Are you planning a holiday in Holland soon? Then make sure to memorise these 10 must-knows before you leave. Money matters, cash machines, tipping, emergency numbers, telephone tips, Internet, electricity, opening hours and more.
1. Money matters
The only currency used in Holland is the euro. Be sure to check in advance whether your debit card can be used and is enabled for use in Holland. Most places in Holland accept credit cards; if you aren’t sure, inquire in advance. Most border exchange offices and Change Express offices accept the more common credit cards (American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and VisaCard). Note: many stores and restaurants do not accept large bills (100, 200 and 500 euro bills).
2. Cash machines
If you have a foreign bank card bearing the Cirrus logo, you can draw cash from cash machines. Some ABN AMRO cash machines also accept cards with the PLUS logo. Check your card for the EDC, ED and/or Maestro logos as well. Aside from the above, you can also use credit cards to draw cash from cash machines. Cash machines can be found in even the smallest Dutch villages, and are usually open 24 hours per day.
Tipping is not obligatory in Holland, as all bills include VAT and a service fee. Nevertheless, tips are of course always welcomed. In cafes, restaurants and taxis the usual course of action is to round up.
Read more about ATMs and tipping.
4. Emergency numbers
Be sure to store the following emergency numbers in your phone or write them down in your notebook:
Emergency services (police, fire service and ambulance): 112
Police (not an emergency): 0900-8844
5. Telephone tips
In Holland, you can use your telephone to access the Dutch network or, as a less expensive alternative, buy a prepaid phone card. You can purchase these from supermarkets, tobacco shops, travel book stores (AKO, Bruna), service stations and telephone stores.
If you wish to call a Dutch number from abroad, enter +31, followed by the area code (without the first 0), then the subscriber’s number. If you wish to make a call abroad from Holland, start with the country code.
Important area codes are:
· Amsterdam (0)20
· Rotterdam (0)10
· Utrecht (0)30
· The Hague (0)70
· Maastricht (0)43
Internet density in Holland is exceptionally high, which means that WiFi access exists in many locations, such as hotels, cafes and restaurants.
Read more about telehone and Internet.
Dutch dap water is of high quality and always potable, unless otherwise indicated. Of course, many places also offer bottled water.
Dutch sockets produce 220 volts. Some hotels also have 110- or 120-volt sockets for electric shavers. It is always practical to carry an adapter for two-pin side-earthed plugs.
Read more about water and electricity.
9. Opening hours
Most stores are opened daily from 09:00 to 17:30, though many shops do not open before noon on Mondays. Most cities have one shopping evening per week, usually Thursday, on which most stores are open until 21:00. These days, stores also are open on Sundays in many (but not all) of the larger cities.
In most large cities, supermarkets are open daily until 22:00, except on Sundays, when they close around 17:30. In the rest of the country, they are generally open until 20:00 on weekdays and Saturdays, with opening hours on Sundays varying.
Banks are generally open Mondays to Fridays from 09:00 and 17:30, with some larger branches also maintaining Saturday opening hours. GWK Travelex offices are open on all weekdays and can usually be found at railway stations and airports.
Read more about opening hours in the Netherlands.
10. Post offices
Most post offices are open Mondays through Saturdays. Opening hours vary per office, but generally run from 09:00 to 18:00. Many post offices are located in tobacco shops and travel book stores (e.g. AKO, Bruna) in all areas and neighbourhoods. PostNL (the Dutch postal service) service points are indicated by orange logos. These points sell stamps, telephone cards and public transport chip cards and accept letters and packages.
Read more about post offices in the Netherlands.