suicide
  • Illegal or unlawful actions
  • Detention, confiscation or destruction by a government authority
  • Riding a motorcycle above a certain engine capacity
  • Participating in extreme sports or activities which are not covered
  • Incidents related to undertaking unauthorised paid employment
  • Acts of war or terrorism.

5 steps to selecting travel insurance for the Netherlands 

Choosing the right level of travel insurance for the Netherlands involves asking yourself 5 simple questions

  • Where am I going. Understand the different risks that come with travelling to a city like Amsterdam in comparison to the coast of Friesland
  • How long am I going for. Decide if you will need long stay cover
  • What will I be doing. If you were to horse ride along the country side you will need to seek a policy that covers such activities
  • What am I taking. Get extra cover for expensive items such as cameras and electronics
  • What do I have. Any pre-existing medical conditions need to be declared

I'm ready to compare travel insurance for the Netherlands

While the Netherlands is basically a safe country to visit, there are plenty of good reasons to have comprehensive travel insurance in case the unexpected should happen. With cover for medical emergencies, lost belongings and trip cancellations and delays, you can rest easy and enjoy all this beautiful country has to offer.

Compare travel insurance quotes from Australian insurers

Picture: Moyan Brenn, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)
Picture: Cédric Puisney, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)
Picture: Selma Broeder, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)

*The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing travel insurance policies. $21 price is for a 3 day trip for a 25 year old traveller. This price may be subject to change

Maurice Thach

Maurice is a publisher for finder.com.au. Daily research of Australia's insurance offerings allows him to breakthrough the noise of the many policies out there to uncover what can (and can't) be covered. Maurice hopes to make finding the right insurance easier for all.

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