The EEA allows the free movement of people. This also applies to doctors, because the countries which make up the European Economic Area (EEA) recognise each other’s doctor’s licences. In practice, approximately 400 European doctors per year are granted permission to practise medicine in the Netherlands.
In order to be able to communicate with your patients, it is vital that you command Dutch to an acceptable level, preferably to language level C1.
Until recently, the Dutch government did not enforce Dutch language requirements. However, a new EU directive has enabled the government to require that practitioners of professions where patient safety is at stake speak the local language. Therefore, Minister Edith Schippers of Public Health, Welfare and Sport is seeking to amend the BIG Act (Healthcare Professions Act) so that doctors and other healthcare professionals from EEA countries will have to prove their competence in Dutch before being allowed to register as healthcare professionals in the Netherlands.
Employers and training facilities are within their rights not to hire you unless you can prove that you have a good command of the Dutch language. Likewise, Dutch hospitals and other health facilities may well require that European doctors applying for jobs with them take the General Knowledge and Skills assessment or another Dutch language assessment before being offered a position.
Once you have registered with the BIG Register, you will be allowed to start applying for junior doctor positions in the Netherlands, e.g. through medischcontactbanen.nl.
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