This guide explains how to connect to telephone, internet, television and mobile services in the Netherlands, plus provides a list of the main communication providers.
Whether you’re renting in the Netherlands or buying Dutch property of your own, one of the first things you will want to organise when moving to the Netherlands is a Dutch phone, internet and television connection, along with Dutch utilities.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.
This guide includes:
- Connecting a telephone in the Netherlands
- Mobile telephones in the Netherlands
- Connecting internet in the Netherlands
- Connecting television in the Netherlands
- Main internet, phone, TV suppliers in the Netherlands
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.
KPN, Ziggo, and Tele2 are the& main suppliers offering phone connection via cable networks. Signing up or changing from one supplier to the other can be done online. The vast majority of home phone connections are part of combination deals with internet and TV. Several packages are on offer, from which you choose the one that corresponds best to your needs and activities. An increasing number of mobile phone providers has started to offer these packages as well.
Although the majority of people use other ways to communicate internationally, there are providers for low cost international calls, allowing you to have calls charged via a cheaper provider. For instance, you can have a KPN connection but register with bel1649. Alternatively, you can 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.
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/MEID 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).
For more information, reade our full guide to mobile operators 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 are usually 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.prijsvergelijken.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.
Many cafes have WiFi, which they are happy to provide you the code to if you order a drink or meal. Dutch libraries also provide internet for a small fee; if you are in Amsterdam, the public library offers free internet for members (yearly fee EUR 42) and splendid views.
Cable TV is cheap and accessed by more than 90 percent of the population. Main providers include KPN, Ziggo, and Tele2, who all offer interactive television. The standard package includes BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC World, and CNN alongside Dutch channels, which include the government-owned NPO 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.prijsvergelijken.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.
- KPN: for service in English without additional costs, contact PartnerPete
- Ziggo: for service in English without additional costs, contact PartnerPete
- Vodafone: for service in English without additional costs, contact Partner Pete
- Telfort: for service in English without additional costs, contact PartnerPete