Voluntary insurance

If you start living or working in the Netherlands

You can build up pension rights under the AOW scheme for a maximum of 50 years. You can therefore start building up pension rights 50 years before your AOW pension age. We refer to this as the 50-year insurance period. If you came to the Netherlands to live or work within this 50-year period, you will not have been insured under the AOW scheme before your arrival in the Netherlands. As a result, you will receive a lower AOW pension when you reach your AOW pension age.

Buying AOW pension rights retroactively

By buying pension rights retroactively, you can take out voluntary insurance under the AOW scheme from the start of the 50-year period to the date on which you came to the Netherlands. You will then get a higher AOW pension.

If you have come to live or work in the Netherlands for the first time and became insured under the AOW scheme as a result, you can buy AOW pensions rights retroactively, provided you meet all the conditions.

What are the conditions?

  • You start living or working in the Netherlands for the first time on a date that is within the 50-year period.
  • You have been insured under the AOW scheme for 5 years on the grounds of residence or employment in the Netherlands.
  • You have not yet reached the AOW pension age when you apply to buy AOW pension rights retroactively.
  • You apply to buy AOW pension rights retroactively within 10 years after you first came to live or work in the Netherlands and became insured as a result.

If you have been insured for a state old age pension in another country of the European Union, these periods can count towards the second condition, provided the country was a member of the EU at the time. We will establish whether this is the case. 

You cannot buy AOW pension rights retroactively for periods in which:

  • you were subject to compulsory insured for a non-Dutch state old age pension, and
  • you will receive an old age pension as from a certain age based on that insurance.

If you left the Netherlands before the start of the 50-year period and returned to the Netherlands after the start of the 50-year period, you can also buy AOW pension rights retroactively.

If you had a residence permit at first, you may have not have become covered under compulsory AOW insurance immediately. We will find out for you whether this is the case.

If you return to the Netherlands with your family, you can also pay AOW contributions retroactively for your children, provided they:

  • left the Netherlands before the start of their 50-year period and returned to the Netherlands after that date. For children who left the Netherlands between their 15th and 17th birthdays, it may not be possible to buy pension rights retroactively. A different arrangement applies for them. If you want to know more about this, contact the SVB before the child's 18th birthday.
  • were born after you left the Netherlands and came to the Netherlands after the start of their 50-year period, or