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Travel money guide: the Netherlands

Take your travel money to Amsterdam and spend like a local.

With a reputation for being affluent, educated and ultra-liberal, the Netherlands capital — Amsterdam — is a must-see destination for travelers around the world. Whether you’re biking or walking around the country, you’ll want to take a Mastercard or Visa with you to shop and find the perfect gevulde koek or stroopwafel Dutch treats. The euro is the country currency in the Netherlands, though most people pay with a Maestro Mastercard or V Pay Visa debit card.

Whether you are sticking to the urban metropolis or venturing out to explore the country, take a travel credit card with you since you’ll get reimbursed or waived for normal foreign transaction fees. If you happen upon a street vendor that doesn’t take your card, ATMs are typically close by.

Maestro or V Pay Card

In the Netherlands, nearly everyone pays with a Maestro or V Pay debit card, which are debit cards issued by banks and directly tied to the Dutch’s bank accounts. Locals use these for point-of-sale transactions at retailers as well as public transportation and even vending machines.

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Travel card, credit card or debit cards?

Card payments are the norm, so expect to find many shops, restaurants and cafes that will not accept cash. ATMs are everywhere, and most payments are made with chip and PIN technology or contactless touch-and-go cards.

If you are heading off to the Netherlands, find a card that allows you to shop without paying extra for foreign transaction and ATM fees.

These are your options for spending money in the Netherlands

Using a credit card

Find yourself a credit card like the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card that waives foreign transaction fees (Terms apply, see rates & fees). Carrying a travel rewards credit card gives you the added benefit of travel insurance and discounts, depending on your provider. For added savings, take advantage of the interest-free period by paying your balance in full each month.

Cards that offer travel perks and waive fees often charge an annual fee, so make sure the fee is worth it before you bring it along on your travels. If you’re ever in a jam, credit cards also offer cash advances, though we don’t recommend it. You’ll pay high fees, and interest rates apply the moment you get your money.

  • MUST READ: If you lost your card…
    Call your bank immediately to have it canceled and make arrangements for a replacement. If your passport or other identity documents go missing, contact the US Embassy in the Hague immediately. Theft of identity papers contributes to the global black market of identity theft and human trafficking.
  • Protected by PIN and chip
  • Access to funds up to your credit limit
  • Accepted worldwide
  • No currency conversion or transaction fees
  • Perks including rewards points, 0% purchases and frequent flyer program
  • Emergency card replacement
  • High withdrawal and cash advance fees
  • Higher spending limit (depends on your approved credit limit)

Which credit card issuers are accepted in the Netherlands?

Visa and Mastercard are most widely accepted. American Express credit cards come in third, then Discover cards.

If you want to make an ATM cash withdrawal with your Amex card, look for Euronet, ABN Amro Bank and Rabobank ATMs, among others.

Merchant acceptanceATM acceptance
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
American Express
exclamation point iconMedium
check mark iconHigh
exclamation point iconMedium
cross mark iconNot accepted

Potential credit card fees in the Netherlands

Depending on your credit card, you could incur the following fees:

  • Foreign transaction fees. Some credit cards come with foreign transaction fees of up to 3% of the amount of each purchase. That’s $120 for every $4,000 spent in the Netherlands.
  • Currency conversion fees. Vendors and ATMs may offer you to pay or make a cash withdrawal in US dollars. This is known as a Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC), and it comes with a poor conversion rate and extra fees.

Using a debit card

A travel-friendly debit card allows you to withdraw cash for all ATMs in the Netherlands without carrying a lot on you at once. For example, a Betterment Checking will reimburse you for all foreign transaction fees, though you’ll want to contact Betterment one week ahead of time to put a travel notice on your account. Because you’re spending your own money, you’ll avoid interest charges. Save money by finding a bank that waives the fee for international ATM withdrawals and doesn’t charge a monthly account-keeping fee.

  • Tip: If you misplace your card, you’ll have to wait for a replacement, so it’s smart to have other options when it comes to spending.
  • Protected by PIN and chip
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • Currency conversion and international ATM fees
  • No emergency cash
  • No backup cards

Using a prepaid travel card

Travel cards can lock in conversion rates once you load USD. Use it for purchases without worrying about rates each time you spend — debit and credit cards often charge 3% for each transaction.

Where you save in the conversion rates, you may pay in fees. You’ll pay fees each time you load the card, ATM withdrawals and sometimes even an inactivity fee. And loading your card can take longer than you expect if you make the transaction on the weekend or holiday.

Use this card to manage your money — like a debit card. You’re issued two cards, so if you lose one, you’ll have a backup. This type of card will allow you to effectively manage your money and comes with a backup in case you lose your primary card.

  • Tip: Banks that provide travel cards make money by applying a higher margin to the exchange rate. Get a better rate using a debit card or credit card.
  • Protected by PIN and chip
  • Preload and secure your exchange rate in multiple foreign currencies
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Emergency card replacement and backup cards
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • Local ATM fee
  • Reloading time
  • No fee if spending in a currency loaded onto the card

Paying with cash in the Netherlands

You should be able to use your credit or debit cards anywhere in the Netherlands, but having some cash on hand can help just in case.

  • Greater payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • Higher risk of theft

Using traveler’s checks

  • Secure and can be easily replaced if lost or stolen
  • Photo ID needed to cash checks
  • Costly with initial purchase charges
  • Not all merchants accept traveler’s checks
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Where to exchange money in the Netherlands

You won’t have trouble finding money exchange offices or Geldwisselkantoors in Amsterdam. The business is highly competitive, and most places usually offer fair exchange rates. Be sure to check the daily exchange rates and calculate how much money you’re expected to get so you’re not short-changed.

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Netherlands currency

Italian 5-eurosItalian 10-eurosItalian 20-euros
Italian 50-eurosItalian 100-euros

The main banks in Netherlands are:

  • ING Bank NV
  • Cooperative Rabobank UA
  • ABN AMRO Bank NV
  • De Volksbank NV
  • NIBC Bank NV
  • Achmea Bank NV
  • F. van Lanschot Bankiers NV
  • Triodos Bank NV
  • Delta Lloyd Bank NV
  • KAS Bank NV

Using ATMs in Amsterdam

Geldautomaats or “money machines” are everywhere in the Netherlands — at post offices, supermarkets, train stations, hotels and on the street. They have an option for an English language menu and accept any card with chip and PIN technology. Banks and ATMs are widely available and are compatible with nearly all US cards. Using a Betterment Checking card to withdraw money is an option that will save you some cash, as you can get reimbursed for all foreign transaction fees made.

Keep your travel money safe in the Netherlands

It’s relatively safe to travel to the Netherlands, with advisories to take increased precautions due to increased terrorist threats.

Otherwise, thieves, bag-snatchers and pickpockets target travelers in typical tourist areas like busy markets, cafés and restaurants, on public transit and Central station and in the De Wallen District, Amsterdam’s red-light district. Keep your wallet in your pocket or use a money belt to keep your money out of arm’s reach, and leave all valuables at home.

Is it safe to use my credit card in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is a credit card-friendly country. However, always exercise caution when using your card. For example:

  • Select ATMs with care. Always try to use ATMs in a bank. These ATMs are less likely to have card-skimming devices.
  • Take two cards. You’d never want to be stranded without money if something happens to your credit card. Carrying a backup could be a lifesaver.
  • Keep your card in sight. Avoid card misuse by watching your card at all times.

How much should I budget to travel in the Netherlands?

Amsterdam and the Netherlands have a reputation for being expensive, but budget between $50 and $150 based on how you travel and what you decide to do. All prices are in US dollars.

MealsLunchtime specials
Dinner at a casual restaurant
Dinner at an upscale restaurant
ActivitiesOutdoor exploration
Museums and trains
First class trains, guided tours
AccommodationDorm bed
Double room
Double room at a high-end hotel

Prices are for example purposes only.

Case study: Paul's experience

Paul profile photo

Interview with Paul about his trip to the Netherlands

Do you have any travel money tips for the Netherlands?

Paul says he spent more than he budgeted for in Amsterdam. It was his first time in the city and he indulged in all the “coffee shops” had to offer. He suggests to factor in a bit extra than you think you might spend.

Tipping in Amsterdam and the Netherlands

Round up to the nearest euro. It’s not really expected to leave a substantial tip in most places. Generally, Dutch people just round up to the nearest euro or two.

5 travel tips for saving money in Amsterdam

  1. Rent or Airbnb an apartment. One of the most popular ways to sleep well and affordably nowadays is by renting an apartment short-term. Apartment rentals may be cheaper per person per night than your average hotel or hostel.
  2. Buy an I Amsterdam Card. The IAmsterdam City Card is a city-issued tourist card that allows free entry into Amsterdam’s major museums, free unlimited use of public transport and discounts to a number of popular attractions. Buy it online, in news agencies or tourist information offices from €57 to €87.
  3. Forget using a taxi. They’re pricey, and other forms of public transport are plentiful. Make like a local and bike around town.
  4. Pack a picnic. If you want your spending money to last, head to one of the many high-quality city markets and take your food to the park or along the canal.
  5. Buy your train ticket in advance. You’ll find the tickets available for a much cheaper price online or by booking well in advance. The prices rise substantially at the station at the last minute.

Travel insurance for the Netherlands

Travel insurance protects more than just your health. Having travel insurance protects from:

  • Lost or stolen luggage
  • Stolen travel cash and travel documents
  • Trip cancellation
  • Delayed luggage
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