The Netherlands’ status as a relatively affluent country in the European Union guarantees a certain level of accessibility for people with disabilities, particularly when it comes to public buildings, spaces and transport. However, as in much of Europe, older buildings may not be wheelchair-accessible and cobblestoned streets may be an issue for the mobility- or vision-impaired.
- Most offices and larger museums have lifts and/or ramps, and toilets for people with a disability.
- Many budget and midrange hotels have limited accessibility, as they are in old buildings with steep stairs and no elevators.
- Cobblestone streets are rough for wheelchairs.
- Restaurants tend to be on ground floors, though ‘ground’ sometimes includes a few steps.
- Bathrooms in restaurants may not be wheelchair-accessible or fitted with rails.
- Train and other public-transport stations sometimes have lifts.
- Most train stations and public buildings have toilets for people with a disability.
- Trains usually have wheelchair access.
- The Dutch national organisation for people with a disability is ANGO (www.ango.nl).
Accessible Travel Netherlands (www.accessibletravelnl.com) Hotel bookings, transport, accessible tours, activities and tailored itineraries; rents mobility equipment too.
Ongehinderd (www.ongehinderd.nl) Detailed access reviews of thousands of points of interest across the country, organised city by city. Smartphone app too; Dutch only.
Museum4All (www.museum4all.eu) City-by-city listings of museums indicating their suitability for the vision-impaired and wheelchair users.
Lonely Planet (http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel) Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guides.
For information about using the national railway network, including requesting assistance, visit www.ns.nl/en/travel-information/traveling-with-a-functional-disability. Most buses and newer trams are wheelchair-accessible; not all tram stops have level entry with the trams. The wheelchair-accessible entrance is in the centre of the tram; if a platform doesn’t align with the entrance, the conductor will put a ramp out for you – but be sure that they notice you before the tram pulls away.
When using the route planner for public transport in Amsterdam (http://maps.gvb.nl/en/lijnen), select a line and wheelchair-accessible stops are indicated by closed circles. On the public transport website www.connexxion.nl, wheelchair-accessible stops are indicated by a solid diamond.