Language proficiency

Every person who wants to work in healthcare in the Netherlands must have a good command of Dutch. Most patients speak Dutch and Dutch is also spoken within healthcare. That is why you must provide proof of Dutch language proficiency. What you can provide as evidence depends on your situation. Applicants for a Certificate of Competence must also provide proof of English reading skills.

What proof of language proficiency?

There are various valid proofs of Dutch language proficiency. Read the information below to see whether you already have correct proof or whether you still need to obtain a Dutch language proficiency certificate, for example. Click to open the section that applies to you.

Required language levels per profession

The table below shows the required language level per professional level. Examples of professions are given at each level. In the complete overview you will find all professions per level.

Professions per level

Professions Language level
Academic professions (Scientific education (wo)) including doctor, dentist, healthcare psychologist, pharmacist B2+ (This level is higher than B2, but does not reach the C1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference)
Higher vocational education (hbo) including physiotherapist, midwife, dietician, occupational therapist B2
Secondary vocational education (MBO) including nursing and nursing in individual healthcare B1

Language certificate requirements

Language certificates for the Dutch and English language (when applying for a certificate of competence) must meet the following requirements:

  • The course must be concluded with an exam/test or assessment. Proof of participation in a course is not sufficient.
  • The test must consist of the following components: writing, listening, reading and speaking.
  • All components must be completed at the correct level (see section ‘Required language levels per profession’) and with good results.
  • The diploma or certificate may not be older than 2 years.
  • The certificate must be original or authenticated.

Language certificate older than two years?

Then you must demonstrate that your Dutch language skills have remained up to standard. This can be done, for example, with work experience in which you spoke Dutch every day.

Who can you contact for training and testing?

You can choose where you take a language test. This also applies to taking preparatory courses or training. You are responsible for checking whether the training, course and language test meet the requirements mentioned above.