Heading to the Netherlands? There's one important thing to do before you go: find out the best way to access your money in the Netherlands. You can compare credit cards, debit cards and travel cards in this guide, and learn the pros and cons of each option.
Amsterdam and the Netherlands have a reputation for being expensive. How much spending money you will need for a trip to the Netherlands and Amsterdam will depend on how you travel and what you choose to do.
Dorm bed $24.72 to $39.33
Double room $112.37
Luxurious hotel double room $202.26
Lunch time specials $16.85
Dinner, casual restaurant $33.71
Dinner, top restaurant $67.42
Outdoor exploration Free
Museums and trains $22.47
First class trains, guided tours $44.95
*Prices are approximate and are subject to change
Exchange rate history (AUD to EUR)
Average exchange rate
*Exchange rates are accurate as of 4 September 2017
What's the best way to take money to Amsterdam and the Netherlands?
The Netherlands is, overall, a very modern and highly westernised destination. Card payments are the norm and as a major global leader in banking, financial services are widely available. In Amsterdam, expect to find many shops, restaurants and cafes that will not accept cash at all. 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 Amsterdam and the Netherlands, find a card that allows you to shop without paying extra for the international transaction fee (currency conversion fee) and ATM fees.
A quick summary of your travel money options in Netherlands
Travel money option
Debit cards for travel
Avoid currency conversion fees on foreign transactions
Emergency cash facilities
Ideal for managing your travel budget
Currency conversion and international ATM fees
Can't be used over the counter
No emergency cash
No backup cards
Prepaid travel money cards
Protected by PIN & chip
Pre-load and secure your exchange rate in multiple foreign currencies
Emergency card replacement and backup cards
Ideal for managing your travel budget
Local ATM fee
No fee - Assuming cardholder is spending on a currency loaded onto the card
Credit cards for travel
Protected by PIN & chip
Access to funds up to your credit limit
No currency conversion/ transaction fees
Benefits including rewards points on spending, 0% purchases, frequent flyer perks
Emergency card replacement
Can charge high withdrawal and cash advance fees
Higher spending limit (depends on your approved credit limit)
Secure and can be easily replaced if lost or stolen
Photo I.D. needed to cash cheques
Can be costly with initial purchase charges
Not all merchants accept traveller's cheques
Greater payment flexibility
More difficult to manage expenses
Higher risk of theft
This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.
How the different travel money products work in Netherlands
Using a travel prepaid card
Take a travel money card to Amsterdam and avoid transaction fees completely.
All travel cards will allow you to load and spend Euros in the Netherlands. You won't incur the additional currency conversion fee of about 3%, which applies to the majority of personal finance products. If you are considering taking a travel card to access your spending money in The Netherlands, compare the fees for loading, reloading and ATM withdrawals.
Skip the currency conversion fees. Travel cards will allow to load your own money in Euros, so when you make payments in the Netherlands, you will avoid the fees that your bank normally charges to convert your money into a foreign currency.
Some of these travel cards give you rewards or frequent flyer points when you spend.
Know how much you're spending. Travel cards are not attached to your regular bank account and have to be reloaded for use. It can help keep track of what's going out, and how fast.
Travel focused. You get 2 cards when you apply for one of these account. The second card can be used as a backup if the main card is lost.
ATM fees, reload fees and issue fees have the potential to eat into your travel budget.
Public holidays and weekends in Australia can extend the time it takes to reload the card.
Using debit card
Card payments are accepted in most places, but it's a good idea to travel with some cash too. Credit cards and travel cards have travel benefits; however, these features come at a cost. If you are going to the Netherlands and want to find a cheap and easy way to access cash, compare the debit cards available for travel. Travel friendly debit cards will allow you to withdraw cash from ATMs in Amsterdam without charging exorbitant fees. Citibank and Bankwest are two issuers who do not charge customers for international ATM withdrawals, which an immediate saving of $5 per ATM transaction. Furthermore, Citibank will waive the currency conversion fee too.
Provided by Visa and Mastercard, you're protected against fraud under the card scheme's zero liability guarantees, which give you full reimbursement you fall victim to fraud.
Some debit card accounts waive fees for currency conversion, some have extended ATM networks and other issuers waive international ATM fees.
You must wait for a replacement card if you lose your debit card or it's stolen. This can take up to 2 weeks.
Run of the mill transaction accounts are expensive to use outside Australia.
Using credit cards
0% purchase cards can allow you to finance your trip to the Netherlands interest free.
Travel friendly credit cards come in many shapes and sizes, and offer a range of benefits to suit travellers spending abroad.
Credit cards that waive the international transaction fee are a popular option, but there's more to consider than just avoiding the extra 3% charge. Extras like insurance represent a saving before you've even left the country. And there are interest free periods to consider as well. A 0% purchase credit card could also be suitable for your trip. These cards have an interest free introductory period. If you make the monthly minimum repayment, these cards allow you to make purchases and pay no interest for that time. If you pay back the balance by the time the introductory period ends, you could have given yourself an interest-free holiday. Currently, there are no credit cards with an interest free period that also waive the fee for currency conversion.
Card payments are the norm in the Netherlands.
Credit cards designed for travel often have a number of freebies and add-ons to sweeten the deal. Insurance, free emergency overseas card replacement and airport lounge access are card features which can appeal to travellers.
Apply for a travel credit card and avoid paying extra international transaction charges.
Some credit cards offer extended interest free terms on purchases and nearly all cards off interest free days when you pay the account in full each month.
If you don't make your monthly repayment, or the interest free period runs out and you still have money owing, you might be charged more than you planned.
Cash withdrawals from a credit card can incur cash advance fees and high interest charges.
Paying with cash in Netherlands
ATM availability Geldautomaats. "Geldautomaats" literally "money machines" are everywhere in the Netherlands and in Amsterdam; 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 Australian cards. You won't be able to withdraw for free at any Dutch ATMs; there is no ATM alliance between any Dutch and Australian banks. However, if you have a card issued by another Eurozone country, you won't pay ATM fees at most ATMs in the Netherlands.Make sure you check with your bank about the charges for withdrawing money overseas, or change to a card that allows you withdraw money at a minimal cost.
Where to exchange money in the Netherlands Geldwisselkantoor. Money exchange offices or Geldwisselkantoor in Dutch are plentiful in the centre city of Amsterdam. The business is highly competitive, and most places usually offer quite fair rates for exchange. As always, check the daily exchange rates and ask how much money you will get in return before you hand your money over.
Be travel-savvy in Amsterdam The Netherlands and Amsterdam enjoy a well-deserved reputation for being safe. Exercise basic caution and use your common sense to avoid unpleasant situations.
The Red Light District Amsterdam's infamous quarter for creatures of the night is not without some inherent danger. Robberies are not unheard of, and the trade of illegal substances attracts some shady characters. Keep your wits about you, and don't wander off alone.
Split up your travel money Keep your emergency card separate from your everyday day card, and keep your passport separate from everything.
If your card is lost or stolen Call your bank in Australia immediately to have it cancelled and make arrangements for a replacement. If your passport or other identity documents go missing, contact the Australian Embassy in the Hague immediately. Theft of identity papers contributes to the global black market of identity theft and human trafficking.
Paul Tromoda visited the Netherlands with some friends while on holiday in Europe. He spent four days in Amsterdam. He used his EFTPOS card and credit card.
What cards did you take with you?
St.George Everyday Freedom EFTPOS card
Westpac Low Rate Credit Card
Why did you take these cards?
Paul lost his St.George Debit Card before he arrived in Amsterdam so he was using his old EFTPOS card to withdraw cash in the Netherlands. Luckily, he was able to find an ATM machine that accepted an Australian card without a CHIP — he says he didn't have to look far. Each withdrawal was costing him approx. $10-$12AUD; however, Paul and his friends moved quickly between destinations and he wasn't able to arrange for a replacement debit card. There was little he could do about the extra charges.
Paul used his Westpac Low Rate Credit Card for big ticket purchases and bookings. Paul says a low rate credit card is more important than credit card bells and whistles because he sometimes can't pay his balance in full at the end of the month.
What's your travel money recommendation?
Paul says one of his friends had the Citibank Plus Transaction Account, and if he had his time again, he would apply for this product and use it as a travel account. Paul mentions his friend wasn't paying for international ATM fees or for conversion charges.
Do you have any travel money tips for the Netherlands?
Paul says he visited different "coffee shops" in Amsterdam. As it was his first time in the city, he bought product from each of the coffee shops he visited. He ended up unnecessarily spending too much money in each coffee shop. You only need to buy a juice or a coffee when you enter — nothing more.
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
Rent an apartment. One of the most popular ways to sleep well and affordably nowadays is by renting an apartment short term. Especially in comparatively more expensive cities like Amsterdam, apartment rentals are usually cheaper per person per night than your average hotel or hostel.
Buy an I Amsterdam Card. The 'IAmsterdam City Card' (previously Amsterdam Pass) 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. You can buy it online, in news agencies or tourist information offices with usage periods of 24, 48 and 72 hour.
Forget using a taxi. If you are on a budget, don't plan on using taxis too often in Amsterdam. They are pricey, and other forms of transport are plentiful. Make like a local and bike it around town (pretty much the whole of the Netherlands is set up for biking) and the public transport network is efficient, well-connected, and affordable.
Pack a picnic. Restaurants and sit-down meals tend to be on the pricey side in Amsterdam. If you want your spending money to last, make a beeline for one of the many high-quality city-markets and take your food to the park or along the canal.
Buy your train ticket in advance. If you are venturing out, and visiting one of the many other charming Dutch cities like Rotterdam or Utrecht, 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.
Ensure peace of mind while abroad by taking out travel insurance. While Australia and the Netherlands have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA), travel insurance protects more than just your health. Having travel insurance protects travellers from:
Lost or stolen luggage
Stolen travel cash and travel documents
Compare travel insurance policies for the Netherlands and make sure your holiday is protected.
Before you don your clogs, do some research and make a comparison of the most suitable travel money options for you. If you make wise decisions about how to use your spending money, your budget will go further.
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