Emergency contraception (EC) is available in the Netherlands: LNG EC and the use of IUD for EC are included in national policies for family planning, and local pharmacies, hospitals, family planning clinics, and drug stores distribute EC.

Sexual & reproductive health background information

Female population aged 15-49 Median age at first sexual intercourse Mean age at birth of first child Total fertility rate % use of modern contraceptive methods
Estimate 3,839,0001 16.92 29.43 1.764 67.0%5
Year 2010 2012 2011 2011 2008

Accessibility & prescription status

In the Netherlands, LNG EC is available over the counter from pharmacies, hospitals, family planning clinics, on-line and in drug stores, which means that EC can be purchased without a prescription, the drug is on the shelves, and a woman can just take it to the check-out counter. Since June 2015, UPA EC can also be bought without a prescription in pharmacies.

Physicians were the sole health care professionals authorized to prescribe or provide EC, but since 2014 midwives can prescribe contraceptives too


Type of EC Approximate Cost Brand(s) Available
LNG € 15 NorLevo 1.5mg, Postinor 1500, Levonelle
UPA € 35 ellaOne
UPA € n/a Kruidvat noodanticonceptie ulipristal 30mg 

The cost of EC is not reimbursed when it is purchased without a prescription. If it is purchased with a prescription, reimbursement policies vary depending on the health insurance plan. UPA EC and LNG products can also be bought on-line (ellaOne, 64 €; Levonelle, 54€).

Guidelines & common practices

The Netherlands has family planning guidelines for general practitioners that includes information on EC among other contraceptive methods and were last revised in 2011. These guidelines include recommendations on LNG EC as well as on the use of IUD for EC.

Health care providers rarely provide general information about EC during regular consultations or prescribe EC in advance of need. Health care providers also do not require a pregnancy test or a pelvic exam before prescribing EC.

EC use

Ever use of EC EC use in the last 12 months % with no prescription Repeated use of EC in last 12 months
Estimate 21.0%6 2.0%6 n/a 0.5%6
Year 2009 2009 n/a 2009



1 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision. New York, 2011.

2 De Graaf H, Kruijer H, Van Acker J, Meijer S. Seks onder je 25e: Seksuele gezondheid van jongeren in Nederland anno 2012. Delft: Eburon 2012.

3 United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Statistical Division Database. Mean Age of Women at Birth of First Child by Country and Year. Updated 23 November 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from

4 European health for all database (HFA-DB), World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. Total fertility rate. Retrieved 18 June 2013, from

5 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Contraceptive Use 2012. New York, 2012.

6 Seksuele gezondheid in Nederland 2009. Rutgers Nisso Groep . Retrieved 11 July 2013, from


Last update: January 2021

Previous update: September 2015