When living in the Netherlands getting around from A to B is not the same as you may be used to back home. Getting around from your home in Holland to work, sightseeing or other activities can be done in many different ways. No matter how you get around, beware of cyclists in the big cities. These will be fast and not always follow the set traffic rules. For example, they will not always stop for a red light, so beware to always beware of your surroundings when crossing the street or walking around.
Use public transportation
Do not be fooled, it’s called public transport but public transport in Holland is the most expensive public transport in Europe. Even though the high price, public transport in the Netherlands can sometimes come out quite handy. The prices are the same for everyone and you can buy your tickets online or at the station. There are multiple public transport options such as the train, metro, tram, bus and sometimes even a ferry. To get around you can get a public transport card, a personal one or separate tickets each time you travel. If you need to travel for work you can also ask your employer for a business card for public transport. The public transport card is called an OV-chipkaart in Dutch.
To not get lost in the options or the fasted way to travel by public transport you have multiple tools. One of the tools is the 9292 app, this is an app created especially for public transport planning in The Netherlands. The NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen), who arrange the railway transports in most of the country, created the NS- app that provides you with a traveling plan for mainly railway transport. These apps can come in handy because busses and trains are not always departing or arriving as planned. These apps can help you to know where and when you will arrive or depart with which transportation. Do not forget to check-in with the correct transporting company you’re traveling with, but also do not forget to check out again when ending your travels or changing transportation company. Trains can be organised by NS, Arriva and Breng. The Metro in Rotterdam is arranged by RET, in Amsterdam by GVB, in Den Haag and about by HTM and in Utrecht U-ov.
Get around on a bicycle
Dutch people cycle to work every day. In fact: the Dutch transport themselves for 25% of the time by bicycle. They do not wear sporting gear when cycling to work! They cycle around in their normal clothes and do not wear helmets. In the Netherlands there are special cycling-pats made for the safety of the cyclists, often these are colored red. When living in the big cities a car is not always the easiest way to travel. This is because in the Netherlands a lot of facilities are close together and sometimes a bike is quicker and easier to park at your destination. When you have a busy life and do not have much time to go to the gym, cycling is also a benefit when it comes to physical exercise; get some ‘fresh’ air and get around the real Dutch way.
Getting around on a bicycle can be challenging in the Netherlands. You need to be really aware of your surroundings. Some must-haves on your bike are a bell, a yellow/white light on the front and a red light on the back of your bike. The bell is to get around and warn people that you’re catching-up on them when the path is narrow. Most of the time when you will hear a bicycle-bell it means someone is in the way. This can be you so be sure you hold on to the right side of the road. It may be scary when you’re not used to ride a bike in Holland but for the Dutch it is like second nature. They are so used to ride a bike, some can do it without holding the handlebar, caring some luggage under their arms, holding a dog’s leash, texting or making a phone call. The last, texting and making a phone call, when riding a bike are forbidden as of this July.
Take an Uber or a taxi
The app Uber is also available in the Netherlands. You can use it mostly in the bigger cities, but the available Uber-drivers are growing in more and more cities in the Netherlands. A lot of taxi drivers use Uber services to get more rides.
Taxies are not always open about prices, so be sure to discuss the price of the ride on forehand. Good to know is that for a passenger car for four people a maximum starting rate is €3,19 and the max. km rate is €2,35. If they charge by the minute there is a max. rate of €0,39 per minute. These rules are created by the government to protect the consumer.
Get a car
Not only is it possible to rent a car, buy one, private lease and lease a car from your employer, it is also possible to use a shared car.
There are a lot of companies that rent cars such as; Europcar, Sixt, Budget and many others. To buy a car you can go to car dealers close to your home in the Netherlands. To make sure you do not get any surprises afterward when it comes to your car, check for the Bovag quality mark. If the dealer has the Bovag quality mark it means that you have a quality guaranty of six months after you bought the car, based on normal use of the car.
Another possibility is to lease a car. This can be done privately or by your employer if the company provides this for its employees. More and more companies provide lease cars for individuals and not only for companies.
Last but not least is the option to use a car that u share with others. Companies that provide this service are GreenWheels and SanpCar. If you want a car, check out these services to easily book a car online. This way you save time at the car dealer. Or when you have a car, you can share your car with Deelauto and MyWheels. This last option gives you the chance to make money with your car when you don’t use it yourself.
But beware to keep in mind that when you want to drive a Dutch car you driving license has to be Dutch as well. If you have an EU driving license you can easily turn your current driving license to a Dutch one. If not you have to take a Dutch driving exam to get a Dutch driving license.
Now you know how to travel around in Holland! For when you are not traveling we also made 7 Checks to feel at home in your new residence, check it out!
Do you need help arranging all utility connections in your new home to make it even less stressful? Give us a call on +31 20 7372124 or leave your details and we will call you back as soon as possible.