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Getting connected in the Netherlands

1st January 2014, Comments9 comments

Getting connected in the Netherlands
A guide to connecting telephone, internet and television along with utility services water, electricity and gas in the Netherlands.


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. To connect all your utilities in one go, www.aansluitingen.nl can be useful.


There are two elements of 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.

  • Amsterdam – Waternet: 0900 9394
  • Den Haag/Leiden –  Dunea: 088 347 4747 
  • Rotterdam – Evides: 0900 0787
  • Utrecht – Vitens: 0900 0650 
  • PWN Waterleidingbedrijf Noord-Holland: 0900 405 0700

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. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (www.acm.nl) provides a complete list of gas and electricity suppliers on their website (Vergunninghouders elektriciteit).

Main suppliers:


You can compare energy prices via www.energievergelijken.nl/en (English language section) or www.consuwijzer.nl/energiewijzer (Dutch – also has extensive information on the sector).


There is a huge range of options from many suppliers with combination deals for telephone (bellen), Internet and TV, charged under a single monthly fee.


KPN is the main supplier for landlines. The easiest way to get connected is often to visit a KPN winkel (shop) with appropriate identification and they can set it up. 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

The cheapest deal for a mobile will be via a contract (abonnementen) with one of the main suppliers.

Shop around or compare the latest rates on www.bellen.com (in Dutch). You’ll need proof of identity, address, 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).


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. 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 a few 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 17,50) and splendid views.


Cable TV is cheap and accessed by more than 90 percent of the population. Main providers include Ziggo and 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, 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:


Post offices

PostNLPost offices are marked with an orange sign that says postkantoor or PostNL and generally located inside shops, newsagents or tobacconists (postagentschap). Formerly TNT, the company changed its name in 2011.

Stamps (postzegels) can be bought in all of the above places and in some of the larger supermarkets, or printed online throughwww.postnl.nl. Post-boxes are orange and are scattered throughout shopping areas and neighbourhoods. On the post-box there are two slots: the right (streekpost) is for ‘local’ delivery and you’ll see a list of postcodes that indicate the areas included; the left (overige bestemmingen) is for everywhere else, including international destinations.

Priority service is used all for mail outside of the Netherlands; for faster delivery, Spoedservice offers next day delivery to certain international destinations, and guaranteed within the Netherlands by 10.00am the next day.

PostNL (formerly TNT) (National)
0900 0990 (10 ct/pm)
www.postnl.nl (English language section – also offers online postal services)

Useful websites

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 household matters. Blokker is cheap (www.blokker.nl) and lKEA (www.ikea.nl) has many branches across the country.



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9 comments on this article Add a comment

  • 20th July 2012, 04:49:23 n8 posted:
    Another website for comparing multiple internet providers is: www.adslwinkel.nl
  • 26th November 2013, 15:08:06 jane posted:
    Try to avoid entering into any contract with dutch companies.
    I had both my phone, electricity and my tv contract cancelled, but I am now back for almost 8months and they simply refuse to deal with the cancellation. Especially KPN (phone company) is notorious for 'misplacing' your letter of termination. As it stands, I am required to go to their stores, provide ID and then terminate all over again, without guarantee that it will be done this time round (they won't provide proof).
  • 19th December 2013, 11:05:59 Marnix posted:
    Most of the above websites are not responsive, http://www.internetvergelijk.nl is a great responsive website to compare broadband providers in the Netherlands. Just my 2 cents.
  • 6th January 2014, 16:47:19 AaronH posted:
    Tele2 wants to keep charging me for a month after the date I cancel. None of the other utilities did this here in NL, neither has this happened in any of the countries I've lived in.
    How can I get out of this?
  • 9th January 2014, 14:36:43 Kati posted:
    The Dutch have a very safe society.
    That is, if you don't include the Dutch companies that rob you, by pretending never having received your cancellation letter, even if you both faxed it and sent it by registered letter. If you check the kassa website for consumers you will read that almost not a single Dutch company is able to treat you in an honest way and actually let you cancel a contract when you have proof of the fedex slip. They probably gamble that you can't afford to take them to court and keep stalling you.
  • 11th February 2014, 10:09:55 donald posted:
    Very different rates. I have used http://www.goedkoopste-internet.com/ to compare Internet providers. Gives you a lot of options. Even if you want to switch they will arrange it for you.
  • 15th March 2014, 13:13:17 Dave posted:
    This new website is specialy for expats www.utility-provider.nl in the Netherland and Belgium www.utility-provider.be next to that the are ARPN member looking after the relocation agencies in Holland. energy companies netherland.
  • 26th May 2014, 08:00:05 davidson posted:
    I use Smartgroshen app, simple, good quality of voice and sync with your phone contacts. Get 0.5 euro at start.
  • 2nd September 2014, 20:01:27 GlennYoung posted:
    Smartgroschen is the best app to make cheap call to Netherlands. They have a small top-up starts from 0.89 Euro, so just enough to use from time to time.

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