When visiting The Netherlands (also known as Holland), it's good to know some necessary information that will make your stay in this European country a lot easier.
The Netherlands is in the Central European Time Zone, which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
220 volt is the standard in The Netherlands, which is different from the American standard. Tourists from the United States will have to take a transformer with them.
The currency in The Netherlands is the euro, which is used in a lot of countries in the European Union.
It is customary to tip when paying for a taxi or eating/drinking in a bar or restaurant. The general rule in The Netherlands is that tipping between 5% and 10% is acceptable.
The international access code to call abroad from The Netherlands is 00. You will see that most local telephones in The Netherlands are card-operated, although you will also find some phones that are coin-operated. Cards to call are available at magazine stores, post offices and some tourist offices.
The emergency number is 112. Use this number when every second counts. 112 is the collective emergency number for the fire brigade, medical service and police.
Most shops are open from Monday to Saturday from 09:00 hrs to 18:00 hrs, although on Saturday most shops close at 17:00 hrs. Most cities have so-called shopping evenings on Thursdays or Fridays. The shops stay open on those shopping evenings until 21:00 hrs.
In the cities a lot of supermarkets stay open during weekdays until 21:00 or 22:00 hrs. In some cities, like Amsterdam, shops are also open on Sundays from 12:00 to 17:00 hrs.
Cash and credit cards are generally accepted by the shops as payment options.
The Netherlands has a moderate climate, which means cool summers and mild winters. Also prepare for some rainfall, since it rains in this country regularly. The nearby North Sea has a big influence on the climate in The Netherlands.
The Dutch are not exactly well-known for their food. People in The Netherlands traditionally have their hot meal in the evening. Most evenings meals have potatoes, vegetables and meat or fish.
In recent years, however, Dutch tastes have become more international and refined. You will find a lot of international food and international dishes in supermarkets and restaurants.
The main language in The Netherlands is Dutch, but you will notice that almost everyone living in The Netherlands is willing and able to speak English.
You will find a diverse religious landscape in The Netherlands with churches, synagogues, mosques and other places to worship.
A big part of the Dutch population however describes itself as non-religious and you see that also back in churches having lost their influence.
If you want to practice your own religion, you will have plenty opportunities to do so.
Refer to my other The Netherlands articles if you are interested in:
- Which Cities To Visit During Your Trip To The Netherlands
- Poffertjes, Traditional Small Dutch Pancakes