Dutch cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam have an incredible range of foods and all kinds of entertainment to choose from. The Netherlands has an extremely well-built IT infrastructure, and high-speed internet connections are available in all major cities.
The best times to visit the Netherlands is from April to August. Spring is the season when all the tulips start blooming and summer is the best season for outdoor activities. Another good season to visit is mid-December to early January. Many towns have Christmas markets, parades, ice-skating, and many other seasonal activities. But even the Dutch themselves are as funny and versatile as a society can be.
They eat more licorice than any other country, they even colored carrots in orange color as a tribute to William of Orange. And yes, even the Royals keep things simple: King Alexander confirmed he was working as a co-pilot for KLM for more than two decades without anyone knowing just because he enjoys flying so much. So, fasten your seatbelt, and let's take off to Amsterdam!
🇳🇱 Entry requirements for the Netherlands
- Visa: Valid Schengen visa.
- Insurance: Travel health insurance that matches the Schengen requirements. Your insurance policy needs a minimum amount of 30,000 Euros of emergency cover.
🌱 Travel health insurance for the Netherlands
- Additional note: Covid-related entry regulations are lifted. Please check your airline, train, or bus company for additional required documents.
🏡 How to find a place
- Airbnb: When searching on Airbnb for an apartment in Amsterdam, you can find beautiful places but as in most Scandinavian countries, renting prices in the Netherlands raised up to 1,500 Euro per month. Apartments in the heart of Amsterdam and preferred districts like De Pijp or Noord can easily cost 4,000 Euro. Same in rising stars like Rotterdam.
- OnlyExpats: A handy website where you can find apartments for rent in all major Dutch cities. Also here, you will hardly find a 1-bedroom apartment for under 2,000 Euro per month.
- Facebook: If you have more time to research, check out Find housing for rent in the Netherlands group on Facebook and monitor their listings.
✈️ How to get to the Netherlands
- Plane: Most important and international airports can be found in Amsterdam (AMS), Rotterdam (RTM), Eindhoven (EIN), Groningen (GRQ) and Maastricht-Aachen (MST). The fastest route from Amsterdam Airport to the city is the train which costs around 5 to 12 Euro for a 9-minutes ride. The train runs every 10 minutes. At Rotterdam Airport take the bus line 33 which takes you to the center in just 20 minutes. When traveling to Den Haag it is only 20 kilometers from Rotterdam Airport.
- Train: You can easily enter the Netherlands comfy by train which goes several times per day from different European cities like Berlin, Paris or Brussels. Also, Vienna and Zurich have overnight connections making you wake up in Amsterdam freshly and well rested.
- Bus: Europe has an excellent bus network, and the most popular bus companies to use are Flixbus and Blablacar.
🚌 Public transport
- OV Chip Card: Having an OV-Chipkaart gives you easy access to all public transport such as buses, trams, metro, and ferries. Top it up with money but never too much in case it gets lost. Once it’s gone, it’s gone! Note that since 2018 cash is no longer accepted in public transport.
- (E-)Bike: Amsterdam is known as the bike capital of the world. Getting around the city is super easy. Bike rentals are available everywhere and you can ride around the canals or through the streets of the city as the locals do.
🏘 Where to stay in Amsterdam
- De Pijp: Former working-class district which transformed into a vibrant, colorful neighborhood with excellent cafes and a variety of restaurants.
- Westerpark: Due to the fact that it is the largest park in the city this is the greenest part of Amsterdam you can live in.
- Oost: This is still the most diverse and colorful district of the city, but also a place of one of the largest museums in Amsterdam: The Tropenmuseum.
🧑🏻💻 Where to work from in Amsterdam
- Bounce Space: Long Story short: BounceSpace is where you’ll find community, coworking spaces as well as amenities such as an espresso bar and a barber shop…within the premises. So if you forgot to get your hair styled or cut before a meeting, no worries as the barber is right next to your workplace.
- Zoku: This coworking space you’ll find on Roeterseiland within the center of Amsterdam. This coworking space offers everything, from day passes to monthly memberships including discounts for drinks and foods, community events, and 24/7 access.
- StartDock: Based within the heart of Amsterdam you get a coworking space with a bunch of diverse entrepreneurs, different passes and memberships as well as 24/7 access and high-speed internet.
- De Kanarie Club: Located in Oud-West, this laptop-friendly café has strong wifi, more power outlets than your average electronic store, and a variety of delicatessen. You don’t even have to call a waitress. The order process will easily be processed by scanning a QR- Code.
- MidWest: You find this super hip spot within a gymnasium of a former school building in Amsterdam West. Next to tasty dishes, you get offered a flexible workspace for reasonable prices as well as a creative, vibrant atmosphere.
- Benji's: You can find the urban jungle in Amsterdam Oost, West ad Nieuw-West. The tropical spheres of Bali get combined with industrial tones and funky Asian street food and reliable wifi.
- Bar Bistro Bureau: Call it a bar. Call it a bistro. Call it a workspace. With a membership at B.Amsterdam, it’s possible to use the wifi, enjoy delicious food and use a living room kind of rooftop.
🏘 Where to stay in Rotterdam
- Oude Westen: This charming and arty district acts as a hub for the city’s creatives and is especially popular for its expat community. You find delicious food, a hip bar scene, and apartments at reasonable prices.
- Rotterdam Noord: When you prefer to stay quieter, Noord could be the perfect spot for you. Apartments here tend to be more pricey due to the rising demand of locals and expats.
- Delfshaven: Living here means the chance of overlooking the harbor. Easy and fast access to music venues and bars included.
🧑🏻💻 Where to work from in Rotterdam
- Kleinhandel: Next to the central station you will find this coworking space with a vibrant, open, and bright Interieur and atmosphere. Besides they offer all amenities you could wish for, from a chill-out area, standing desks, and ergonomic chairs to childcare options.
- 42Workspace: Only a puddle jump from Beurs metro station you find 42Workspace where you can get everything that a fun and efficient workday needs: From relax-zones and showers, gym and ping pong to standing desks and high-speed internet.
- The Happy Flow: The Happy Flow is located in the center of Rotterdam, and while being productive you enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the skyline. This coworking space offers all amenities you need such as high-speed internet, kitchen, phone booths and office equipments.
- Rotterdam Progress Bar: With a membership at Progress Bar everything is included: Lunch, beverages, and printing too. Releax in one of the hammocks, use their yoga studio or become the next Elon Musk sitting on ergonomic chairs, a flex desk or beanbags.
- StartDock: At Westplain 12 you get monumental design and modern interieur inside. This coworking space offers all that you need from a coworking space: 24/7 access, high speed internet, and unlimited access to coffee.
- [email protected]: Great wifi and surrounded by like-minded people are only few reasons to choose from this café as a workplace. As a coffee enthusiast you will find coffee from a well known micro-brewery named Santas Koffie which is based in Rotterdam. The interior is made to get some work done and the café offers plenty of work space.
- Lebkov: You find Lebkov Rotterdam opposite of Rotterdam central station which has an underground parking station for bikes. Besides delicious sandwiches and fresh lunch options, Lebkov offers free wifi and a big indoor as well as outdoor area.
🚊 How to travel around the Netherlands
- Train: Traveling around the Netherlands by train is one of the best, cheapest and most convenient ways. NS trains are fast, mostly modern and very punctual. You can choose between the Speed Intercity and the Stoptrein which pretty much stops in every little village.
- Bus: You will find several local bus companies supplementing the transportation network efficiently. Have in mind that in more rural areas some bus services run only when passengers have made an advanced booking.
- Car: All major car rental agencies are represented in the Netherlands but rates can be fairly high as they start at 250 Euro per day upwards. Ouch!
- Hash and Hemp Museum: Hash and hemp belongs to the Netherlands, like windmills, tulips and cheese. The exhibition presents rare artefacts related to all aspects of cannabis history and culture. With 9 Euro entrance fee, it is worth a visit when in Amsterdam.
- Boat tour in Amsterdam: Cruise along the canals of Amsterdam, either in a simple tourist boat or in one of the fancy options, like cheese and wine tasting tours. When your budget allows, why not staying overnight in one of Amsterdam's rental houseboats?
- Markthal Rotterdam: Maybe you are not super into architecture, but maybe into food? The Markthal is worth a shot. You find a hugh array of shops, stalls restaurants and bars such as tea and tapas bars. It is a cool place to explore and taste some fine foods and drinks.
- Witte de Withstraat: Definitely one of the must sees of Rotterdams vibrant bar and restaurant scene.
- Oude Haven: The oldest harbor of Rotterdom is built in the 14th century is nowadays hosting historic ships. Oude Haven is a popular place for entertainment. Locals come here to meet friends, have a sundowner and dance under the stars.
- Erasmus Bridge: This bridge located in Rotterdam is with 802 meters the second largest bridge of the Netherlands and it is a pleasant walk with a nice view.
- Hoek van Holland: Between The Hague and Rotterdam you find one of the widest beaches in the country. Relax and sunbath in the sand, get some ice cooled drinks or take long walks through the Hollandse Duinen national park.
💡Good to know
- Internet: The median internet speed for fixed broadband is about 102.44 MBPS download and 31.68 Mbps upload speed.
- Sim card: The best pre-paid sim card operator are Lebara, Kpn or Simyo.
- Cost of living: A single person can estimate monthly cost of living between 3,000 and 4,000 Euro. These costs are mainly due to higher grocery bills, high rent, and higher fees and expenses as soon as you exit your apartment. Eating out in Amsterdam is not a bargain, and a meal can cost easily 25 Euro. Rent will be around 2,000 Euro to 2,500 Euro. Of course, Amsterdam is the most expensive place to stay. A more affordable option would be the student city of Groningen, and also Rotterdam could be slightly cheaper than the capital.
- Currency: The official currency is Euro.
- Climate: Moderate maritime climate with mild winters and cool summers, without dry season.
- Safety: Crime rates are very low compared to southern European countries, and the law is strictly enforced. It is ranked 16th of the world's safest countries. Pickpockets may sometimes be an issue in urban areas of cities or at crowded events.
- Being on time: Be punctual when you can or let people know when you run late as it is considered rude being late.
- Food culture: Dinner is usually the main meal of the day. It begins around 6pm.
- Gifts: When visiting someone it is appropriate to bring small gifts like chocolate or flowers. Never bring white lilies or chrysanthemums as they are symbols of mourning. Thumb rule: Don't show up empty handed.
🚧 What to avoid
- Smoking cannabis outside of a coffee shop: Even if the Netherlands are known for it’s open mind its incredibly rude to smoke cannabis in public spaces.
- Unattended Belongings: You shouldn’t worry too much about crime but still be aware of thieves and pickpockets.
- Don’t call the Netherlands “Holland”: To clarify, the Netherlands consists of 12 provinces, and Holland is an area that is made up of two provinces: North- and South Holland. Due to its importance of being the heart of economy and wealth during the last century it became a common name to indicate the whole country. 2020 the Dutch officially dropped its country’s nickname “Holland” referring itself as the Netherlands.
🚴🏻♀️ How to stay healthy
- Cycling: Amsterdam is known as the cycling capital of the world. Getting around the city is super easy. Bike rentals are available everywhere and you can ride around the canals or neighborhoods for around 10 Euro per day.
- Walking Amsterdam: The Jewish Quarter, the Red Light District, or the Western Canal Belt, Amsterdam is a very walkable city with green nooks and benches to take a break, sites to visit along the way or just getting lost in neighborhoods.
- Beach walks: Hoek van Holland beaches have many walking and cycling routes you can choose from. Easy to reach from Rotterdam or The Hague (from both cities it is 30 min by car, or 1 hour by public transport) you find attractive sights, coastal nature and affordable accommodations. Hoek van Holland is a nice destination to spend a few days.
- Watersports: Choose between kite-surfing, stand op paddeling, kayaking or sailing, whatever your inner Poseidon is whispering to you, you will probably find it in the Netherlands.
- Yoga: There are several great yoga studios which are a lovely experience while visiting the Netherlands. Also good during the cold winter you have the opportunity to heat yourself up with 40 degrees bikram yoga to boost your immune system.
- Water quality: You can drink tap water in the Netherlands.
- Air quality: The air quality in the Netherlands is moderate.
⚓️ Long stay
If you want to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 90 days, you may need a residence permit. In many cases you will also have to apply for a long-stay visa before you travel to the Netherlands. This visa is also called an authorization for temporary stay (MVV).