Dutch communications: Connecting TV, internet, telephone and mobile
A guide on how to connect to telephone, internet, television and mobile services in the Netherlands, plus a list of the main communication providers.
If you're renting a property in the Netherlands, your lease agreement should indicate if any additional charges, such as any communication services, are included in your monthly payments. In such cases, you can ask your landlord to issue you with an account (eindafrekening) showing real costs at least once a year.
If you have bought a Dutch property or communications are not included in your rental agreement, you might be able to get communication services transferred to your name from the previous tenant, or get Dutch communications connected using the main providers for your area. These days, many communications providers offer discounted packages that include television, telephone, and internet, and occasionally mobile.
Communications in the Netherlands
There is a huge range of options from many suppliers with combination deals for telephone (bellen), internet (surfen) and TV, charged under a single monthly fee.
Connecting a telephone in the Netherlands
KPN is the main supplier for landlines, while Ziggo, Stipte and Vodafone offer phone connection via cable networks. Often the easiest way to connect a landline is to visit a KPN winkel (shop) with appropriate identification and they can set it up, while some cable networks allow you to sign up online. There are many additional services such as discounts for favourite numbers, or combination deals with internet and TV.
For low cost international calls, you can have calls charged via a cheaper provider. For instance, you can rent a line from KPN but direct long-distance calls through Tele2 or OneTel, 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 a cheaper option. To use a public phone, you’ll need to buy a phone card from a supermarket or newsagent.
Mobile telephones in the Netherlands
The cheapest deal for a mobile is via a contract (abonnementen) with one of the main suppliers.
You can compare the latest rates on Expatica's mobile comparison tool. You’ll need proof of identity, address, income and a bank account to sign a deal. A prepaid phone is more expensive but easier to get; 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. You can call 0800 numbers toll free; 0900 numbers are charged (per call or minute).
Connecting internet in the Netherlands
Connectivity in the Netherlands is among the highest and fastest in Europe. All kinds of dial-up, ISDN, ADSL, and cable options are available, and can be combined with telephone and TV deals. Fiber cable (glasvezel) is available, but you may need to get your building connected; carriers generally install it free.
You can compare prices and packages at www.internetten.nl. It is possible to opt for a TV option from one supplier and telephone/internet from another. It can take up to a couple of weeks to set up, and you need a cable connection.
There are internet cafes dotted about and many more with WiFi. Dutch libraries also provide internet for a small fee; if you are in Amsterdam, the central library (www.oba.nl) offers free internet for members (yearly fee EUR 20) and splendid views.
Connecting television in the Netherlands
Cable TV is cheap and accessed by more than 90 percent of the population. Main providers include Ziggo, Online and Vodafone, 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, and 8. You’ll also receive Veronica and Net 5 (quality films and drama including popular US serials), plus National Geographic, the Discovery Channel and popular children’s channels. 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 extra payment.
Check out www.digitelevisie.nl for coverage in your area (by postcode) or compare combination packages at www.internetbestellen.nl or at any of the suppliers. You get a media box and then pay for your chosen option.
CanalDigitaal is a provider of satellite TV but you will need to be able to fix a dish facing east and check there are no restrictions on satellite placement with your gemeente.
Main internet, phone, TV suppliers in the Netherlands:
- Ziggo: www.ziggo.nl
- Hollands nieuwe: www.hollandsnieuwe.nl
- Vodafone: www.vodafone.nl
- Tele2: www.tele2.nl
- Ben: www.ben.nl
- T-mobile: www.t-mobile.nl
- Stipte: www.stipte.nl (formally Scarlet)
- Fiber: www.fiber.nl
- KPN: www.kpn.com
- Online www.online.nl
- Telfort: www.telfort.nl
- CanalDigitaal: www.canaldigitaal.nl
- Xs4all: www.xs4all.nl
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