Practical Matters

For some practical matters related to moving to the Netherlands (the Dutch payment-system, holidays, phone plans & how/where to get your furniture), check out the following topics:

Ideal Payment System

In almost every shop and supermarket you have the opportunity to pay with your bank card. The easiest way to pay is with a Dutch bank account. Of course you can also pay with cash at most shops, but it is not so common. Contactless payments are also extremely efficient and practical.

In the Netherlands, iDeal is a well-known payment system. Through this system it is possible to complete your payments safely and quickly with any Dutch bank.

iDeal is not an app, it’s an online system! You don’t have to download anything to get access. If you apply for a Dutch bank account, there will never be any problems with iDeal payments. When transferring money from your mobile banking app to another bank account, iDeal takes care of the online transfer. You will also immediately get a notification if the transfer successfully is completed. Other advantages are not having to enter account numbers and other data, it’s very easy to transfer money via your smartphone or tablet and last but not least, no extra costs are charged.

Another great app to download is Tikkie. With this app, you can send payment requests to everyone who uses iDeal. So if a friend paid for your dinner and he wants you to pay him back, he will just send you a ‘tikkie’ and within 3 clicks on your phone, the money has been transferred to his bank account through iDeal. Incredibly quick and safe as well.

Last but not least, usually Dutch people give a 10% tip to the waiter in a restaurant. It is possible to pay this in cash or with your bank account.

Phone Contract

You can choose between a contract (Abonnement) or a prepaid card. The prepaid option is easier to get and there are cards available with internet included which will save you roaming costs. You can top it up with cards from the supermarket or online.

A contract will usually work out cheaper if you know that you will use your mobile often and will stay in the country for a year or more. In order to sign a contract you’ll need:

  • proof of identity
  • an address
  • an official bank statement
  • bank account details.

If you have an unlocked phone, it’s also possible to buy only a Dutch sim card.

How to save money on international calls

Making international calls can be really expensive. One of the cheapest ways to keep in touch with your family and friends is to use an international prepaid calling card.

Prepaid international calling cards offer you a wide range of advantages on international calls:

  • They usually offer the lowest rates available – you can save up to 90% of the cost of a normal call.
  • You can use them from every phone (work, home, mobile and public phones)
  • If you use a toll-free number, you can call from work or a friend’s phone without them being charged for the call.
  • It’s easy to control your spending and avoid the ‘bad surprise’ of an astronomical monthly phone bill. Card providers offer such cheap calls because they buy high quantities of international minutes at large discounts. Prepaidzero is an international calling card provider.

National Holidays

There are a number of important days off in the Netherlands. In addition to the usual holidays, there are also holidays on which students and employees are given time off.  Hereby a number of holidays:

  • Good Friday. On this day the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is commemorated. In 2022 Good Friday will take place on Friday 15 April. On this day, everyone is free from working.
  • Easter. Easter Day takes place on Sunday 17 and Monday 18 April 2022.
  • King’s Day is perhaps the most Dutch and authentic holiday of the year. It’s the official birthday of the King. On Wensday 27 April 2022 all Dutch people will take to the streets, dressed in orange. There will be big parties throughout the country. A tradition during King’s Day is to sell things in the streets. In addition, many children try to earn a buck by playing their musical instrument on the street. A nice place to visit during King’s Day is the Vondelpark. The whole park is full of children, nice stands with stuff, music and fun. For many, this is the day of the year! The night before King’s Day is also famous because many people go out partying and drinking on the streets.
  • Remembrance Day always takes place on the 4th of May.
  • On May 5, the Netherlands commemorates the liberation of the country during the Second World War. Throughout the country and also in Amsterdam many events are organized, like parties. In addition, many festivals take place on this day!

The most important holidays in a row:

  • New Year’s Day: Wednesday 1 January 2022
  • Good Friday: Friday 15 April 2022
  • Easter (first and second Easter day): Sunday 17 and Monday 18 April 2022. Free day for everyone
  • King’s Day: Sunday 27 April 2022
  • Liberation Day (many parties and festivals): Thursday 5 May 2022
  • Ascension Day: Thursday 26 May 2022. Free day for everyone.
  • Whitsun (first and second Whit Monday): Sunday 5 June and Monday 6 June 2022. Free days for everyone!
  • Christmas (Christmas Day 1 and 2): Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 December 2022

University of Amsterdam
From 2021 onwards, the UvA will officially hold a second holiday during the year for the first time. The UvA will be closed from 28 April to 4 May 2022. In September 2019, this decision was made to offer students and lecturers more peace and quiet in the second semester.
For more information about when the UvA is closed due to holidays, check out the academic calendar.

Furniture and Stuff-for-your-room Stores

Second hand:

Here is a website with an overview of all the second hand stores in Amsterdam.

The IJhallen is a flea market where you can basically get anything. It is held twice a month during the weekend. More details can be found on their website.

Another way to get second hand stuff is via your network. We designed a platform for you to ask these kinds of questions. Click here to go to the platform.

New stuff

IKEA has everything! Loads of students buy their homeware at IKEA. You can also look at second hand or thrift stores. Other practical stores to get homeware are the Action, the Xenos and the Blokker. Action is probably the cheapest store, Xenos has all sorts of tableware, mirrors, chairs, etc. Blokker is a store for household goods, such as a vacuum cleaner, a microwave, etc.