Dutch social security system explained

Dutch social security system explained

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The Dutch social security system is one of the most comprehensive in Europe but access to the Dutch welfare system is becoming more restrictive.

The Dutch social security system is one of the most comprehensive in Europe but access to the welfare system is becoming more restrictive. There are three strands:

  • National Insurance administered by the social insurance bank (www.svb.nl), which includes old age pension (AOW) and child benefit (AKW);
  • Employee Insurance administered by UWV (www.uwv.nl), including unemployment benefit (WW, see below), long-term disability (WIA) and sickness (ZW); and
  • Social Assistance administered by municipalities (www.rechtopbijstand.nl).


Specific conditions apply to each benefit. Also, do check that your residence rights are not affected if you apply for benefits. Your official documents will need to be in good order. Consult the Ministry of Social Affairs and Welfare website (www.szw.nl) for more information.

Unemployment benefit (WW)

Your employment history will determine the amount and duration of payments. It comprises the first two months at 75 percent and thereafter 70 percent of your last earned salary (there’s a maximum daily rate of EUR 195.96 gross). You must have worked for 26 out of the previous 36 weeks before the first day of unemployment (may be fewer if you are a musician or artist, or not in regular employment). It can be restricted if other benefits are in operation. You apply for benefit online at www.werk.nl or at a local office of UWV WERKbedrijf.

Voluntary work

A volunteer is a vrijwilliger and there are many opportunities depending on your skills. Expat advice centre ACCESS is always on the lookout for volunteers in its offices in Den Haag (www.access-nl.org).



Updated by Sanne van Ruitenbeek of Pallas Advocaten (www.pallaslaw.nl).
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Updated from 2012.

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12 Comments To This Article

  • nina posted:

    on 16th September 2016, 09:10:37 - Reply

    Hi, I am french and has been working in Germany for 5 years. I will move with my husband to Netherlands. My Husband has a job in Netherlands.
    The German government told me that I could transfer my unemployment money from German government to Netherlands. The German officer asked me to register myself for unemployment money in the Netherlands.
    Who shall I contact? I am so confused.


    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • NAZZARENO posted:

    on 28th August 2016, 10:50:30 - Reply

    l am from malta and live in malta l work in holland offshore since 2002 drilling company pay taxes and socail security heir in holland l might lose my job do l have a wright for unemployment benifits in holland .

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert service]

  • julie posted:

    on 29th February 2016, 15:22:05 - Reply

    dang I got the same issue here! Let me know if u got anything on it.

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • Alejandra posted:

    on 6th July 2015, 19:23:15 - Reply

    Before apply to social aasistance, how can I check that my residence rights are not affected?
    Thanks and regards
  • expat posted:

    on 16th May 2015, 11:59:44 - Reply

    Hi Sybelle, it is very hard to find skilled jobs here without dutch. What is your native language, there can be jobs for translators or back office employees like customer support ( as some companies operate in many countries so they want people that speak those languages) you should explore such options.

    Also, go to www.duolingo.com to learn dutch for free.. its a very good site and will get u started. Then practice in supermarkets etc. to perfect it.
    Good luck !
    Some companies u can try are booking.com and travelbird , they hire non dutch speaking employees.

  • sybelle posted:

    on 26th February 2015, 20:54:36 - Reply

    I have my permanent residency due to my marriage. We were told that I cannot get any benefits because my husband has a job. We are having difficulties because he does not earn enough money and because I do not know that I could not find a job although I applied to employment agencies. At the moment I found a teaching job which is only 7 hours a week and most of the money is spent on travelling expenses. Before I came to Holland I was a full time teacher at a university. I am a qualified teacher with 17 years of experience but the job applications were rejected because I do not know Dutch. It is getting really frustrating because I want to go to a course to learn Dutch but while we are having difficulties financially this cannot be the case.
    In what situations can I be eligible to get social security? Regards

    [Moderator's note: You can post questions on our Ask the Expert free service]

  • joan posted:

    on 18th August 2014, 13:25:55 - Reply

    Hi im jhoan living here in philippines and i have a ducth husband he over live here in philippines over 7yrs. he have a pension call UVW. i want to stopped his pession becuase he have another girl now.iWhat i can do to stop his pension??? is there any conclusion. please help me
  • vrede posted:

    on 26th May 2014, 12:59:22 - Reply

    The system of social security is based on a poverty trap. The gov is against people from owning assets except for the selected elite group. The reason is very simple. The woning corporation is controlled by some some extremely powerful people.
  • emanuela posted:

    on 1st May 2013, 16:01:48 - Reply

    This is so true-never ever buy a place in NL!!!!
    It will cut off any entitlement to state benefits (which I am sure you want to access after all those 52 to 60% salary tax payments!) for as long as you own the house!!
  • diana posted:

    on 10th April 2013, 10:25:04 - Reply


    I was jobless and got my WW (a time limited unemployment benefit - 3 months for me) and then, when i was still jobless and entitled to receive 'Bijstand' (some kind of welfare which isn't time limited), the government told me that I own a house and that that is why I wasn't going to be entitled to any 'Bijstand' (600-1200eur monthly). Now, they forced me to put my place on sale, and with this recession this is not working out well, because there are no buyers. So I argued with the Bijstand people that my house can't be sold, and I am running out of cash to survive. So they advised me that I should sell the place at a loss. I explained to them that this was ensane, because i have to live somewhere, and where am I to live if my place gets sold? they told me, I could return to them after I show them the sales deed, and then I should simply get some other place in the rental market (even if it is more expensive today to rent, than back in the days when I originally bought my place). They said everyone was in the same boat. Everyone will be forced to sell before getting any 'Bijstand'. If I didn't like it, I could get a loan from a bank to survive, but I already tried it, and the bank wasn't going to help.

    I paid so much taxes and social securities over the past years, around 60% from my salary went to the government. Why don't I get anything back when I am in dire straits????

    This country is unfairly penalizing home owners and pushing them even further down in financial problems by forcing them to exchange their purchased home for a rental again
  • Paul posted:

    on 16th October 2012, 23:14:40 - Reply


    You can get some money from the government if you work at least 32 hours per month. I've heard that you can get 300-350 euro (the amount can depend on whether you are dutch or not)
  • MattiaRondinelli posted:

    on 30th July 2012, 20:48:18 - Reply

    My name's Mattia,I'm an Italian 23yo student.
    I will graduate in December and My intentions are
    to apply for a master at the Universiteit van Amsterdam,where actually I spent my last year,under the Erasmus/LLP Program.
    I would like to know if there will be the opportunity in 2013 to receive
    government funds in the Netherlands.I'm asking since an Italian friend already living and studying there told me she is receiving some kind of money(but you hae to work 40 hours a month-that's what she said)
    I thanks for this website and I kept
    Waiting for answers