Insurance under the AOW scheme

Most people who live or work in the Netherlands are insured under the Dutch old-age pension scheme (AOW).

But there are some situations in which you are not insured. For example, if you live in the Netherlands but you work in another country, you will not be insured in the Netherlands.

Even if you work in the Netherlands, there are still some situations in which you are not insured. For example, if you have been posted to work in the Netherlands by an employer in another country.

Find out when you are or are not insured in the Netherlands

Exceptions to the general rules on Dutch social insurance

Select the situation that applies to you and find out what the exceptions are.

If you live in the Netherlands, you will not be insured in the following situations:

  • You work outside the Netherlands in a country of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) or in a treaty country and you do not have a posting certificate
  • You work for a company outside the Netherlands in a country that is not a Member State of the European Union (EU) or a treaty country.
  • You work as a civil servant for an international organisation such as NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) or the EU. It is possible that your family members are insured in the Netherlands but this will depend on the agreement between the Netherlands and the international organisation. If they work in the Netherlands or receive a Dutch social security benefit, they will probably be insured
  • You work for the government of another country or the government of Curaçao, Aruba or Sint Maarten. Your family members will only be insured if they work in the Netherlands or receive a Dutch social security benefit.
  • You work in international transport for a non-Dutch employer, transporting persons or goods mainly outside the Netherlands.
    For more information, go to ‘Working in 2 or more EU countries’
  • You work in the Netherlands and you have a posting certificate (certificate of coverage) from another country
  • You are studying in the Netherlands temporarily and are not employed

If you live outside the Netherlands, you will still be insured in the Netherlands in the following situations:

  • You are employed and pay tax and social insurance contributions in the Netherlands, and you do not have a posting certificate from another country
  • You are self-employed in the Netherlands and generate profit from a Dutch enterprise which is subject to income tax
  • You are a Dutch civil servant working outside the Netherlands for a Dutch embassy or consulate or another Dutch government institution. Your family members will stay insured as well, unless they start working outside the Netherlands and earn more than the tax-free threshold
  • You work in international transport for a company based in the Netherlands and you transport goods or persons. If you live on board ship and you are insured in the Netherlands, your family members will be insured with you (co-insured) providing they also live on board. If you work most of the time in the country where you live, or if you work for your employer at a company branch located outside the Netherlands, you will not be insured in the Netherlands.
    For more information, go to ‘Working in 2 or more EU countries’
  • You are staying outside the Netherlands temporarily to study and you do not work in that country
  • You are receiving care in one of a number of care institutions outside the Netherlands, such as the Dutch sanatorium in Davos

Make sure to keep any documents relating to your work in the Netherlands, such as annual statements, tax returns and tax assessments. We will need these documents to determine how much AOW pension you can get.

If you are going to work outside the Netherlands temporarily, it may still be possible for you to stay insured in the Netherlands. For more information, go to ‘International Posting’.

If you have an income and you are insured under the Dutch national insurance system, you must pay wage tax and national insurance contributions

National insurance contributions are paid to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst). If you work for an employer, your employer will deduct these contributions from your wages or salary.

If you have not paid the full amount of AOW contributions for a certain period, the SVB can declare you ‘in default’. This means that you will get a lower AOW pension when you reach your AOW pension age.

The role of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst)

The Belastingdienst determines how much you must pay in national insurance contributions. If you do not pay, you are ‘in default’ of the payment of national insurance contributions. The Belastingdienst is obliged by law to inform us of this.

If you have any questions about your income tax assessment, you should contact the Belastingdienst on 0800 0543 (from inside the Netherlands).

If you call from outside the Netherlands, dial +31 555 385 385.

The role of the SVB

If the Belastingdienst notifies us that you are in default of the payment of national insurance contributions, we will assess whether you are ‘at fault’. You are considered to be at fault if you yourself are responsible for not paying the necessary AOW pension contributions.

If you have been declared ‘in default’, you can still pay the outstanding contributions to the Belastingdienst. That way, your AOW pension will not go down. 

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Last check: 1 April 2022