Canal Boating Safely in the Netherlands

health insurance netherlands

There are plenty of reasons to visit the Netherlands (it boasts a thriving tourism industry), and many families choose to embark on a barge tour of the country’s world-famous waterways. These holidays are especially suited to those with children, and who like to be on the move during their holidays. There’s room on a barge for children to play and burn off energy, neatly avoiding the ordeal of restlessness on a long car journey.

Before travelling anywhere in Europe, including the Netherlands, UK holidaymakers should apply for an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), however, even with an EHIC in place, there are still other things to consider. While barge holidays are generally very safe, a solid, cheap family travel insurance plan should help avoid any unpleasant surprises should you be unfortunate enough to encounter health issues during your holiday. Below is an overview of what to expect in terms of medical treatment when visiting the Netherlands on a barging holiday.

AGIS Zorgverzekeringen

Should any member of your party become ill in health insurance netherlands you won’t always have to fall back on your insurance policy if you have an EHIC. When making an appointment with a doctor, ensure they are working under the AGIS Zorgverzekeringen scheme and then your EHIC will be enough to avoid any charges.

If you need a prescription, you can contact the AGIS for advice and they’ll be able to tell you whether your EHIC entitles you to a refund or whether you’ll have to apply when you return home. Either way, even if it’s cheap, family travel insurance should cover any medicines you might need – meaning you can minimise the chance of any unexpected expenditure during your family barge holiday.


In case of emergency, you should call an ambulance to the nearest possible place where the patient can disembark from the barge (in cases of head, neck or back injury, it’s better to let the paramedics move the patient). When you get to the hospital, show them the relevant paperwork (even a cheap family travel insurance plan will include some kind of certification or proof of insurance), or produce the EHIC and ask staff to contact the AGIS. You may also end up needing to go to a hospital if you’re referred by a doctor, in which case you simply need to find a good mooring spot for the barge, then take the patient to the hospital yourself – remembering to take their EHIC or any relevant insurance paperwork.


All the above advice applies to any children travelling with you, and a good cheap family travel insurance plan should have them covered for most risks involved in a canal boating holiday. In fact, children are actually better covered under Dutch law; for example, in case of urgent dental treatment, they are treated for free.

Other Notes

Many visitors to Amsterdam go in search of the city’s famous nightlife. However, you should be aware that drink or drug related mishaps are most often not covered by travel insurance, so ensure you act responsibly if you plan to indulge in the city’s renowned party scene.

To ensure a safe and thoroughly enjoyable trip be sure to have your EHIC and insurance taken care of before you leave home, so that if anything unforeseen does occur you’re well prepared.

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