Since early April, it has been possible in the Netherlands to use a self-test to check if you may have been infected with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The tests are intended to detect additional infections with the virus in people who do not have any symptoms. The self-tests are not intended for use if you have symptoms. If you have symptoms, make an appointment right away to get tested by the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD).

You should also contact the GGD to schedule a test if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, or if you are returning from a COVID-19 risk area. 

No absolute certainty

A self-test is less precise than a test done by a professional. That is why the result of a self-test is less reliable. There is a possibility that a negative test result could be incorrect. Also, a test only shows the results at that moment in time. You could still become contagious after using the test, and then infect others without realising it. That means that a negative test result is only valid for a short time period. It is still important to follow the basic measures: wash hands, stay 1.5 metres apart, and stay home and get tested if you have symptoms.
The self-tests that have been authorised for use in the Netherlands are similar to antigen tests that are used by the GGD. However, the GGD uses a different method to take the sample. Are you wondering whether to use a self-test or get tested by the GGD? Then you should always make a GGD appointment. 

When can self-tests be used? And when are they not suitable?

The aim of the self-tests is to detect additional infections in people who do not have any symptoms. The self-tests are not suitable for people with symptoms. If you have symptoms, go to the GGD. You should also go to the GGD if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, or if you just returned from a COVID-19 risk area. If you unexpectedly ended up in a crowded location and want to check if you might have been infected with the virus, you could wait a few days and then take a self-test to be sure.