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The Netherlands

General

The Netherlands is a member of the EU.

Time

The time in the Netherlands is the same as Berlin, Paris and Rome and one hour ahead of London.

Language

Dutch, but English and German are widely spoken and understood.

Border formalities

Many formalities and agreements about matters such as necessary travel documents, car papers, requirements relating to your means of transport and accommodation, medical expenses and taking pets with you do not only depend on the country you are travelling to but also on your departure point and nationality. The length of your stay can also play a role here.

We advise you to consult the relevant authorities before your departure about:

  • which travel documents you will need for yourself and your fellow passengers
  • which documents you need for your car
  • which regulations your caravan must meet
  • which goods you may import and export
  • how medical treatment will be arranged and paid for in your holiday destination in cases of accident or illness
  • whether you can take pets. Contact your vets well in advance. They can give you information about the necessary vaccinations, proof thereof and obligations on return. It would also make sense to enquire whether any special regulations apply to your pet in public places at your holiday destination. In some countries for example dogs must always be muzzled or transported in a cage.

You will find plenty of general information on www.europa.eu but make certain you select information that is relevant to your specific situation.

For the most recent customs regulations you should get in contact with the authorities of your holiday destination in your country of residence.

Read more

Currency

The currency in the Netherlands is the euro. Approximate exchange rates September 2016: £1 = € 1.18.

Credit cards

You can pay by credit card in many places.

Opening times/Public holidays

Banks

Banks are open Monday to Friday until 17:00. You can PIN money 24 hours a day at any bank and at most supermarkets during opening hours.

Shops

Shops are open on Mondays from 13:00 to 18:00. From Tuesday to Friday shops are open until 18:00 and on Saturdays usually until 17:00. Most towns have late night shopping on Thursday or Friday when shops stay open until 21:00. Shops in larger cities such as Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague are open on Sundays from 12:00 to 17:00 and some shops stay open even longer.

Tourist Information Offices

The offices are open from 09:00 to 18:00 and on Saturdays until 17:00. These are easily recognised by a blue triangle sign with the letters VVV in white. Here you will find plenty of information about the town, the area, sightseeing, opening times etc.

Chemists

Most chemists are open Monday to Friday until 18:00.

Public holidays
  • New Year’s Day
  • Easter
  • 27 April (King’s Birthday)
  • Ascension Day
  • Pentecost
  • Christmas

Communication

(Mobile) phones

The mobile network works well throughout the Netherlands. There is a 3G network for mobile internet. You can buy telephone cards at supermarkets, department stores and telephone shops.

Wifi, internet

Many cafés and restaurants have free wifi for guests.

Post

Post offices in the Netherlands have been replaced by postal agencies in supermarkets and other shops. These agencies are generally open Monday to Friday until 17:00 and on Saturday mornings. You can buy postage stamps in almost every supermarket.

Roads and traffic

Road network

Remember, all traffic in The Netherlands drives on the right and overtakes on the left! Headlight deflectors are advisable to prevent annoying oncoming drivers. The Netherlands uses the metric system, so distances are measured in kilometres (km) and speeds in kilometres per hour (km/h). On the outskirts of large cities you will find the so-called ‘transferiums’ from where you can reach the city centre quickly and easily using public transport. You can contact the ANWB for breakdown assistance. A good alternative to the ANWB is Route Mobiel. More information tel. 088-2692888 (ANWB), tel. 020-6515115 (Route Mobiel).

Traffic regulations

On an increasing number of motorways you can drive at 130 km/h. Look carefully at the road signs. Maximum permitted alcohol level is 0.5‰. On roundabouts you have priority over traffic coming from your right unless otherwise indicated. You are advised to use dipped headlights during the daytime. Phones must be used hands-free.

A round sign with a red border and the letter 'B' indicates a B road: the maximum width of these roads is 2.20m.

Navigation

Notification of fixed speed cameras by navigation systems or mobile phones is permitted.

Caravans, motorhomes

You may not stay overnight in a motorhome on the public highway.

Maximum allowed measurements of combined length

Height 4 metres, width 2.55 metres and maximum length 18 metres (of which the trailer maximum 12m).

Fuel

Lead-free petrol, diesel and LPG are widely available.

Filling stations

Filling stations are open until 22:00. In larger cities and on motorways they are open 24 hours a day. You can pay by debit card and credit card at almost all filling stations.

Tolls

There are no toll roads in the Netherlands, but you do have to pay tolls for the Westerschelde Tunnel in Zuid-Beveland, Zeeland and the Kil Tunnel in Dordrecht, Zuid-Holland.

Emergency number

112: the national emergency number for police, fire and ambulance.

Camping

Dutch campsites are among the best in Europe: there is extensive entertainment for children and the amenities (such as indoor playgrounds and football pitches) are innovative. Campsites are well organised and there is plenty of greenery. Cars often have to be parked outside the campsite, bringing more peace and quiet to the site.

Camping outside recognised sites is only allowed in a few communities. Many Dutch campsites have a so-called family rate for 4, 5 or more people including electricity. This means that 2 people often pay the same rate as an entire family.

Practical
  • Additional charges for items such as tourist taxes and environmental charges are sometimes quite high.
  • Make sure you have a world adaptor for electrical appliances.
  • Tap water is safe to drink.
Classification of campsites

ACSI has chosen not to include any star ratings in information about campsites in the Netherlands. Any stars you may see in advertisements are awarded by the campsites themselves, but ACSI cannot accept any liability for the accuracy of these star ratings.