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Country Guides for Europe

Netherlands

Netherlands

The Netherlands is all that one imagines - a land of windmills, endless fields of tulips, dikes, canals and wooden shoes (as well as red lights and smoky cafes). Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh were born here, and local art museums house some of the world's finest collections. Bicycles are a common form of transportation, and this flat country is easily, and perhaps best seen through the handlebars.

Language: Dutch (official language), Frisian (official language), English widely spoken.

Major International Airports Include:

City

Airport
Airport
Code
Distance
From City
AmsterdamAmsterdam Schiphol Int'lAMS9 miles SW
RotterdamRotterdam Int'lRTM5 miles N

The preventive measures you need to take while traveling in Western Europe depend on the areas you visit and the length of time you stay. For most areas of this region, you should observe health precautions similar to those that would apply while traveling in the United States.

Travelers' diarrhea, the number one illness in travelers, can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E.coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.

The CDC recommends the following vaccines as appropriate for age (See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect):

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). You are not at increased risk in Northern, Western, and Southern Europe, including the Mediterranean regions of Italy and Greece.
  • Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months in Southern Europe, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria.
  • Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not complete the series as infants.

All travelers should take the following precautions, no matter the destination:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid travel at night if possible and always use seat belts.
  • Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Don't eat or drink dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized.
  • Don't share needles with anyone.
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
  • Never eat undercooked ground beef and poultry, raw eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products. Raw shellfish is particularly dangerous to persons who have liver disease or compromised immune systems.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

There is a risk of contracting Lyme disease transmitted by ticks in the Netherlands. Travelers to the southern and eastern regions should use topical insect repellent and wear insecticide-treated clothing.

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

The water supply in the Netherlands is considered safe for drinking.

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

On July 9, 2004, the Dutch government implemented heightened security measures in response to concerns of international Islamic extremist terrorist activity on Dutch soil. U.S. citizens in the Netherlands are encouraged to monitor media reports, and are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Like other countries in the Schengen area, the Netherland's open borders with its European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity.

Demonstrations are commonplace in the Netherlands and may range in number from a few people to several thousand. Prior police approval is required for public demonstrations, and police oversight is routinely provided. Nonetheless, situations may develop which could pose a threat to public safety. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid areas in which public demonstrations are taking place.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement , Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.

Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

CRIME: While the rate of violent crime in the Netherlands is low, tourists are targeted, usually in conjunction with robbery attempts. Local press recently reported that almost one out of every 10 tourists visiting Amsterdam is the victim of a crime. Visitors to larger cities frequently fall prey to pickpockets, bag snatchers and other petty thieves. Never leave baggage or other valuables unattended.

While thieves may operate anywhere, the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam receives frequent reports of thefts from specific areas. Within Amsterdam, thieves are very active in and around train and tram stations, the city center and public transport. More specifically, the train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Central Station is considered to be high risk. Thieves often work here in pairs; one distracts the victim, often by asking for directions, while the accomplice moves in on the victim's momentarily unguarded handbag, backpack, laptop or briefcase. The timing of these thefts usually coincides with train stops, enabling the thieves to escape.

Confidence artists have victimized a number of Americans. Typically, a U.S. citizen is contacted in the United States by email and advised of an inheritance, being a lottery winner, or other offer, often originating in Africa, requiring his/her assistance and cooperation to conclude. The American is asked to forward advance payments for alleged "official expenses' and to come to Amsterdam to conclude the operation. Several Americans have lost tens of thousands of dollars in such scams. For additional information, please contact the nearest office of the U.S. Secret Service or visit that agency's web site at http://www.secretservice.gov/. Travelers may also contact the Fraud Unit, Amsterdam Police, Police Headquarters, PB 2287, 1000 CG Amsterdam, Netherlands, tel. (31) (20) 559-2380, fax (31) (20) 559-5755.

VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Consulate. In the Netherlands, all passport and American citizen services are provided by the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad , for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office , Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/safety/safety_1747.html.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund (CICF) of the Netherlands provides financial compensation, under specific circumstances, for victims of crime and for those who have suffered injuries and consequent loss caused by such incidents. The fund also provides for dependents or immediate family members of homicide victims. Violent crimes include assault, robbery with violence or murder, intended murder, rape, sexual abuse and unlawful deprivation of liberty. For more information, contact the Dutch Ministry of Justice at (31) (70) 414-2000.



Source: U.S. Department of State

The Netherlands enjoys a mild, temperate, variable marine climate, comparable to England's. The mildest year round weather, and the lowest rainfall is found in the coastal regions, although autumn and winter gales can be expected. The summers are typically warm and uncomfortably hot weather is unusual. The winters are generally mild, although cold spells with snow are possible. The Netherlands is a flat country, and as a result it is fairly windy year round. Precipitation also occurs throughout the year.


City
Annual
Precip. Days
Annual
Precip. Totals
Amsterdam18531"
Groningen19031"
Rotterdam17332"

Netherlands's electrical current is 230/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

A passport is required. Visas are not required for U.S. citizens for tourist visits of up to 90 days. To be admitted into the Netherlands, travelers must have a passport with a validity that exceeds the intended stay by at least three months, a return airline ticket, and enough money to finance the planned stay. For further information on entry requirements, contact the Embassy of The Netherlands at 4200 Linnean Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 244-5300 (or at http://www.netherlands-embassy.org/homepage.asp), or one of the Dutch consulates in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York or Miami. Additional information is available on the National Bureau for Tourism's Internet web site at http://www.goholland.com. Source: U.S. Department of State

The time zone for Netherlands is 1 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Netherlands would be 6:00 pm

The unit of currency in Netherlands is the euro (EUR).

Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter

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