Dutch coast near Den Oever

On this page some practical information on health aspects in the Netherlands.

Water quality

Drinking water always has excellent quality. There is no need to use mineral water. If the tap has not been used for a while, it is recommended to let it flow 3-5 minutes before use, to avoid Legionella infection. Legionella is a very nasty disease, so do not forget this.


There are not many specific risks for hikers in the Netherlands. I must mention a few of them, that require some precautions.

Lymes disease

This is caused by infected ticks. You should check for them every day and remove them immediately, using a special tick removal pair of pincers. If you do not and see a red circle on your skin, you should consult a general practitioner immediately. You may get very ill if you neglect Lymes disease.


Legionella is caused by bacteria in standing water, for instance in faucets, showers etcetera.The effect looks a bit like flu, but becomes serious matter. It is simple to avoid getting ill. Set the faucet on for a few minutes.

Cyanlobacterial (Blauwalg)

Cyanlbacterial grows in warm water. It is poisonous, so avoid swimming in warm water. Normally there will be warning signs, saying "zwemmen verboden blauwalg".  Seeing dead birds is a warning sign as well.

Lepidoptera (Eikenprocessierups)

Lepidopera are caterpillars, with hairs causing irritation of your skin. They live in large masses on oak trees. You should be a bit careful for this.

Health care system

Health care is very well organised in the Netherlands. If something happens, you should go to a General Practitioner (Dutch: huisarts) first, also in case of emergency. Dutch GPs will prescribe less medicine than you may be accustomed to. They will be especially careful with anti-biotic medicines with good reason. If necessary they will send you to a hospital for further treatment.