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Postgraduate Medical Education (PME) Project


The information listed for the Netherlands was provided by individuals knowledgeable about PME in the Netherlands. If you note errors or omissions or would like to provide additional information, please click here.

Duration of studies

In the Netherlands, a physician who has passed the final examinations in medicine can pursue training in an area of medical specialization. There are four types of specialist training:

Trainee selection process

The prerequisite for entering a training program for general practitioner, medical specialist, public health specialist, or nursing home specialist is an M.D. degree. Generally speaking, there is open access to postgraduate studies, though in some cases, at particular educational institutions, there is a selection procedure.


Specialty curriculum authority

In the Netherlands, the Royal Dutch Medical Association is the professional authority that recognizes all areas of specialization. The system of (re)certification is based on the “Trias Politica” with separated responsibilities (legislation, execution, and appeal).

All the institutions (Boards, Registration Committees, and Committees of Appeal) are independent. Although they are part of the Royal Dutch Medical Association, they can act on their own behalf because of their public legal duty granted by the Secretary of Health. However, all regulations set by the Boards regarding training and (re)registration have to be submitted for approval to the Secretary of Health.


The responsibility for the contents of postgraduate training programs lies with one of three Boards:

Every specialty has its own Board consisting of representatives from medical faculties, the medical profession, scientific associations and, depending on the type of training, hospitals, nursing homes, and public health employers of specialists. There are also advisors from the Department of Health, the Department of Social Security, the Public Health Supervisory Service and doctors who supervise training. The task of each Board is to set the rules and regulations for vocational training. Candidates meeting all the requirements of the training program will be registered by the Registration Committee. The registration is valid for five years.

Registration Committee

A Registration Committee is responsible for supervising the rules and regulations for the registration of specialists and the certification of trainers and training centers. Each type of specialist training has its own Registration Committee:

A Board drafts the conditions of postgraduate education with regard to the terms of registration. The Registration Committee reviews the organizations and institutions providing postgraduate courses and training. To check conditions and to improve quality, a Registration Committee uses visiting trainers, the practices of general practitioners, nursing homes, and hospitals. A Registration Committee is composed of representatives from specific medical professions and hospitals or medical faculties.

Committees of Appeal

For each type of specialist training there is a Committee of Appeal. This committee is composed of three bachelors of law and two medical specialists. If a problem occurs with registration or re-registration, physicians can appeal the decision to the Committee of Appeal.


To re-register after the initial five-year registration period has expired, a specialist must take postgraduate courses, additional training, or theoretical lessons. Most specialists have to attend courses or training for 40 hours per year on average. A specialist must also have worked for a minimum number of hours during the previous five years.

Licensing authority

Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport
Centraal Informatiepunt Beroepen Gezondheidszorg
Postadres: Postbus 16114
Bezoekadres: Turfmarkt, 244
tel: +31 70 340 7401
fax: +31 70 340 5105

Medisch Specialisten Registratie Commissie
Lomanlaan 103, 3526 XD UTRECHT
Postbus 20053
tel: +31-30-282.3244
fax: +31-30-280.1605


Areas of specialization

Legal references

The organizational structure is based on the Trias Politica: the legislative body, executive body, and judicial body. There are three branches:

Each branch has a board for the regulation of training, a committee for the implementation of regulations and for registration, and a committee of appeal. The regulations for training are set forth in resolutions that have to be approved by the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) and the Minister for Health, Welfare, and Sport (VWS). The new individual Health Care Professions Act (Wet Big) ties in closely with this practice. The act came into effect on December 1, 1997.

[last update: March 1, 2010]