Currency in Netherlands
The Netherlands uses the euro. It is one of the many European countries that use this common currency. All euro banknotes and coins are legal tender in all countries.
One euro is divided into 100 cents.
The official symbol of the euro is € and its ISO code is EUR. There is no official symbol for the cent.
- Banknotes: The euro banknotes have the same design in all countries.
- Standard coins: All euro area countries issue coins that have a distinctive national design on one side and a common standard design on the other. The coins can be used in any euro area country, regardless of the design used (e.g. a one-euro coin from Finland can be used in Portugal).
- Commemorative €2 coins: These differ from normal €2 coins only in their “national” side and circulate freely as legal tender. Each country can produce a certain amount of these coins as part of its normal coin production, and sometimes “European” 2-euro coins are produced to commemorate specific events (e.g. anniversaries of important treaties).
- Other commemorative coins: Commemorative coins with other amounts (e.g. ten euros or more) are much rarer, have very special designs and often contain significant amounts of gold, silver or platinum. Although they are technically legal tender at face value, their material or collector’s value is usually much higher and therefore you are unlikely to find them in circulation.
Many shops do not accept 100, 200 and 500 euro banknotes because they are afraid of counterfeiting and burglaries.
In many shops, especially supermarkets, it is common for the ATM to round up your total amount to the nearest 5 euro cents. Don’t be surprised, the difference will be shown as “Afronding” on the receipt.
Credit and debit cards in Netherlands
The use of credit cards in general is quite common, but not as widespread as in the United States or some other European countries. The Dutch themselves often use (debit) bank cards, for which there is usually a machine even in small shops and market stalls. You will usually find widely accepted credit cards in tourist destinations (but even there, not all supermarkets accept them), as well as in restaurants and some department stores in the rest of the country, but ask beforehand or check the symbols usually displayed at the entrance. For security reasons, a PIN code is increasingly required to use credit cards in the Netherlands.
ATMs are easily accessible, especially near shopping and nightlife areas. Even in villages, there are usually one or more ATMs near the local supermarket.
Tipping in Netherlands
Dutch law requires that all service charges and taxes must be included in the prices that hotels, bars and restaurants publish. Tipping is therefore not necessary, but is nevertheless appreciated as a reward for good service and is increasingly common. Especially in tourist areas and large hotels, it is not uncommon for tips to increase. Many Dutch customers leave 1 or 2 euros, even in simple bars and restaurants, unless the service is poor. For good service in a restaurant, you should feel free to leave what you think is appropriate. A tip of 5-10% on a restaurant bill is considered a generous reward for good service.
Shopping in Netherlands
Most shops open at 9 or 10 am and usually close around 6 pm. Supermarkets and DIY stores often have longer opening hours, opening at around 8.30 am and closing at 8 or 10 pm. Traditionally, most shops are closed on Sundays or open only on a few Sundays a year (called “koopzondagen”). In recent years, new laws have given municipalities the power to decide for themselves the number of koopzondagen, i.e. Sundays on which shops are allowed to open. As a result, most shops in the centres of the big cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Maastricht, etc.) are now open every Sunday, usually from 12 noon to 5 or 6 pm. More and more small towns, especially those where tourism is an important economic factor, are following this trend. Unfortunately, the situation varies from place to place. In most small towns, at least one supermarket is allowed to open every Sunday, most have several Sunday openings a year, and some are open every Sunday. Note that some small shops are closed on Monday morning or even have an extra day closed during the week.
The Netherlands is a good place to buy flowers. Flower bulbs are best to take home and can be bought all year round in tourist shops, garden centres and DIY shops. Note that flower bulbs and their planting times depend on the seasons. Tulip bulbs are generally not available from late winter to late summer. Fresh flowers can be bought in flower shops or packaged in most supermarkets. Also remember that while it is not a problem to bring bulbs and flowers out of the country, there may be strict restrictions on bringing them into your own country.
The country is also famous for its clogs. Nowadays, hardly anyone wears them, except for a few farmers in the countryside. Wearing clogs in public outside the country will get you some strange looks from the locals. If you try them on, the famous “clogs” are surprisingly comfortable and very useful in any rural setting. Think of them as all-terrain shoes; easy to put on for a walk in the garden, in the field or on a country lane. If you live at home in the country, consider taking a pair with you if you can. Avoid the tacky tourist shops of Schiphol and Damrak in Amsterdam and instead look for a regular seller, usually found in towns and villages in rural areas. In the northern province of Friesland, there are many shops selling wooden shoes, often decorated in the bright colours of the Frisian flag.
Costs in Netherlands
The Netherlands is generally considered an expensive country (unless you come from Scandinavia). Accommodation and food are more expensive than in neighbouring countries, but train travel, museums and sightseeing tend to be cheaper. Retail prices for clothes, gifts, etc. are similar to most Western European countries; consumer electronics are slightly more expensive. Petrol, tobacco and alcohol are relatively expensive due to excise taxes. Standard cigarette packs contain only 19 cigarettes.