To start a medical practice in the Netherlands you must complete a Bachelor’s and Master’s programme at a Dutch research university or have one of the following diplomas from abroad that are recognised in the country.
The list of international medical degrees recognised in Holland (.pdf) can be found at the official registration website (BIG-register) of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. To start your career as a physician (arts or docter in Dutch), you must register your diploma at the BIG-register website and receive appropriate accreditation from the Ministry. You must also pass the NT2 Dutch language exam (Dutch as a second language).
Qualification exam for foreign specialists
In case you did not find your diploma in the list, you can pass an official qualification exam which consists of several steps and will determine your knowledge and skills both in medicine and in the Dutch language. Normally, the whole assessment takes about a year. Depending on your exam’s results, you may also be asked to complete a medical higher education programme at a Dutch university if you plan to work in Holland as a physician.
Diplomas eligible for PhD programmes
Some medical diplomas may allow their holders to apply for a PhD programme at a Dutch university, even if they aren’t valid for a professional career start. With a PhD degree, you can work as a researcher or as a teacher in the area. You can still pass a qualification exam and complete any necessary programmes at a Dutch university to start a professional career.
Dutch universities with the top medical programmes
Research universities in the Netherlands offer Bachelor’s (Bsc Geneeskunde) and Master’s (Msc Geneeskunde) programmes in the fields of medicine and healthcare, taught in Dutch. According to the QS World University Rankings 2014, top programmes in this category are available at Erasmus University Rotterdam (27th worldwide), Leiden University (36th), and the University of Amsterdam (44th).
Prospective students should also remember that programmes in Medicine and Dentistry are very popular in the Netherlands. Due to existing quotas and a national system of selection, only one of three applicants will actually be enrolled in their desired programme.