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Amsterdam

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Netherlands / Amsterdam
Amsterdam.jpg

OVERVIEW

In Amsterdam, you will find an accessible and progressive health care landscape. Contraception is legal and widely used, although prescription is required for birth control pills. You can purchase emergency contraception ("the morning after pill") without a prescription. Furthermore, ellaOne (the most effective EC pill on the market) is available, and a prescription is no longer required. You can easily low-cost (and, in some cases, free) STI tests and treatment. There are a plethora of STI and HIV-related organizations in the Netherlands, as well, that provide a great variety of education, advocacy and support. You can also access PrEP in the Netherlands.

For pregnant women, maternity leave is offered for 16 weeks with full 100% wage coverage. For women seeking abortions, they can obtain abortions upon request for up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. Note that there is a 5-day wait period for abortions in the Netherlands. Additionally, there are many free, confidential and very trustworthy services that work with women, homeless youth and other populations in need. Please see our "Advocacy & Counseling" section for details on some of these organizations.

Contraception (Birth Control)[edit]

General Note: There are many types of contraceptives, also known as "birth control," including IUDs, oral contraceptives, patches, shots, and condoms, etc. If you would like to view a full list, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In the Netherlands, you need a prescription to obtain hormonal birth control. Once you have a prescription, you can buy birth control pills at pharmacies. You can also get refills of birth control pills without getting a new prescription. According to Randstad, it's estimated that about 40% women (ages 15-30) use birth control pills, and 5-10% use IUDS.[1] Furthermore, of all women (who were married/in unions and between ages 15 to 49) in the Netherlands, about 68% used any form of contraception in 2015, according to a United Nations report, and about 10% had unmet family planning needs. The most common forms of contraception for Dutch women were birth control pills (about 39%), male condoms (about 9%), IUDs (about 8%), and male sterilization about (7%). There were lower rates for female sterilization (about 3%) and no recorded usage of contraceptive implants or contraceptive injectables in the study.[2]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Birth control purchased in the Netherlands
  • If you would like to purchase condoms, they can be bought at pharmacies, supermarkets or vending machines. No prescription is required.
  • To get a birth control prescription, you'll need to visit a General Practitioner (GP). Once you have a prescription, you can buy birth control pills at pharmacies ("apotheek" in Dutch). The pharmacies are typically open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m, but some are open later (until around 10 PM), and some are open on the weekends. Birth control brands that you can expect to see include Neogynon, Stediril-d, Microgynon-30, Stediril 30 and Lovette. The government covers birth control pills for women under 21 years old.
  • If you're interested in getting an IUD, you can find Mirena and Flexi-T in the Netherlands. This is normally done by a General Practitioner (GP) but it can also be done at a hospital.
  • If you're interested in the implant (e.g. Depo-Provera), it's available in the Netherlands. If you're over 21 and want your costs refunded, you'll need to purchase an additional health coverage package to include the implant.

Costs[edit]

An appointment with a GP will cost about €30. If you have Dutch health care, the GP appointment cost will probably be reimbursed.

Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill)[edit]

Important Notes: Emergency contraception may prevent pregnancy for three days (72 hours) and sometimes five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Take EC as soon as possible after unprotected sex. If you don't have access to dedicated EC, oral contraceptives can be used as replacement EC, but remember the following: 1) Only some contraceptives work as EC 2) Different contraceptives require different dosages and time schedules to work as EC 3) You must only use the first 21 pills in 28-day packs and 4) They may be less effective than dedicated EC. For general information on emergency contraceptives, click here and here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In the Netherlands, you can buy emergency contraception ("the morning after pill") without a prescription.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • In the Netherlands, you can obtain emergency contraceptive pills (morning after pills) at pharmacies and clinics without a prescription. One of the brands you can expect to find are ellaOne (take 1 pill within 120 hours after unprotected sex), which used to require a prescription, but shouldn't need one any more. Visit the Dutch ellaONe website for details. You can also find NorLevo 1.5mg (take 1 pill within 120 hours after unprotected sex) and Postinor 1500 (take 1 pill within 120 hours after unprotected sex). Note that, as of April 2018, ellaOne is the most effective emergency contraceptive pill available in the Netherlands.
  • If you can't access dedicated emergency contraceptive pills, you can use regular birth control pills as replacement ECPs. To do this, remember that, in in 28-day packs, only the first 21 pills can be used. Here are the pills you can take: Neogynon (take 2 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 2 more pills 12 hours later), Stediril-d (take 2 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 2 more pills 12 hours later), Microgynon-30 (take 4 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 4 more pills 12 hours later), Stediril 30 take 4 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 4 more pills 12 hours later), or Lovette (take 5 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 5 more pills 12 hours later).
  • You can get an IUD as emergency contraception as well. You should talk to a health care provider for details.

Costs[edit]

In the Netherlands, EC should cost around 15 euro.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs/STDs)[edit]

Important Notes - Learn about PEP and PrEP: If you think that you've been recently exposed to HIV (i.e. within 72 hours), seek out PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a month-long treatment to prevent HIV infection after exposure, and it may be available in your city. Take PEP as soon as possible. For more information, click here. If you are at risk of HIV exposure, seek out PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a daily oral pill that can prevent HIV infection before exposure. To learn more about PrEP, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

There are no travel restrictions imposed against people with HIV or any other STIs.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Testing Facilities[edit]

  • Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Outpatient Clinic: They provide STI tests. If you're under 25 years old or a MSM, you can get the tests for free. "You can undergo a free test and, if necessary, receive treatment for an STI (sexually transmitted infection) at the STI Outpatient Clinic of the Public Health Service Amsterdam, provided you meet the criteria set by the RIVM [National Institute for Public Health and the Environment]. The STI Outpatient Clinic of the Public Health Service is an additional provision to GP care. People without symptoms who wish to undergo an STI test for safety reasons are advised to visit their GP for an STI test. Depending on your situation it may be the case that only certain STI tests are required (e.g. just chlamydia and gonorrhoea). This will be discussed with you during your visit. For additional assistance with sexual health queries (Sense), young people under the age of 25 can make an appointment free of charge." No doctor's referral or health insurance required. Call 020-555 5822 (Mon-Fri 8:30-10:00, 13:30-16:30).

Support[edit]

Costs[edit]

Medications & Vaccines[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • If you need yeast infection medication, ask the pharmacy for Fluconazole. They should be able to give you a local version of the product.
  • The Netherlands has had an HPV vaccination program in place since 2009. You should be able to access the HPV vaccine.
  • Regarding PrEP access: "Netherlands has an ongoing PrEP demonstration project, AMPrEP, for MSMs and transgender people. Currently, Gilead (the manufacturer of Truvada) has not applied to the Netherlands regulatory agency for a prevention indication. The European Medicines Agency is in the process of reviewing Truvada for PrEP. The Agency is responsible for the scientific evaluation of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the European Union, but each member state will separately determine how, if at all, it might introduce PrEP."[3]

Costs[edit]

Menstruation[edit]

Note: In addition to pads and tampons, you can also use menstrual cups and menstrual underwear for your period. To learn more about menstrual cups, click here. To learn more about menstrual underwear, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

You can access pads (known as "maandverband"), tampons and menstrual cups in the Netherlands. You can buy DivaCup from BioMarkt, Amsterdam (Tel: 020 6384083), Webvrouw or All in Wonderland. You can buy MoonCup from Katoen&Ko,Praktijk Patricia Dijkema, Allattare or Wasnoot. You can buy Lunette from Cute Cotton or Katoen&Ko. You can buy LadyCup from BioCare or Gezondheid aan huis. For menstrual underwear, you may need to buy them online.

Costs[edit]

Gynecological Exams[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Costs[edit]

Pregnancy[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In the Netherlands, women are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave. During this period, they will receive 100% of their earnings, which are paid by the General Unemployment Fund.[4] Furthermore, if a parent wants to return to the workforce but only work part-time, this is typically allowed. According to some reports, the Netherlands has the world's highest rate of parents who work part-time.[5]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Childbirth Preparation Courses: "Our trainers suggest that in order to take part on the course you need to be in your third Trimester, at least 26 weeks pregnant. This course is designed for couples and runs for five sessions."

Costs[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Important Note: There are two main types of abortions: medical (also known as the "abortion pill") and surgical (also known as "in-clinic"). For medical abortions, you take a pill to induce abortion. For surgical abortions, a procedure is performed to induce abortion. For general information about medical and surgical abortions, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In the Netherlands, abortion has fully legal since 1984. All general reasons for an abortion are permitted, which includes: to save the life of the woman, to preserve physical health, to preserve mental health, rape or incest, fetal impairment, economic or social reasons or available on request. However, there are some timeline restrictions to consider. Abortions are available on demand until the 21st-week, and for cases that require urgent surgical procedures, abortion is permitted until the 24th week. After 24 weeks, the fetus is considered "potentially viable" -- and, for this reason, abortions are not legally permitted. Yet, the general Criminal Code seems to have no provisions related to pregnancy. This means that, if a woman's life is endangered during the latter stages of pregnancy, and if the medical procedure to save her would result in the death of the fetus, the physician helping the woman would not be considered guilty of any crimes.

If you're interested in seeking an abortion in the Netherlands, you need to consult with a doctor (this is required). The doctor may suggest alternatives other than abortion. Then, you will need to go through a five-day wait period. There are some exceptions under which you don't need to go through the wait period -- but, for most people, it's required. Then, once you have finished the wait period, you can proceed to get a medical abortion (i.e. the abortion pill) or a surgical abortion.[6]

Historically, there was resistance to abortion in the past. As written in a UN Report, "In the Netherlands, family planning was traditionally discouraged because it was regarded as being contrary to the objectives of marriage and as promoting promiscuity. As a result, the practice did not receive the backing and support of the Government or a majority of the population, including health professionals. Contraceptives were not readily available and could not be advertised in the Netherlands until 1969. Moreover, physicians were reluctant to provide family planning services for fear of having to share in the responsibility for an unwanted pregnancy which might occur from contraceptive failure and which might in turn necessitate an induced abortion. This situation contributed to keeping the crude birth rate at the relatively high level of 20.7 per 1,000 during the mid-1960s. The introduction of the pill in 1964 and its proven high reliability led to the widespread acceptance and practice of family planning. Since about 1965, family planning services have routinely been offered as part of general health-care services."[7]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • CASA kliniek Amsterdam: "The clinic is open on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m and can be reached by phone from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m on all weekdays. CASA kliniek Amsterdam is an organisation that provides surgical or medication abortion, advise about anticonception and the anticonception pill, the insertion of an IUD or Implanon." Address: Sarphatistraat 618-628, 1018 AV Amsterdam, telephone +31 (0)88-888 4444 , e-mail: info@casaklinieken.nl

Costs[edit]

If you are a Dutch citizen, you can get a free abortion. If you are not a Dutch citizen, you will probably have to pay for the abortion.

Advocacy & Counseling[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Check out this map of women's shelters in Amsterdam. It's a really helpful resource.
  • Blijf Groep: "Blijf Groep was created from a private initiative in Amsterdam in 1974 and has been successfully campaigning against domestic violence for nearly 40 years. Blijf Groep is a professional and innovative organization that develops effective interventions in cases of domestic violence. In addition to developing forms of assistance for the entire family, Blijf Groep has, in recent years, gained a great deal of experience in assisting children who have witnessed domestic violence. Alongside of our shelters for women and children, we also offer shelters to men who are victims of domestic violence." Voor hulp- Voor hulp, advies en informatie belt u: 088 234 24 50. In geval van nood - Neem geen risico, Bel: 112
  • Koffiehuis en Kledingwinkel van den Volksbond: Homeless shelter. Address: Haarlemmerstraat 146-148 · +31 88 445 4170
  • Straatpastoraat Amsterdam: Homeless shelter. Address: Nieuwe Herengracht 18 · +31 6 20879342
  • Acta: Homeless shelter. Address:Louwesweg 3A
  • Huis van de heiligen: Homeless shelter. Address: Heiligeweg · +31 900 434544
  • Essamba Home Foundation for Streetgirls: Homeless shelter. Address: Waalstraat 184 · +31 20 463 2159

Costs[edit]

List of Additional Resources[edit]

  • Emergency police, fire brigade, ambulance: 112
  • Police information (non-emergency): 0900 8844
  • Anonymous tip-line (to report a crime): 0800 7000
  • Emergency Doctor: 088 003 0600.The operator will connect you with an emergency doctor in Amsterdam.
  • City of Amsterdam Helpline: 14 020 (has English-speaking operators)
  • ACCESS" "ACCESS is a not for profit organisation that serves the needs and interests of the international community in the Netherlands." Their helpline can be reached by calling 0900 222 2377 (charges may apply). Address: Laan van Meerdervoort 70, 2517 AN Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31 900 2222377, Hours: Open today · 10AM–4PM.
  • Equaldex - Netherlands: This website provides information related to LGBTQ rights and laws in the Netherlands.

References[edit]

  1. Women's healthcare in the Netherlands
  2. Trends in Contraceptive Use 2015
  3. PrEPWatch: Netherlands
  4. The Netherlands (Holland) - Maternity Rights and Childcare
  5. Information about parental leave entitlement in the Netherlands...
  6. Netherlands: Termination & Abortion
  7. UN Report: Abortion Policies - The Netherlands