Where to go?
Practical A to Z
Practical A to Z
- Eating out
- Embassies and consulates
- Public holidays
Drugs are illegal in the Netherlands, but Holland’s legislation distinguishes between cannabis and hard drugs. Cannabis can be bought from coffee shops (5 grams maximum and only to adults over the age of 18).
Lunch in Holland is traditionally a quick snack and many restaurants are only open in the evenings. The Dutch eat early (around 6pm) and most restaurants stop serving around 9.30pm.
Tips and bills
Service is included in the bill, but it is customary to leave a tip that rounds up the bill. Tap water is never served free of charge.
Breakfast in Holland is very similar to a traditional English breakfast and most hotels serve a choice of tea, coffee or hot chocolate with boiled eggs, cheese, ham, sometimes salami, a variety of bread and rolls, butter and jam. Many Dutch people eat a cold or very light lunch, washed down with a cup of coffee. Dinner is traditionally more filling. Soup, particularly in winter, is very popular and the traditional green pea soup is supposed to be thick enough to stand a spoon in! Cheese is rarely served at the end of the meal, but takes pride of place on the breakfast and lunchtime table.
The voltage in the Netherlands is 220V, but plugs are standard two-pin continental plugs, so you will probably need an adaptor.
Embassies and consulates
British Embassy –Lange Voorhout 10, 2514 ED The Hague – t 070 427 0427 – http://ukinnl.fco.gov.uk/en/
British Consulate-General –Koningslaan 44,1075 AE Amsterdam – t 020 676 4343 – http://ukinnl.fco.gov.uk/en/
Irish Embassy – Dr Kuyperstraat 9, 2514 BA The Hague – t 070 363 0993 – http://www.irishembassy.nl/
Irish Consulate – 2 Debussystraat 2, 3161 WD Rhoon Rotterdam – t 010 506 6600 – http://www.irishembassy.nl/
Also see Know before you go.
Universal European emergency number: t 112.
Chemists are open Monday-Friday from 9.30am-5.30pm. A list of out-of-hours chemists is posted on the door.
The currency of the Netherlands is the Euro.
Banks / exchange
Banks are open on Mondays from 1pm to 4-5pm and from Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 4-5pm.
Credit cards and traveller’s cheques
Most international credit cards are accepted in ATMs and in shops, hotels and restaurants. Only guesthouses require payment in cash or by credit card with a surcharge. ATMs are available on practically every street corner in town. Euro zone residents should note that bank charges for withdrawals and payments are identical to those in their country of origin.
Traveller’s cheques can be changed in banks and exchange offices.
Most museum ticket offices close between 30min and 1hr before the museum’s closing time. Most are closed on Mondays.
Post offices are open on weekdays from 9am to 6pm (the smaller branches close at lunchtime). In large towns, branches are open on Saturday mornings.
30 April – Queen’s Birthday
5 May – Liberation Day
Ascension Day – Moveable feast
25 and 26 December
Shops are open from 9am-6pm (5pm on Saturdays). Some shops are closed on Monday mornings and most are closed on Sundays. In medium and large towns, shops stay open until 9pm on Thursdays or Fridays. In the heart of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, shops are open on Sundays from 1-5pm.
Calling the Netherlands from abroad
00 + 31 (Netherlands country code) + area code without the 0 + number of the person.
Calling home from the Netherlands
00 + country code. For the United Kingdom: 44; for Ireland: 353.
Area codes only have to be dialled if you are calling a different area.