In many cases, the utilities (gas, water and electricity) will already be connected and you just have to have them transferred to your name. If you are paying an inclusive rent, check your contact carefully for what is covered.
There are two elements to water payments: a consumption charge based on actual water usage (which is estimated if you don't have a meter) and a municipal tax for services (sewage, pollution etc.). To see which water company covers your area, visit www.vewin.nl and fill in the box Uw drinkwaterbedrijf with your postcode, or ask at your local gemeente (town hall).
Amsterdam - Waternet: 0900 9394
Den Haag/Leiden - Duinwaterbedrijf Zuid-Holland: 079 347 1515
Rotterdam - Evides: 0900 0787
Utrecht - Vitens: 0900 0650 or PWN Waterleidingbedrijf Noord-Holland: 0900 405 07 00
Electricity and gas
The energy market is liberalised so you are able to choose (or change) suppliers. Most have ‘green’ options, where energy is bought from alternative sources such as wind, water and biomass. Regulatory authorities ensure fair practices and tariffs. On the website of the Office of Energy Regulation (www.dte.nl) there's a complete list of gas and electricity suppliers (Energiebedrijven >wie is wie > vergunninghouders).
Dong Energy (www.dongenergy.nl)
Nuon (www.nuon.nl) (main supplier for Amsterdam)
You can compare energy prices using Compare Energy Prices (English language section): www.energievergelijken.nl/en/
There is huge range of options from many suppliers with combination deals of telephone (bellen), Internet (surfen) and TV. You then just pay a monthly fee.
KPN is still the main supplier for landlines. The easiest way to get connected is often to visit a KPN Primafoon shop with appropriate identification and they can set it up. There are many additional services such as voicemail, call waiting, discounts for favourite numbers etc. and deals in combination with Internet and TV. For really cheap international calls though, you can have calls charged via a cheaper provider. For instance, you rent the line from KPN but the calls go through Tele2, for example, or register with bell1649 (www.bel1649.nl) or use an international calling card which you can buy from independent call shops. In all these cases, you key in a combination of codes before dialling overseas. Internet telephony (such as Skype) is becoming more common. To use a public phone you'll need to buy a phone card from a supermarket or newsagent.
the main suppliers. Shop around or compare the latest rates on www.bellen.com (in Dutch). You'll need proof of address and income and a bank account to sign a deal. A prepaid phone is more expensive but you can top it up with cards from supermarkets. If your phone is unlocked, you can buy a Dutch SIM. Every phone has a unique IMEI serial number (enter *#06# to find out yours). You'll need this when reporting a stolen phone.
0800 numbers are toll free; 0900 numbers are charged (per call or minute).
All kinds of dial-up, ISDN, ADSL and cable options are available which can be combined with telephone and TV deals. Depending on the current TV channel deals, you might go for a TV option from one supplier and telephone/Internet from another. You can compare deals at www.internetten.nl. It will take about three weeks to set up and you need a cable connection. There are Internet cafes dotted about and many more with WiFi. If you are in Amsterdam, you can go to the central library (www.oba.nl) which offers free Internet and fabulous views.
Cable TV is cheap and widespread. The main provider is UPC and included in the standard package are BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC World and CNN alongside Dutch channels which include the government-owned Nederland 1, 2 and 3 and RTL 4, 5, 7. You’ll also receive Veronica, Net 5 (quality films and drama including popular US serials), National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. Local TV channels are another option. For Amsterdam it is AT5. Subtitling, rather than dubbing, is used except for children's TV. For more films, sport, or other interests, you can select different options for an extra payment. Check out www.digitelevisie.nl for coverage in your area (by postcode) or compare prices at www.vergelijkdigitv.nl or at any of the suppliers. You get a media box and then pay for your chosen option. Satellite TV is also possible but you will need to be able to fix a dish facing in the right (southern) direction and (of course) there are regulations.
(next page: Radio, Suppliers,useful websites)
You generally pay every quarter.
Scarlet : www.scarlet.nl
Post offices are marked with an orange sign that says postkantoor or PostNL. Formerly TNT, the company changed its name to PostNL in 2011. In some villages and neighbourhoods there are small post offices inside shops, newsagents or tobacconists (postagentschap).
Stamps can be bought in all of the above places and in some of the larger supermarkets. Post-boxes are red and are scattered throughout shopping areas and neighbourhoods. On the post-box there are two slots: the left is for delivery within the city limits (streekpost), the right (overige bestemmingen) is for post delivered outside the city.
Note: for mail outside of the Netherlands you have a choice of Priority or Standard Post. Rates for Priority service are slightly higher, as it is a quicker service. There is also a guaranteed next day delivery inside the Netherlands called Garantiepost.
PostNL (formerly TNT) (National)
0900 0990 (10 ct/pm)
www.postnl.nl (English language section)
Government info: www.government.nl
News, information, What's on (See Expatica Community): Expatica.com
Royal family: www.koninklijkhuis.nl
Social networking: www.hyves.nl
Website links – by category: www.startpagina.nl
Yellow pages (English section): www.goudengids.nl
Telephone directory: www.detelefoongids.nl
Tip: If the surname you are looking for begins with a de, van, van der, etc. you must look under the name that follows. IJ is read as a "y" and therefore is listed at the end of the alphabet.
Setting up home
HEMA (www.hema.nl) is a Dutch Institution for all matters household. Blokker is cheap (www.blokker.nl) and lKEA (www.ikea.nl) is opening more branches in the Netherlands.
A guide to telephone, internet and television along with utility services water, electricity and gas in the Netherlands.
Lost in the Dutch immigration system? Look no further than this guide compiled for our Survival Guide 2012.
Expatica offers a whistle-stop tour of life in the modern Netherlands.
The challenges and benefits of the maternity system in the Netherlands and how it differs to other countries.