Wonderful. Elegant. One of the most loved European Capitals, thanks to an extraordinary offer. History, architecture and lots of popular events make Amsterdam one of the most touristic destinations. But the Netherlands is much more. A suggestive land, to be discovered in every corner. The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and many more: beautiful cities, all to be discovered.
HOW TO GET TO THE NETHERLANDS
By plane or train, Amsterdam is the starting point to reach the Netherlands.
The plane is, without a doubt, the best solution to reach the country. The Amsterdam-Schiphol international airport it is one of the most important, and trafficked, in all of Europe. You can reach it, by direct flight, from the main European and extra-European destinations.
Hub of KLM, is served by numerous low-cost airlines.
Once landed, you can easily reach the Schiphol train station and, from there, travel by train to The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht and other Dutch destinations.
Furthermore, there are daily connections from Schiphol to Belgium, France and Germany.
Eindhoven, Rotterdam / The Hague, Maastricht and Groningen are secondary airports served, almost exclusively, by low-cost companies.
From abroad, by train, you can easily reach the country, via Amsterdam. The Central station is connected to Belgium, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.
There are fast daily connections, in the Intercity Express, with Basel, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hanover. CityNightLine and Eurocity trains connect Copenhagen, Moscow, Prague and Warsaw every night.
Excellent connections, in Thalys, with France and Belgium.
From London, instead, the fast Eurostar, via Brussels.
From Belgium, Germany and the North of France, you can drive to the Netherlands without taking long journeys. An efficient motorway network is connected to the main European routes. Berlin is 650 kilometers from Amsterdam. From Paris, however, a distance of about 500 kilometers must be covered, passing through Antwerp or Brussels.
Bus and ferry are other solutions to reach the country.
The railway network is extremely efficient and organized. By train you can reach any Dutch destination.
Amsterdam remains the landmark, as well as the main railway hub of the entire nation.
To move around the country, you can use the fast, punctual, Intercity trains. They connect, above all, the most important cities, and the most popular tourist destinations.
Alternatively, the cheaper Sprinter trains make stops at all stations.
Tickets can be purchased at the automatic machines, and at the operators in the most important railway stations. Dogkaart is the special PASS to travel throughout the country, at a special price
For those wishing to move by train, we recommend arriving at the station a little early from the departure time; often, you may have difficulty untangling yourself in the larger stations. Furthermore, it is not rare to find signs and indications exclusively in Dutch.
To move around the country, the car and the bike are excellent alternatives to the train. Sometimes, by car you can reach destinations otherwise impossible.
The motorway network is particularly extensive and efficient. Amsterdam, and all major Dutch cities, are served by a motorway. Local roads, and country roads, are a good solution to discover scenarios and sometimes unique landscapes.
The bike is a medium much loved by the Dutch. Not a true means, but a lifestyle, practiced constantly in Northern Europe.
Throughout the Netherlands, you will find many kilometers of cycle paths. Road signs are clear and easily identifiable. Cyclists are obliged to respect signs as well as drivers. The bikes must have OBLIGATORY white front light, and red light rear. For long distances, you can take your bike by train, paying the relative surcharge.
DOCUMENTS AND CUSTOMS
The Netherlands has joined the Schenghen Agreements; therefore, for the citizens of the European countries adhering to this Agreement, there is no obligation to show documents at the border; you are always required to bring an ID card or passport with you. It is recommended, above all, to bring the CI of their children under age, even if traveling by car or train. See our special section on this subject.
Dogs and cats enter freely, provided they have a health certificate and a recent certificate from the veterinarian of the ASL of residence, attesting to good health. Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies for at least 21 days.
Please note that the appropriate microchip must be applied to the animals. On public transport, animals must travel with a muzzle.
To fly with animals, please refer to the individual section Airline companies.
CURRENCY AND CHANGE
The euro is the official currency of the Netherlands. Since 01 January 2002 has replaced the Dutch forint.
Almost everywhere, you can pay directly by credit card and withdraw cash at ATMs. Keep in mind, however, that in some small cities, and less touristy places, you may find it difficult to make credit card payments. A cash reserve is always recommended.
If you need to enter the bank, keep in mind that, in the main cities, it is open from Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 17:00. Schedules may be subject to change; especially in small towns. On Saturday mornings, until the 12: 00, the central counters in the main cities are open. Everywhere, banks are closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays.
In the Country, the clock hands are placed one hour ahead of the Greenwich meridian (UTC/GMT + 1). Daylight saving time starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October, with the hands forward an additional hour compared to Greenwich (UTC / GMT + 2).
Throughout the country, the voltage is 220-230 volts, with 50Hz frequency. The electrical sockets, in general, are of type C or F. The first is the so-called “two-pole” eurospina, widely used in Europe. The type F socket is the Schuko type, used in Germany (photo below).
We recommend always using a special adapter. For the more confident, we recommend taking a look at this link.
PostNL, is the main operator that manages postal and logistics services in the Netherlands. Generally, it is identified on the outside by a white colored logo, blue and white features, and an orange background. And it could not be otherwise.
The company offers all common shipping and telecommunication services.
Typically, post offices observe the same times as the bank, and are open from 09:00 to 17:00, Monday through Friday.
In the most important railway stations, such as Amsterdam Centraal, you will find an 24-hour-open counter every day on 24.
Typically, store opening hours are from 09:00 to 17:30, without pausing. On Mondays, many shops open only in the morning while, on Thursday, the closing time is extended until 22:00. In large cities like Amsterdam, however, the schedules are quite different; you will find shops almost always open up to 22:00 and, on Sundays also to 17:00.
PHARMACIES AND HOSPITALS
The sign APOTHEEK outside the building, indicates the presence of a pharmacy. Often, they are identified by the red writing. As a rule, they are open from Monday to Friday, from 08:30 to 18:00.
The Dutch National Health System does not cover foreign visitors and therefore it is essential to stipulate a specific medical insurance
In the Netherlands, the frequencies Gsm 800/1800 Mhz and W-CDMA 2100 are used, the same of the main European countries. So you can easily use your Italian, French … smartphone.
To call phones in the Netherlands, you need to enter the international code 0031, followed by the telephone number.
The leading Dutch telephone operators are KPN, Vodafone, Telfort, Orange, and T-mobile.
With the lowering of roaming costs, you can easily call from the Netherlands at your own national rate. Alternatively, you can use the classic VoIP calls, or make video calls, using a free WI-FI line.