The social security system in the Netherlands

If you start working as an employee in the Netherlands, you will be insured against illness, maternity, disability, accidents at work and occupational illnesses and unemployment, and you will be covered by the schemes for old age pension, survivor benefit, and child benefit. if you start working in the Netherlands, but not as an employee, or you are not working but living in the Netherlands, you will be covered by the schemes for old age pension,

If you work for an employer in the Netherlands, you are required to pay income tax. Your employer deducts these payroll taxes automatically from your salary. You can receive a deduction for a number of taxes and levies. These are called tax credits. Thanks to these tax credits, you pay fewer taxes. Even if you work as a temporary employee or vacation worker you will have to pay taxes and you will be eligible for tax credits. Some tax credits are calculated into your salary, other tax credits are calculated via the taxes you paid in your tax assessment, survivor benefit, and child benefit.

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

Two strands:

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


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 ( 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 or at a local office of the UWV WERKbedrijf.


National rules on social security in a short overview:

Special laws cover each area of social security legislation and contain specific provisions for all residents (national insurance schemes) or for employees (employee insurance schemes).

The following national insurance laws apply:

  • Algemene Nabestaandenwet (ANW) – death
  • Algemene Ouderdomswet (AOW) – old age
  • Algemene Kinderbijslagwet (AKW) – child benefit
  • Wet langdurige zorg (former AWBZ) – special medical expenses
  • Wet werk en arbeidsondersteuning jonggehandicapten (Wajong) – disabled young people


as do the following employee insurance laws:

  • Ziektewet (ZW) – illness
  • Wet werk en inkomen naar arbeidsvermogen (WIA) – disabled
  • Werkloosheidswet (WW) – unemployment
  • Zorgverzekeringswet (Zvw) – medical care


All employees are compulsorily insured for employee insurances (WW/ZVW and WIA). The employer pays the premiums.