Travel Tips for the Netherlands

Are you planning a holiday in Holland soon? Then you’ll find these travel tips for the Netherlands a great help to ensure a great holiday.

Leave nothing but footprints

Honoustly? We have no idea!

The Netherlands enjoys a moderate maritime (or oceanic) climate. This type of climate generally features mild winters and cool summers. Precipitation, such as rain, is common throughout the year, which means there is no dry season.
On this website you can find some information about the average weather in the Netherlands. But beware it is never average weather.

Layers, layers and more layers.
If you look at the average weather, pack for 15% cooler weather and for 15% warmer weather.

Always bring:

  • long pants
  • short pants
  • warm sweater
  • coat (and always good to bring a scarf)
  • comfortable walking shoes
  • sunglasses
  • umbrella or raincoat

Credit card payment are not excepted everywhere.

The Dutch mainly use their debit card to make payments. So you will not be able to use your credit card in every shop or restaurant. This is particularly likely to happen in smaller cities. Please make sure to bring cash and ask personnel whether you can pay by credit card. This will help avoid unpleasant situations.

Visa and Mastercard are the most excepted credit cards.

Making payments with a PIN means that you need to enter a personal code in order to pay with your credit card. Many banks in the US and other countries issue credit cards without a PIN, which may cause trouble for tourists in many shops, restaurants and hotels in Holland. If you plan to visit Holland, we recommend checking with your bank and asking whether you can use your credit card with a PIN. Many foreign banks (particularly American banks) offer this option by request only.

Holland is one of the seventeen euro countries. Even though all of these countries issue their own euro coins, all coins and notes are legal tender in all euro countries. There are eight coins (€ 0.01, € 0.02, € 0.05, € 0.10, € 0.20, € 0.50, € 1 and € 2) and seven notes (€ 5, € 10, € 20, € 50, € 100, € 200 and € 500). Very few shops, restaurants, etc., accept the € 500 note. Small shops and supermarkets do not accept the € 200 and € 100 notes either. When you pay in cash, the amount is rounded off to the nearest € 0.05.
You cannot pay with US Dollars or other currencies in the Netherlands. You can change your foreign currencies to euro’s at GWK Travelex offices (you can find them here).
You can also get cash euro’s from an ATM if you have a foreign bank card with a Cirrus logo. Some ABN AMRO bank ATMs also accept cards with the PLUS logo.
Also check your card and the ATM for EDC, EC and Maestro logos. Of course, you can also use most credit cards to obtain money from an ATM.
Even the smallest villages offer many ATMs, which usually operate 24 hours per day.

Tips are already included, but…

By law, all restaurants, pubs, cafés, night clubs sightseeing companies, hotels and similar establishments in the Netherlands must include BTW (value added tax) and tips in their published prices. However this doesn’t mean your waiter gets a tip from her boss when you pay the bill.

Leaving a tip fooi (sounds like ‘foy’ with a drawn-out ‘o’) is customary and appreciated in restaurants, bars, and pubs. Don’t overdo it, but don’t be stingy either. 5%-10% of the total amount is a good guideline if you are just having a light snack and something to drink; 10%-15% for a more extensive meal.

Simply round up to the next EUR 5 or EUR 10 amount, is what the Dutch locals do. Are you paying by card, then simply add up the tip to your total amount. So for example, if your bill is around EUR 44 (and the service was good), you can tell your waiter/taxi driver ‘to make it EUR 50’. In restaurants your tip will be split between all waiters and kitchen staff.

When holidaying in the Netherlands, you will use our power, water and gas networks. This may be different from what you are used to at home.

The voltage on outlets in the Netherlands is 230 volts. Hotels may also have a 110-volt or 120-volt outlet for shavers. Travelers are advised to bring along a power converter and an adapter for round two-prong plugs with side grounding contacts.

The tap water in the Netherlandsis of excellent quality and you can drink from any tap, unless explicitly stated otherwise. Bottled water is available at all supermarkets, snack bars and kiosks.

Weights & Measures
the Netherlands uses the metric system and therefore uses meters as its measurement for length, liters for liquids and kilos for weight. This is different from countries that use the Imperial System. The conversions between these two systems are:

Kilometers & miles 1 mile = 1.609 kilometers / 1 kilometer = 0.621 miles

Liters & gallons 1 gallon = 4.546 liters / 1 liter = 0.220 gallons

Kilos & pounds 1 pound = 0.453 kilos  / 1 kilo = 2.204 pounds

You hope that everyone stays healthy during your holiday. But accidents can happen and sometimes you may need medical assistance. Medical care is very well organized in Holland.

112 is the emergency number in all of Europe

If you are staying in a hotel and you need to see a doctor or dentist, contact the reception desk and they will direct you to someone assigned to that hotel.

The medical care sector in The Netherlands is based on a referral system which requires patients to see a local general practitioner first. Medical specialists will generally only see those patients who have been referred to them by a general practitioner.

Healthcare in the Netherlands is not free. Make sure you have good travel insurance which covers medical assistance in Europe. It is also recommended to obtain an estimate of the cost involved before receiving any services.

Dutch medical care is of high quality and is comparable to the medical care one finds throughout Western Europe. Diagnostic laboratories and specialists in all fields of medicine are available. Hospitals are well-equipped, and maternity hospitals and many clinics are available. Most doctors and dentists speak English.

Most medicines are available locally. They may not, however, be of the same brand as those used in other countries and prices are generally higher. Tourists should bring a supply of the medicine they know they will need whilst abroad and provide proper documentation.

When in the Netherlands, you may use the Dutch network with your own mobile telephone. The costs for mobile telephone calls depend on your own service provider. You can also buy a prepaid phone card. These cards are available at various prices at supermarkets, post offices, gas stations, tobacconists and phone shops.

If you want to call a telephone number in the Netherlands (with a phone) from abroad, dial +31 first and then the local number (without the 0).
Are you in the Netherlands and like to make a phone call to another country, first dial the country code. (US/Canada +1 / UK +44 / Australia +61 / Germany +49 / Belgium +32)

Emergency services (police, fire services and ambulance): 112
Police (non-emergencies): 0900 – 8844

In hotels and restaurants there is often free WiFi available, you do need to ask for the password sometimes.

The Netherlands is generally a very safe country to travel to. Its crime rates are low, and your biggest concern in this country might be pickpockets. Use common sense and apply basic precaution measures that should minimize the chances of something going wrong.

Cycling is a normal mode of transport in Holland and is not simply for kids or cycling fanatics. Because of this, the Dutch cycling community is highly diverse. Kids on their first bike, children riding to school, people commuting to work, couples on holiday, leisurely Sunday cyclists, all sharing the same network of routes and cycle paths.

Yes cycle paths…, that is where many visitors of Amsterdam make mistakes. Alongside buildings, you first have the walkway for pedestrians, followed by a cycle path and then the road for other traffic. Don’t stop in a cycle path, cross it as quick as you can.

If you are thinking of renting a bicycle in Amsterdam have a look at this funny Bicycle Instruction for Amsterdam.

Tours in the Red Light District are prohibited. Since 2019 the city of Amsterdam has officially made any tour that goes past the windows of the Red Light District as part of a tour illegal. If you’re walking and someone offers you a tour of the Red Light District, this is illegal and should be avoided.

The Amsterdam Red Light District is not only about prostitution and coffee shops. The Amsterdam Red Light District is located in the oldest area of the city. The architecture is particularly beautiful and typically Dutch. The beauty of its building is also a reason why everyone should walk around this area. See the old Church and the Hidden Church ‘Our Lord in the Attic’. The Red Light District of Amsterdam exists since the 14th century.

Some rules to follow when you visit the Red Light District in Amsterdam.

  1. NO photos or videos of the prostitutes.
    You are violating their privacy and it is extremely disrespectful.
  2. Do Not Drink Alcohol On The Streets
    It’s a € 95,- fine.
  3. Think about the neighbors.
    The Red Light District of Amsterdam is actually a residential neighborhood, which means that people actually live there.
  4. Respect sex workers
    Never forget that these people in the window are human beings with feelings. Don’t stare, gawk or laugh at them.
  5. Don’t Throw Your Garbage On The Streets
    Keep the streets of this beautiful city clean for your own sake and the inhabitants.
  6. Don’t Buy Drugs From Street Dealers
    Besides the fact that it’s forbidden to buy illegal drugs from them they’re also known for selling fake drugs.
  7. Only Use Designated Public Urinals
    There are public urinals in the streets or simply walk into a bar if you really need go.
  8. Don’t walk or stand in the middle of the road
    To keep the flow of people moving please only walk on the right side of the street or sidewalk.
  9. Don’t have your valuables for grabs
    The Red Light District is a safe place to visit during day and night, but do beware of pickpocketing.
  10. Do not stand too long in front of the windows
    Nor tap on the windows. It is not a zoo.

    For more information on the Red Light District, check this video on YouTube.

If you suspect any child sexual abuse and exploitation, report to local authorities and/or at Report Child Sexual Exploitation

We understand. You want to enjoy and leave nothing but a footprint.

Here are some tips on how you can be a Sustainable Traveler

  • Dutch tap water is of excellent quality. Bring a bottle you can refill during the tour.
  • In Europe you pay for plastic bags. Bring a bag for your souvenirs.
  • Don’t litter. Leave your garbage in the car and your guide will recycle.
  • Buy local and eat products that are in season.
  • Do NOT walk or tip-toe through the flower fields, or other private properties without permission.
  • Choose an accommodation (outside of Amsterdam) with a Green Key label.
  • Travel off-the-beaten path and avoid ‘cheesy’ tourist sights.
  • Shorten your travel distance and see places more in-depth.
  • Read more Responsible Travel Tips.

Read the Sustainability Policy of Holland Private Tour, to find out how we over you sustainable tours.