The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a densely populated, multicultural country in Western Europe, full of friendly people who mostly like to be as normal as possible.

  • All around the world the name 'Holland' is much better known than 'The Netherlands'
  • The language in the Netherlands is Dutch and the western part of the Netherlands is called Holland
  • Water and the Netherlands are inextricably bound together. Without the dunes, dykes and High-Tec flood barriers, two-thirds of the Netherlands would frequently be flooded.
  • To keep Dutch heads above water in the Low Countries, consultation and teamwork are essential. This consultative approach to reaching a consensus became a general lifestyle in the Netherlands: 'the polder-model'
  • The Dutch are seen as informal and approach­able, as accessible as their flat homeland; one of the characteristics of Dutch society is its strongly egalitarian and liberal character
  • The Netherlands is a paradise for those who love historic cities (17th & 18th century), flow­ers and windmills
  • The Netherlands is famous for its painters Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals Van Gogh and many more
  • The Netherlands is famous for its drainage systems, land reclamation, water barriers, bridge building and water management
  • The Netherlands is also a trendsetter in modern architecture and in well-known Dutch design

Banks and Currency Exchange
In the Netherlands the currency is the Euro (€). Foreign currencies can be exchanged at the Airport as well as at the private exchange offices throughout the city. Local banks, where Traveller's cheques can be cashed, serve between 9:00 and 17:00 hrs. All major credit cards (such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express) are accepted in most of the restaurants, shops etc.

The voltage in the Netherlands is 230 volts (50 Hz AC). The selected hotels have a 230-volt outlet for shavers, but travellers are advised to bring a power converter and an adapter for two-prong, round plugs with side grounding contacts.

The currency is the euro, which is abbreviated as € and EUR. Larger shops and businesses generally accept all major credit cards.

Telephone System
To call a number in the Netherlands from abroad, dial your international dialling code, followed by 31 [country code for the Netherlands], then the area code [omit the first zero] and the local number. Some important area codes: Rotterdam [0]10, The Hague and Scheveningen [0]70, Amsterdam [0]20, Utrecht [0]30. 

The Netherlands is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time in the summer. This is the same time as in Western Europe and parts of Central Continental Europe.

Value-added tax and service charges are included in hotel, restaurant, shopping bills and taxi fares. Tips for extra service are always appreciated but not necessary. It is customary to give taxi drivers and waiters a tip of about 10 per cent. A lavatory attendant is usually tipped € 0.10 or € 0.20.

Visa Requirements
All participants must have a valid passport in order to enter the Netherlands. Citizens of some countries may need to obtain a visa before arrival. For further information please contact the nearest Dutch Embassy or Consulate to check visa regulations.