National insurance schemes and social security benefits

National insurance is compulsory for everyone living in the Netherlands. Everyone working here and therefore paying income tax is also insured under the Dutch scheme. People working in salaried employment have compulsory insurance under the employee insurance schemes.

Anyone without compulsory insurance can take out optional insurance subject to certain conditions for particular risks.

The Dutch social security system or AOW (Algemene Ouderdomswet) is a programme of the Dutch government. Individual contributions are automatically deducted from every employee’s monthly salary by the Dutch tax administration, the belastingdienst. Payments out of the fund begin when the contributor reaches the official retirement age. The size of the contribution depends on the number of years worked in the Netherlands and on whether you live alone or with a partner. The system largely takes care of itself but it should be given some careful attention. Adjustments are possible, for example to fill in a gap resulting from a late start in the system, and it is good to be aware of the consequences of various scenarios outside of the norm – for example, inability to work until the standard retirement age.

Apart from the national insurance schemes there are also social security benefits supplementing an inadequate (family) income up to the level of the social minimum for particular living conditions.

A few of the Dutch social security benefits are:

  • unemployment benefit
  • disability benefits
  • maternity/paternity benefit
  • sickness benefit
  • general child benefit (kinderbijslag)

More information