Resources

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/the-netherlands) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Netherlands Tourism Board (www.holland.com) Attractions, cultural events and practical info.

Dutch News (www.dutchnews.nl) Daily news from the Netherlands in English.

Holland Cycling Routes (www.hollandcyclingroutes.com) Comprehensive cycling information, including maps, route descriptions, rental and repair outlets.

Dutch Review (https://dutchreview.com) Well-written webzine covering Dutch culture, news, food, drink, travel et al.

Expatica (www.expatica.com/nl) Entertaining guide to life in the Netherlands, with daily news and listings.

Top Tips

  • Buy an OV-chipkaart upon arrival (the 'anonymous' rather than 'personalised' version costing €7.50) to ensure the cheapest train fares and easy travelling on public transport. Load the smart-card with credit, and always swipe it at card readers at the start and end of your journey.
  • In towns and cities, be careful not to step into or walk in cycling lanes and watch out for speeding cyclists.
  • If you can't beat them, join them: it is easy to rent a bike all over the Netherlands and the joy of pedalling the open road along silky-smooth, well-signposted cycling lanes is second-to-none. No one appears to wear a helmet; bring your own.
  • In rural parts of the country, many restaurants don't accept credit cards, only Dutch debit cards. To avoid embarrassment, always carry a small amount of cash too.

What to Take

  • Good comfortable shoes – Dutch towns and the countryside are best appreciated on foot or by bike
  • Umbrella and light rainproof jacket
  • Two-pin travel plug (electrical adapter)
  • A small day pack (the smaller the better to avoid having to check it in when visiting museums)

What to Wear

Locals dress stylishly, but practically – remember, locals (and quite possibly you) cycle everywhere so there's really no point packing your favourite stiletto shoes or bum-hugging mini skirt. The Dutch tend to wear jeans or casual trousers and boots or sneakers for an evening out.

Pack layers of clothing: the Dutch weather is notoriously fickle and there can be chilly spells even in summer. In spring, summer and autumn, a light trench coat or jacket and a small travel umbrella will mean you’re prepared for the weather, but will still blend in with the crowd. In winter, bring a proper heavy coat, woolly hat, scarf and gloves to ward off the often-freezing temperatures (and you'll still want that umbrella).

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Check passport validity and visa requirements.
  • Arrange travel insurance.
  • Check airline baggage restrictions.
  • Book accommodation; reserve big-name restaurants.
  • Check with your mobile phone provider about roaming charges (abolished within the EU itself) or getting an international plan.
  • Download Netherlands-related travel apps, books and music.