Overview of the Netherlands’ policy on child health, vaccinations against childhood diseases and the Dutch government child benefit…
Pregnancy in Holland involves a midwife (‘verloskundige’) who administers care for mother and baby just prior to and during the birth. Immediately following the birth, whether the child is born at home or in a hospital, an aftercare program called ‘kraamzorg’ kicks in. This needs to be booked during pregnancy as it is extremely popular. It allows a postnatal care nurse (‘kraamvezorgster’) to come to the home for a period of 5-7 days following the birth to help with household tasks and provide care advice for the baby.
After this time, a family ‘huisarts’ (general practitioner or GP) becomes the main point of contact when a child gets sick. Family doctors are typically available Monday to Friday 08:00-17:00. In emergencies, an ill child should be taken to the nearest hospital. Emergency rooms are open 24-hours a day.
Two weeks after the birth, a district nurse from the ‘Consultatiebureau’ (Child Health Clinic) visits the new mother and baby at home. The nurse will provide additional advice on infant/toddler care and makes an appointment for the baby’s first visit to the clinic. The nurse also makes sure the mother has a journal for documenting the baby’s physical development and recording vaccinations and major medical events.
From then until the child reaches four years of age, the Child Health Clinic is available free of charge to help families. Most children and parents make regular visits during the first year and less frequently thereafter to allow for checks on height, weight, physical development and for the child to receive vaccinations.
The clinic also places great emphasis on the child/parent relationship and will make referrals to other support organisations if it believes there is a serious problems.
Vaccinations in the Netherlands…
- diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, hib disease and hepatitis B
- 6-9wks, 3mos, 4mos, 11mos
- same as above plus 4 forms of pneumococci
- 6-9wks, 4mos, 11mos, 4yrs
- mumps, measles, rubella
- 14mos, 9yrs
- meningococci bacterium, types A/C/W/Y
- 14mos, 14yrs
- diptheria, tetanus, polio
- HPV virus types 16/18
- girls 12-13 yrs
The Dutch government website has more information on the national vaccination program in the Netherlands. Vaccinations are not mandatory but over 95% of parents have their children vaccinated. Vaccinations administered by the regional JGZ offices are provided free of charge. Children who have not received standard vaccines may be excluded from various youth activities.
When children reach 5 years of age, parents are notified via mail that a doctor will attending the child’s school to perform vision, hearing and general physical health exams. Parents can address specific concerns they may have with the doctor. Doctors and nurses examine children at school up the child reaches 19 years of age. If any health or developmental problems are noted, the child is referred to a specialist for treatment, such as for speech therapy. Such specialist treatment is provided free-of-charge.
Vaccination records need to be maintained and presented at each periodic health check-up.
The Juvenile Health Care Centre (JGZ) of the Dutch Public Health Department (GGD) is a knowledge institute providing guidance to parents and guardians in the Netherlands about the physical, emotional and psychological development of children.
Locate the nearest GGD/JGZ center in the Netherlands.
Dutch Child Benefits
A child benefit (‘kinderbijslag’) is available to parents living or working in the Netherlands with a child under 18 years of age. It is paid four times a year at the end of at the end of each quarter.
Children born in the Netherlands must be registered in the BRP with the local municipal authorities; an application form for child benefit will be issued automatically.
More information on the Dutch child benefit is available on the SVB website.
Parents who move to the Netherlands with children must apply for the child benefit. A local branch of the Dutch Social Insurance Information Center (Sociale Verzekeringsbank – SVB) will provide additional information. You can locate the nearest SVB center using your post code.
A family entitled to the Dutch child benefit may be able to continue receiving the benefit even if they move to another country. There are several factors that will influence the amount of the child benefit if the family moves to a country outside the EU. The Dutch government must have an existing social security agreement with the country. If not, the Dutch child benefit will not be paid (with the exception of Dutch government employees assigned to the country). If there is an established social security agreement, the child benefit amount will be influenced by the cost of living in that country and the exchange rate (child benefit payments are made in the local currency rather than euros).
More information about receiving the Dutch child benefit when the family or the child is residing outside the Netherlands can be found on the SVB website.