Welcome to The Netherlands, your new home for the next few days, weeks, months or maybe even for years to come. When you’re going to a new country, you will be in need of a helping hand. Look no further, we have the guide for you to make a start in The Netherlands! The top 4 things one usually looks for first in a country is how to travel in that country, forms of paying, accommodations, food and entertainment. We have the guide for you to survive and have an adventure.

Travelling in The Netherlands

Car

First things first, your arrival in The Netherlands. If you are travelling by car all you need is to set up your navigation system, you can also take a taxi. Just google Taxi and the city you are in, and there will be many options to choose from. If you already have Uber or another type of ride-sharing app, you will be able to get a ride through the applications. If you have your own car or a rental, make sure you download an app that will make paying for parking easy. A few examples; Parkmobile, Smsparkeren, Yellowbrick etc.

Public Transport

Another form of travelling in The Netherlands is by public transportation. The Netherlands has a very efficient public transportation all over the country. It is easy to get anywhere with the tram (streetcar/cable car), metro (subway/tube), bus, train and ferry. The public transport is very well connected and it will facilitate your travelling across the country or even take you to other neighbouring countries. 

If you’re travelling with the OV (Openbaar Vervoer, translates to Public Transportation) you will need an OV chip card which you can top up with credit. If you’re going to register at the municipality, then it is best to acquire a Personal OV chipcard, only available online. If you’re not going to register and you’re only staying for a couple of days, weeks or months, it is best that you get an Anonymous OV-card (€7,50, 2019), available online, airports, convenience shops and supermarkets, or at any public transport station or counter. If you’re interested in knowing more about the types of OV chip cards, click here

Besides the personal and anonymous OV chip cards, you can also buy tickets at stations or at any OV provider, for example, trams and busses RET in Rotterdam, GVB in Amsterdam, HTM in The Hague etc. Each region has its own public transit for tram, metro and or bus. However, buying a ticket every time is more expensive: There are limited options depending on which city you are in, for example, 1 and 2-hour tickets, or day cards. These can be used on the tram, metro and bus. For the train, you will have to buy a separate one. 

When you enter your means of transport, you have to check-in and when you leave check-out again even if you’re changing to another means of transport. Make sure you always buy a ticket and to check-in, otherwise you risk being fined. You can buy a ticket in the tram at the conductor and on the bus, you can buy a ticket at the chauffeur. 

Train

The train is a national train transit network called NS. You can buy tickets online, at the train stations or you can top up your OV card and check-in at the train station. If you are going to another country by train (other transit systems) make sure you buy a ticket far in advance. 

Transit App

The go-to app or website for any travelling in The Netherlands is 9292. You can plan your trip without having to think of what means of transportation you need to use. 9292 gives different options and you can choose with what means you prefer to travel with, for example, if you only want to travel by metro and tram or bus and train, 9292 will only give you those routes with these means of transportation unless this is not possible.

Bike

If you’re in The Netherlands for months or years, it is a good idea to buy a bicycle, they are not that expensive and are an easy and affordable way to navigate through the city. You can also rent a bike at NS or bike-sharing applications. Be aware that you are not allowed to take your bike in trams or buses. They are allowed on the train and metro’s but at an additional cost. If you don’t buy a ticket for the bike, then you’ll risk getting a fine. 

Forms of payment in The Netherlands

For the means of payment in The Netherlands, you can choose for cash money, debit card or credit card (visa/master etc.). Please do keep in mind that not all stores accept all these means of payment. In fact, most stores do not accept credit cards like supermarkets. Restaurants, hotels and tourist destinations usually accept credit cards. However, this can be different from shop to shop even when you visit the same chain. The differences can be from city to city or even if they are only a few blocks apart from each other. For more information regarding money in The Netherlands, click here. 

Online there are more options. The most used mean of payment online is iDeal (direct transfers), which is only available with a Dutch debit card. For more information on debit cards and how to get one visit iamexpat. Other online means of payment are Visa and Master credit card, PayPal and AfterPay and KLARNA (direct transfer, post-payment). 

Food

The Netherlands is a multicultural society, with over 175 nationalities in Rotterdam and over 180 nationalities in Amsterdam. This means that there is an abundance of multicultural food. If there is not a restaurant that represents a country then there will be shops that sell the ingredients to make typical food from their country.

The Netherlands also has typical foods that you can’t separate from the country. The following are classic Dutch grub:

  • One of the most famous ones is herring. This is a type of fish that is served with onions and gherkins. You eat it raw and you hold it from the tail and drop it in your mouth for a bite. 
  • Stroopwafels

    Another Dutch delight is the stroopwafel is a type of cookie. It is a waffle made from baked batter, two layers of waffles are filled with sweet and sticky syrup in between.

  • Kroket is a deep-fried roll with ragout inside covered with breadcrumbs. There are various types of krokets with meat and without meat. Bitterballen are a type of kroket but in bite sizes. 
  • Patat/Friet aka french fries, everybody likes a portion of patat often served in a paper cone. You always eat patat with one or several sauces, for example, mayonnaise, ketchup, curry, peanut sauce and sometimes with chopped raw onions on top. Patat with peanut sauce is referred to as ‘patatje oorlog’ translates to fries at war.
  • Dutch pancakes, pannekoeken, are thin and served with stroop (a type of syrup). Poffertjes are like miniature pancakes served with butter and a lot of powdered sugar. 
  • The drop known as liquorice is a candy that is not for everyone. The dutch grow up with it and since there are a lot of different flavours and bag sizes there is something for every dutchie maybe even for you.
  • Cheese, if you don’t like cheese in The Netherlands and you have lived here since a young age people will say ‘’are you even dutch if you don’t like cheese?’’.  Cheese is a staple in the dutch culture. On a slice of bread, a snack, cheese fondue or cheese souffle. We work it into breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-between snacks.
  • Hagelslag is a sprinkle spread for on a slice of bread with butter.
  • Oliebollen

    Oliebollen, a Dutch version of a doughnut. These oliebollen are mostly made and served during the winter and are a traditional New Year’s Eve treat. 

  • Rookworst is a smoked sausage and is eaten often with a stampot or erwtensoepErwtensoep is a thick pea soup eaten mostly in the winter and stampot is a dish consisting of mashed potatoes mixed with mostly kale but does not stop there. Other vegetables that can be used are carrots, spinach, sauerkraut etc.

Entertainment

When it comes to entertainment in The Netherlands there is plenty to do. It is easy to travel to other cities so you can go and explore other cities or visit museums, go on the water/canals, visit old towns with a lot of windmills, or cheese market to try out some cheese. 

Keukenhof

One attraction that everyone must visit at least once is the Keukenhof also known as Europe’s garden for its blooming tulips. The Keukenhof is only open in the spring season from around March 21 to May 10 of every year. Have a Dutch Heineken beer at the Heineken Experience etc. Check out thecrazytourist for more tips or just look up a few websites on Google. Check out Iamexpat for more information on what to do in The Netherlands. There is always something to do in The Netherlands. Make sure you research online so you don’t miss out on anything!

Accommodations

If you are staying in The Netherlands for a short period, 4 nights or less, then maybe a hotel would suit you better since you won’t be spending much time inside. There are many websites which give you an overview of all types of hotels, like the booking.com or Trivago. Airbnb is also an option if you’re travelling by yourself or in a group.

If you are staying for an extended period, either for work or lifestyle, we advise you to go for a serviced apartment since you won’t spend all your time outside. A serviced apartment can make you feel more at home as it has a fully equipped kitchen, is more spacious, has housekeeping services and laundry service or a washing machine in the apartment itself. 

Serviced Apartment

There are studio serviced apartments, one, two or even three-bedroom serviced apartments. Perfect if you’re travelling with your family or in groups. Depending on your needs and wishes, you are able to choose from serviced apartments,  aparthotel, serviced apartments in residential buildings, and corporate housing. Also, if you’re coming to live in The Netherlands and you haven’t found a residence yet, a serviced apartment is also a good option for temporary accommodation in the meanwhile that you’re searching for your permanent home.  For more information on the differences between these serviced apartments check out the Types of serviced accommodations blog. 

If you’re planning on coming to the Netherlands and would rather prefer to stay in a serviced apartment, send us an inquiry!

Now that you have this information in your hands you can go out into The Netherlands explore and take on a new adventure!! The best of luck to you all! And when in doubt, always ask the locals, they are always willing to help you out!

 

By Naziha Bentouhami

 

Sources:

Payment Methods, Paymentwall.com

Public Transport, Wanderlustingk.com

Dutch food, Amsterdamtourist.com

25 Best things in The Netherlands, Thecrazytourist.com

Lifestyle, Iamexpat.nl