Traveling to the Netherlands will require some time spent on attention to money exchange. Netherlands offers visitors a variety of options when it comes to spending money and paying for goods and services in the country. What is important when looking to change money in Netherlands are the pros and cons of the available options.
As a founding member of the European Union, the Netherlands was among the first countries to move to the Euro. The country adopted the Euro as its currency on 1 January 1999. The currency symbol for the Euro is €. To make sure of the most up-to-date conversion rates against other world currencies, make use of The European Central Bank website.
One Euro is made up of 100 cents. Cents are minted in eight different coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents but the 1 and 2 Euro are also in the form of coins. Euro banknotes are available in seven denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 Euros.
Leave home for the Netherlands with no more than €200 in hand to cater to fund any possible emergencies when you first arrive in the Netherlands and afford you a certain peace of mind. This sum can be purchased from the bank in your home country or an exchange bureau and should be in smaller denominations such as twenties. The Netherlands is a forerunner in becoming a cashless society so there really is no urgency for travelers to have local currency in cash on arrival nowadays.
There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency travelers may bring into the Netherlands, as is the case with the eurozone as a whole. Carrying more than €10,000 in cash either into or out of the country, however, will necessitate declaring the money. The same requirements apply to gold or gold coins which will likewise have to be declared if brought into the eurozone or when carried out of the EU.
Currency Exchange Before Leaving Home
When the question is how to change money, Netherlands will offer some options, but you should also look at making provisions before leaving home.
To be certain about peace of mind when abroad, contact your bank and credit card company while in your home country to check on:
- foreign transaction fees that may apply
- fees for ATM withdrawal
- daily limits
- the dynamic currency conversion fee
- the Global ATM Alliance and whether your home bank is a member as cash withdrawals will then carry no fee.
Answering all of these questions before leaving home will ensure that you do not return home from the Netherlands to find you have been subjected to an unacceptable amount of money to exorbitant bank charges and fees. Standard cash withdrawals and ATM transactions have also been known to surprise travelers with unexpected fees debited while tripping in a strange country.
Provide your credit card company and bank before you leave for the Netherlands with the following details about your trip:
- Specify the exact dates of travel and the countries you will be traveling to in which you will be using your bank cards.
Why? So that any legitimate spending and bank card transactions over those dates are authorized by your bank and credit card company and are not regarded by your institution as suspicious. Specifying the countries in which you want your bank cards to be authorized for use will see you avoid the inconvenience of experiencing a blocked debit or credit card while abroad.
- How to contact your bank while you are in the Netherlands should you face a crisis or be in need of assistance.
Why? So that you have the best and fastest access to help should you need it.
- Whether your bank card is good to use while in the Netherlands.
Why? Your particular bank card has to be accepted in the Netherlands or you may be embarrassed and inconvenienced when transactions are declined at the pay point or ATM. Maestro is the best option in this country. Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are often not widely accepted here.
Do not travel out of your home country with only one bank card to use while you are in the Netherlands. Be sure to have a backup credit card or debit card or both with you when you fly out. Have a backup bank card safely stowed or secreted in a suitcase, at your hotel in the room safe, or in the safe box at the hotel reception. Backups are not intended to be kept on your person while touring the Netherlands but should be safely available in the case of an emergency.
How to exchange foreign money in the Netherlands?
Banks no longer change money in Netherlands since most branches steer away from handling cash unless it is for restocking their ATMs or cash machines.
When looking at how to change money, Netherlands has a fixed daily exchange rate or wisselkoers. The current wisselkoers is displayed wherever one can change money in Netherlands. This rate is the same regardless of which company you use. There is however a difference between companies as far as the charge for exchanging money is concerned. Stay away from exchanging currency at airports and hotels if you want to save on fees and get the best exchange rate. Vendors and establishments such as bars and coffee shops are also notorious for charging exorbitant fees.
Money exchange services are a common money exchange option but there are things you should know before considering using these. Exchanging money at the airport is expensive which is why it is a good idea to have Euros on you when you leave home to cover any goodies you might need on arrival and to pay for a taxi if you need to. Money exchange services are to be found not only at Schipol Airport but in all the major cities throughout the Netherlands.
You would do well to know about the mid-market or interbank rate exchange to get the best rates available. This is the true exchange rate, essentially the mid-point between the rates at which the banks are buying and selling the particular currency at that moment. The interbank or mid-market exchange rate is used by banks for trading between themselves. Having an online currency converter on your mobile phone or laptop is very handy to always be up to date on the fluctuating value of the currency in which you are dealing.
Pott Change is the best bet for currency exchange services if that is the route you are going to take to change money in Netherlands. Pott Change consistently offers the best exchange rates and is not a widespread chain, found rather in just one location in Amsterdam. The conveniently located office is at Damrak 95 which is a few steps away from Dam Square and very close to Amsterdam Central Station.
On the opposite end of the suggestion spectrum for currency exchange services is GWK Travelex. They are conveniently situated and widely accessible all over the Netherlands but offer infamously unfavorable rates. As mentioned before, airports are among the worst places for money exchange. Netherlands Schiphol Airport is a point of fact as are the GWK Travelex locations at Eindhoven Airport and Rotterdam Airport. They also have offices at almost all the major railway stations countrywide. Try not to have to resort to using the expensive options if you can help it.
The ATM or geldautomaten remains the best option for money exchange. Netherlands has plenty of ATMs that are easily accessible and offer excellent exchange rates, located on the street, at post offices, supermarkets, train stations, and hotels. ATMs accept all chip and PIN technology cards and offer an English-language menu and. Banks and ATMs are widely available and are compatible with nearly all US cards.
When converting currency at an ATM, the cardholder’s bank sets the conversion rate which means that certain fees may or may not apply. U.S. banks may or may not charge conversion fees of up to 3% for international withdrawals. This is why it is recommended that you check on the applicable fees charged with your bank before leaving home soil. Dutch banks tend towards not levying ATM fees, but U.S. banks are known to often apply extra deductions for international withdrawals as well as charges for transactions outside of their network. Some Dutch geldautomaten or ATMs do not accept international bank cards and will reject the card when it is presented.
Always choose an ATM inside a bank, if possible, since these are not as likely to have card-skimming devices lurking unseen and unsuspected.
Travel card, Credit card, Debit card
Of course, you need not change money in Netherlands if you do not want to since credit cards are widely accepted.
Almost all the banks in the country accept chip and PIN technology and contactless touch-and-go cards can be used at the ATMs. Some smaller shops and hotels may apply a 2% charge for credit card transactions. It is commonplace, in fact, for shops, restaurants, and cafes in Amsterdam to refuse cash. You can draw cash advances on your credit card if you are willing to pay the high fees and interest rates that are applied.
Public transportation in Amsterdam is completely cashless, accepting only debit or credit cards for ticket purchases with cash prohibited for bus and tram ticket purchases.
Travel rewards credit cards provide travel insurance and discounts, are provider-dependent, and usually carry an annual fee charge.
Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards, with American Express credit cards third in line ahead of Discover cards.
Pros of Credit Cards
- Accepted worldwide
- Protected by PIN and chip
- Access to funds up to your credit limit
- No transaction fees or currency conversion fees
- Perks such as rewards points and frequent flyer programs
- Emergency card replacement
Cons of Credit Cards
- Withdrawal and cash advance fees are very high
- Not all credit cards are accepted in the Netherlands
- Increased spending limit
Provided you have contacted your bank ahead of traveling to put a travel notice on your account, travel-friendly debit cards are good to go in the Netherlands. They are accepted for cash withdrawals at all ATMs. If your bank waives the fee for international ATM withdrawals, you will benefit all the more.
Pros of Debit Card
- Protected by PIN and chip
- Ideal for budgeting while traveling
Cons of Debit Card
- Currency conversion and international ATM fees
- No emergency cash
- No backup cards
Prepaid Travel Money Cards
Travel cards take the worry about conversion rates out of the equation for every spend since the rate is locked in when you deposit dollars. But fees are charged whenever you load the card and for every ATM withdrawal.
Pros of Travel Card
- Accepted worldwide
- Protected by PIN and chip
- Secured exchange rate in foreign currencies
- Emergency card replacement and backup cards
- Ideal for budgeting while traveling
Cons of Travel Card
- Local ATM fee
- Reloading time
- No fee if spending in a currency loaded onto the card
- Cash pickup services in the Netherlands
Cash is of course always an option in the Netherlands. The 500-euro note is not widely welcomed at many establishments. Not too many small shops or supermarkets will take 100- and 200-euro notes either, or 1- and 2-cent coins. Payments in cash will always be rounded off to the nearest 5 cents while payments using a bank card will be for the exact amount due.
The danger of carrying large amounts of cash is falling prey to thieves, pickpockets, or bag snatchers. Tourist hotspots are a prime hunting ground for these ne’er-do-wells, no matter where you find yourself in the world. Be extra vigilant with your cash, wallet, purse, and belongings in the De Wallen District, Amsterdam’s red-light district, busy markets, cafés, and restaurants, within Central station, and while riding on public transport.
As you can see, while many ways present to change money in Netherlands, not all are created equal. Interesting information is available for travelers considering visiting the Netherlands. Find out whether you need an ETIAS or Schengen Visa to travel to the Netherlands. If you are required to ask for an ETIAS visa in order to enter the Netherlands, please keep in mind all the ETIAS requirements, and fill in the online ETIAS application form in order to receive your visa.