Procedure working as a doctor in the Netherlands

This is a summary of the procedure of the medical license exam that medical doctors, with a degree from outside the EU, have to complete before they can work in the Netherlands. On this website, we call it ‘the assessment procedure’. Mind you: this is a short version of how to become a medical doctor in the Netherlands; the full procedure is explained in detail in Dutch on this website (you can translate the content to English or other languages).

LEARNING DUTCH is the most important advise that we can give!

The assessment procedure

The procedure of how to become a medical doctor in the Netherlands is as follows:

  1. Get a visa from a Dutch embassy for the Netherlands. It should be a long time stay visa; on a tourist Visa you can not work! This website explain more in detail what to do.
  2. Learn the Dutch Language. You should master the language on at least the NT2-B2 level but ‘on the job experience’ shows that you will need a level of C1 or C2.
  3. Apply for the BIG registration. You will need to prepare for the following exams:
  4. The AKV exam (General Knowledge and Skills).
  5. The BI exam (Beroeps inhoudelijke exam): Prove that your medical knowledge and skills are up to the Dutch standards).
  6. Based on you Diploma (where you acquired it) and the results of the exams mentioned above, in most cases you will have to do an internship in a Dutch University Hospital.
    Note: If your results are too poor (according to the exam committee, something that seldom happens) you can not work as a doctor in the Netherlands.
  7. After completing all steps above you can be registered to work in the Netherlands.
  8. Find a job; you have to compete with colleagues from abroad and the students from the Netherlands. For a more detailed description about residency in training (AIOS) and not in training (ANIOS), please read all about it on this page.
  9. If you need to recognize your specialist diploma, after recorgnizing your basic doctor diploma (above mentioned procedure), please read more on this page.

How long will the procedure take

The procedure described above will take at least 3 to 4 years but it can take much longer depending on your (language) skills.

What will it cost me

The costs of applying for the procedure above are considerable. You will have to invest at least €3000 for exam and training fees but €5000 is probably a more realistic figure! In some cases however it can go over €20.000!


The information above is to give an INDICATION of the procedure and it might change in the future. No rights can be claimed on the content of this page.

Interesting government websites regarding this matter

If you want to be sure about the contnt: go to the official websites of the Dutch government.