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Netherlands - Amsterdam

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN TRAVELLING TO THE NETHERLANDS
 
SEASONAL HIGHLIGHTS
The Netherlands is a popular year-round destination with long hot summers and cool winters which brings snow to higher ground.  Temperatures and climatic conditions vary from one side of The Netherlands to the other and travellers should be prepared for all weather conditions.
 
WHAT TO PACK
As you plan what to wear in Europe, keep in mind that the trick is to pack and wear layers. But don't plan on just wearing tops with woollen sweaters over them. Instead, try layering like this: tank top - long sleeve shirt – cardigan - jacket.
 
RETAIL HOURS
Most shops are opened every day from around 9 a.m. until 5.30 p.m. On Monday mornings, shops often don’t open until around noon. Most towns and cities have a shopping night when shops are opened until 9 p.m. This is usually on a Thursday.  Every Dutch city has its own rules for shopping on Sundays. Dates are available at the local tourist information (VVV). In most big cities, supermarkets are open every day until 10 p.m., except on Sunday’s when they close around 5.30 p.m. In other parts of the country, supermarkets are usually opened until 8 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, with varying opening times on Sundays.
 
MONEY MATTERS
The Netherlands is a member of the European Union with the Euro being the official currency.
 
Currency: Euro (EUR). EUR1 = 100 Cents. 
Credit Cards are widely available and ATM’s are very prevalent.
 
DRINKING WATER
Tap water is safe to drink. The Netherlands (and especially Amsterdam which has the best water in the country) has the safest en cleanest tap water in Europe.
 
TIPPING / PORTERAGE  
Porters Euro 1 to Euro 3 per bag
Housekeepers Euro 3 to Euro 5 per night
Concierge Euro 10 to Euro 20 
Doormen Euro 2 to Euro 3 if they hail you a taxi.
Taxi Drivers 10% of the fare. 
In restaurants round up to the next Euro (5% to 10% for good service)
Tour Guides are tipped 10% of the cost of the tour per person.
 
TRAVEL RESPONSIBILITY 
Learn a few words of the local language so you know what’s considered polite in terms of eating, greeting and local values.
Appropriate behaviours by travellers helps ensure local communities continue to be hospital and friendly.
Respect other people’s cultures and avoid imposing your beliefs.
Adhere to the hotel’s water or energy conservation policies.
Buy locally made crafts and support local skills. 
 
GENERAL INFORMATION 
Dutch is the official language.  English is widely spoken. 
South African passport holders require a Schengen Visa.
The Netherlands is on Central European time. They are 1 hour behind S.A during their winter months (November to March) and are on the same time as S.A during their summer months (last Sunday in March to the Last Saturday in October)
For The Netherlands there are two associated plug types, types C and F. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type F is the plug which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. 
The Netherlands operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
 
WHAT THINGS COST
Meal Inexpensive Restaurant : Euro 10 to Euro 20
Meal for 2 people, midrange Restaurant 3 Course: Euro 40 to Euro 70
McMeal at McDonalds (or equivalent): Euro 6.50 to Euro 8
Domestic Beer (0.5 Lt Draught) : Euro 3 to Euro 5
Imported Beer (0.33 Lt Bottle): Euro 2.50 to Euro 4.20
Cappuccino (Regular) : Euro 2 to Euro 3 
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 Lt Bottle) : Euro 1.50 to Euro 2.90
Water (0.33 Lt Bottle) : Euro 1 to Euro 2.50
 
OUR RECOMMENDATIONS 
A lot of public restrooms will charge you a small fee to use them, so just keep some change on hand to pay the fee.
Lock valuables away while travelling and always be vigilant of your belongings. Never leave them unattended.
Always be aware of pick pockets irrespective of where you are in the world.


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