Perhaps you are considering a career abroad, and you are still trying to figure out which country is the best for your future as a dentist. What makes a country the right environment for you to start or continue your career? Maybe the Netherlands is one of the options on the table, but it can be difficult to find correct and up-to-date information. In this blog, I will give you 12 reasons why the Netherlands is an attractive option for you as a dentist.

1. Plenty of vacancies and a big shortage of dentists

The Netherlands has been dealing with a shortage of dentists for years, and the end is not in sight. Many dentists are expected to retire in the coming few years, and there simply are not enough fresh graduates to fill their shoes. This makes it difficult for Dutch dentists to find new colleagues.

In order to keep Dutch dentistry healthy and patients happy, we depend on dentists who come from elsewhere in the EU to take these jobs. Dentists such as you. With the call for new dentists only increasing, you will find career opportunities in the Netherlands for years to come!

2. High quality of dentistry

The Netherlands is known for having a strong healthcare system, and this also extends to dentistry. It is home to many modern clinics where a wide range of treatments is offered. Contrary to some other countries, dentists in the Netherlands work with an assistant.

Patients generally visit the dentist twice per year for a check-up. This means that dentists have busy schedules. It is not an exception to see 15-25 patients per day, although the presence of an assistant will allow the dentists to dedicate themselves fully to the quality of the treatment. This focus on efficiency and quality allows young dentists to quickly gain work experience while also developing themselves as professionals.

Due to Dutch dentistry having a reputation of high quality, it is also something that patients have come to expect. But it is also this expectation that makes them more willing to pay for the best treatment. Concretely, this means that you will not just be doing fillings and extractions all day, but also treatments in fields such as prosthetics, endodontics and implantology. This variety allows for a high monthly turnover and, with that, high salaries.

3. (Young) Dentist are respected

In the Netherlands, dentistry is seen as a cornerstone of healthcare. By visiting the dentist for regular check-ups, an important basis for the patient’s general health – oral health – is safeguarded.

Dental healthcare is important to patients, and they trust that you are able to give them the best treatment. Age is not an issue; if you are able to get a clear picture of the needs of the patient and provide them with a fitting treatment, the patient will go home satisfied. A satisfied patient feels confident in your expertise, and will return to your clinic for the next check-up. Of course, communication and a good command of the Dutch language are an essential part of providing quality dental care.

4. Fixed costs

The costs of dental treatments in the Netherlands are fixed. This means that there is no competition in the area of pricing, and clinics are not able to promote their business with free treatments or other special offers. As a dentist, you can truly set yourself apart in terms of quality. When you provide good healthcare, patients will reward this by returning to your clinic for the next check-up or treatment.

5. Good working conditions – A stable balance between life and work

Being a dentist is among the best-paying jobs in the Netherlands. This means a good starting salary for young dentists, along with the perspective to grow considerably. None of this goes at the cost of a healthy balance between work and life.

From dentists who work in other European countries, I often hear stories about how they work 10 to 12-hour days (50 hours a week) for the same salary. This is not an issue in the Netherlands. The average work day lasts for 8 hours, and a full-time job amounts to 38-40 hours per week. There is plenty of time left for a life outside of your career, such as friends, family, sports and social activities.

6. Social security

The Netherlands has an elaborate social safety net. Should you encounter financial troubles due to unemployment (unlikely, given the current market situation), disease or other issues, there is ample opportunity to receive government support. If you have children, you may also be entitled to certain financial benefits to help you out as a caretaker.

In terms of retirement funds, dentists generally do not require financial aid of any sorts, as their earnings during their career are more than enough to allow for an enjoyable and carefree retirement. Because of this, many dentists choose to retire early, as they have enough money to live a comfortable life off interest alone.

7. Democracy, diversity & stable government

The Netherlands is known worldwide for its tolerance and freedom. As a dentist from abroad, it is pleasant to know that this is a safe country, where you will be accepted for who you are, regardless of ethnicity, sexual identity or religious beliefs.

Currently, we are living in an interesting time politically. The United Kingdom intends to leave the EU, and not even every country within the EU offers certainty and stability. The Netherlands is and will firmly remain a part of the EU, and, as such, keeps investing in labor mobility between EU countries. We also have a stable, corruption-free government that is eager to welcome EU labor migrants and give them a chance to build new lives and careers here.

8. 30% Ruling – Tax benefit for expats

With the 30% Ruling, the Dutch government hopes to attract foreign professionals who possess a certain expertise that is scarce here. This includes dentistry. Our government wants to compensate you for any extra costs you may incur while moving to the Netherlands, such as housing, learning the language, and other things. In practice, this means that you are entitled to tax exemption of up to 30% of your gross salary across 5 years, making it highly attractive to work in the Netherlands from a financial point of view.

9. Strong organization and good infrastructure

Dutch society has many general advantages, such as safety, good organization, punctuality, reliability and efficiency. Salaries are given out on a fixed date (the exact date varies per employer) and (medical) organizations work with such efficiency that most issues are resolved quickly.

Additionally, Dutch infrastructure is particularly strong. Every part of the country can be reached with ease, roads are maintained well and public transportation is widely available. Even with trains arriving and departing every few minutes in the Randstad area, punctuality is still a top priority!

Those who live close to work often travel there with Holland’s most iconic means of transportation: the bicycle.

10. Nature, water and hygiene

Despite being a heavily populated and urbanized country, there is still plenty of nature to enjoy in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, urban areas are clean, and stray animals are almost nowhere to be seen. Our preoccupation with hygiene also means that Dutch tap water makes for some of the best drinking water in the world.

11. Open culture

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Dutch culture is that you never have to be bored after work. There is a near endless amount of options in terms of leisure activities. Sport clubs, courses, dancing schools, volunteer work, bars, restaurants and much, much more awaits you. Moreover, we often celebrate events such as national holidays and neighborhood markets out in the streets. These are all opportunities for you to integrate with Dutch society, and feel at home in addition to working on your dentistry career.

12. Strong education system

The Dutch government aims to stimulate education, which, among other things, means that children of up to 18 years do not have to pay tuition fees. Every child gets many opportunities to develop itself. As a dentist from abroad, you can put your child in one of the English/International schools, but you also have the option to send them to a regular primary school and let them be around and make friends with Dutch kids. Of course, this is a personal choice that is totally up to you.

In summary, a high quality of life!

In reality, I can summarize all of the above in one meaningful term: high quality of life.

As a dentist, you have the opportunity to move to a country that is safe, where you have more than enough career opportunities, and where you have everything you need to enjoy a comfortable life. Naturally, this applies to both you and your (future) family.

In my next blog…

I will explain everything you need to know about the Dutch language test.

Since 2017, dentists working in the Netherlands are required to have a good command of the Dutch language. By speaking the language and being able to communicate with the patient in their own language, you will have an easier time working in a Dutch clinic. Perhaps even more importantly, it is a huge help when you are settling in the Netherlands and becoming a part of Dutch society. In my upcoming blog, I will explain how BGB helps you learn the Dutch language and pays for your course. In the meanwhile, you can read my colleague Daniella’s article on the Dutch language exam and our course.

I hope that my article has helped you get a good idea of what your future career in the Netherlands could look like! If you have any questions in the meanwhile, contact me at arjen@bgbdentistry.nl!