Netherlands Travel Tips

Netherlands Travel Tips

The Euro (€) is the currency of the Netherlands: €1= 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of€2 and€1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.

Currency Exchange:
Exchange offices are indicated by the letters GWK. GWK provides currency exchange offices at major railway stations, at Schiphol Airport and at the border crossings with Germany and Belgium. GWK offices are open seven days a week. To check the rates, look for the words Verkoopt (sell) and Koopt (buy).

Credit& Debit Cards:
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted, as well as Euro check cards. Check with your credit or debit Card Company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available. ATMs are widely available.

Traveller's checks:
Traveller's checks are widely accepted. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, traveller's checks should be issued in Euros, Pounds Sterling or US Dollars.

There are no restrictions on the import and export of either local or foreign currency.

Banking hours are Monday 13:00-16:00; Tuesday-Friday 09:00-16:00. GWK offices are open seven days a week.

The following goods may be imported into The Netherlands without incurring customs duty by travellers from non-EU European countries and countries outside of Europe:

200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco; 1l of liquor or 2l of sparkling wine or liqueur wines and 2l of non-sparkling wine; 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette; 500g of coffee or 200g of coffee extract; 100g of tea or 40g of tea extract; other goods to the value of€175 (if bought outside Europe).

The above allowances are only for travellers aged 17 years and above.

230V 50Hz. European plug with two circular metal pins

The standard of health care and other social services is very high in the Netherlands, with an unusually high proportion of the national income devoted to public health. Tap water is safe to drink. No vaccines are required.

Medical and travel insurance is recommended. The post office offers good coverage for around£30. Certain strong medication can be taken into the Netherlands if they are accompanied by a doctor’s prescription.

Residents of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland can receive free or reduced-cost necessary treatment on production of a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The card gives access to state-provided medical treatment only and the scheme gives no entitlement to medical repatriation costs, nor does it cover ongoing illnesses of a non-urgent nature, so comprehensive travel insurance is advised. Note that the EHIC replaces the Form E111, which will no longer be valid after 31 December 2005. Some restrictions apply, depending on your nationality.

Dutch and Frisian (the language of the people of the Northern Friesland province) are the official languages. English and German are also spoken.

A Museum Pass entitling holders to free entry to over 400 museums is available from participating museums and local tourist offices.

The Amsterdam Pass also offers free admission to many museums, in addition to other tourist attractions and public transport, as well as up to 25% discount on certain other attractions, restaurants and transportation within the city. The pass can be obtained from the Amsterdam Tourist Office (Email:

Social Conventions:
It is customary to shake hands. English is spoken as a second language by many and is willingly used. Many Dutch people will also speak German and French. It is customary to bring a small gift if invited for a meal. Casual wear is widely acceptable. Men are expected to wear a suit for business and social functions. Formal wear may be required for fine restaurants, bars and clubs. Evening dress (black tie for men) is generally specified on any invitation.

It is widely known that Amsterdam has some lenient laws when it comes to marijuana. However, it is only legal to smoke marijuana in licensed cafes. Do not attempt to smoke it on the streets or carry it with you. The Dutch strongly dislike anyone making a public display of intoxication.

Tax and Tipping:
On most goods a 19% value added tax (VAT) or blasting over de Toegevoegde Waarde (BTW) is charged in the Netherlands. The VAT on food products is 6%

All hotels and restaurants include 15% service and VAT in the bill. It is customary to leave small change when paying a bill. Porters and doormen expect€0.5-€1.00 tip per bag. Taxi drivers, hairdressers and barbers have inclusive service prices.

Country Code: 31
Directory Service: 118
International Access: 00+
Emergency numbers: 112 for all services

GMT + 1

Visa and Passports:
Passports must be valid for a minimum of three months beyond the length of your stay, except for UE/EEA nationals.

EU/EEA nationals, Swiss nationals as well as nationals of Andorra, Monaco and San Marino are allowed entry with a valid national ID card or valid passport.

Visas are not required by 60 countries for stays of up 90 days. These visa-exempt countries include Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, the USA and most of Europe.

Nationals of other countries need a Schengen visa which is valid for 90 days. Schengen visas are issued by Dutch embassies or consulates and can take up to two months to process.

Contact the nearest Dutch embassy or visit the sites listed below for more information:

Royal Netherlands Embassy in the USA