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Netherlands  Back to Description

Country Specific Info.

The United States State Department produces Consular Information Sheets with health, safety and other country information for every country in the world. They are one good source of information, though you should look at multiple sources of information and take your own personal situation into account when selecting a country to study in.

The latest Consular Information Sheet for Netherlands is below. We do not take responsibility for this information or edit it in any way. You can access the State Department travel site directly at:

July 19, 2019

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy The Hague

John Adams Park 1
2244 BZ Wassenaar
Telephone: +(31) (0) 70 310 2209
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +31 (0) 70 310 2209
Fax: +(31) (0) 70 310 2207

U.S. Consulate General Amsterdam
Museumplein 19
1071 DJ Amsterdam
Telephone: +(31) (0) 20 575-5309 (Emergencies involving U.S. citizens only)
Telephone:+(31) (0) 70 310 2209 (All other calls)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(31) (0) 70 310-2209
Fax: +(31) (0) 20 575 5330
Note: All consular services are provided by the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam.

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Netherlands for information on U.S. - Netherlands relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit the Embassy of the Netherlands website for the most current visa information.

The Netherlands is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter the Netherlands for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the Netherlands.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations. U.S. citizens should be aware that attacks can take place without prior warning.

When visiting or living in the Netherlands, you should:

Be aware of your local security situation and take appropriate steps to bolster your personal security.
Address specific safety concerns to Dutch law enforcement authorities who have responsibility for the safety and security of all residents and visitors in the Netherlands.
Avoid demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations. Even events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational. Large public gatherings can affect roads and means of transportation to and from the cities in which they occur.

Demonstrations occur regularly. Large, public demonstrations take place for a variety of political and economic issues. Demonstration organizers must obtain prior police approval, and police routinely oversee participants.

Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.
Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.
Check local media for updates on the situation and traffic advisories.
Security messages issued regarding demonstrations are now posted on the U.S. Mission’s website.

Crime: While the rate of violent crime in the Netherlands is low, tourists are often targeted by pickpockets, bag snatchers, and other petty thieves and are active in and around train, tram, and metro stations in the city center; and aboard public transportation, especially to and from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Thieves often work in pairs: one distracts you, often by asking for directions, while the other moves in on your unguarded property. Use your hotel safe, and keep baggage locked or secured when you are away. Avoid leaving valuables in automobiles, especially electronic devices, such as laptops, tablets, GPS devices, and mobile telephones. Never leave your personal items or baggage unattended.

Most retailers in the Netherlands only accept a “chip and pin” card and will not accept a standard U.S. credit card containing only a magnetic strip. ATM and credit card users are advised to keep an eye on their cards at all times. If you feel uncomfortable using your card for any reason, use cash. Contact your credit card provider for further guidance.

Scams: U.S. citizens overseas are frequently the victims of online financial scams. Funds lost in such scams are rarely recovered. Information on fraud schemes can be found on the U.S. Embassy and Consulate’s website, the Department of State's international financial scams page, and the FBI pages for information. If you suspect you have been targeted by a scam based in the Netherlands, you may report it to Dutch law enforcement authorities through the following police website and through the Fraud Help Desk website.

Do not buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available, as you may be breaking U.S. and local law.

Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at 112 or 0900-8844 for non-emergency cases. See above for contact informationn for the U.S. Embassy The Hague and U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

Help you find appropriate medical care
Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
Explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
Provide a list of local attorneys
Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
Replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
See the State Department's travel website for Worldwide Caution, Travel Advisories, and Alerts.
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Despite common misperceptions, marijuana and hashish are controlled substances in the Netherlands, and although not enforced in defined tourist areas, possession is a crime that can result in a fine. “Coffee shops” are havens for petty criminals who prey on tourists and other individuals under the influence of drugs. Persons who visit “coffee shops” have become victims of pickpocketing, identity theft, sexual assault, and other crimes. Visitors are cautioned against using such substances, as they are often counterfeit and can cause illness or death. It is illegal to take any controlled substance, such as marijuana, into or out of the Netherlands.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

Faith-Based Travel Information
International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
Human Rights Report – see country reports
Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in the Netherlands. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. Dutch law guarantees equality and the right to access for people with disabilities. Information about accessibility in the Netherlands for travelers with disabilities is available on the Netherlands main online portal for visitors.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.


Good medical facilities are widely available.

Dial 112 for emergency medical assistance.
Pharmacies (“Apotheek”) are widely available and can assist with emergency prescription needs. Some common medications are not available in the Netherlands without a prescription, and some prescription drugs cannot be imported into the country.
Carry an adequate supply of prescription drugs in their original container in your carry-on luggage. Please carry a letter from your pharmacist or medical doctor with you, as some drugs are subject to confiscation by local customs agents.
If you are traveling with any pre-existing medical condition, bring a letter from your physician that describes your medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic name of any prescribed drugs.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of the Netherlands to ensure the medication is legal in the Netherlands. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

World Health Organization
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:

Lanes in the center of many urban two-way streets are reserved for buses, trams, and taxis.
In cities, pedestrians should be mindful of trams and buses, which often cross or share bicycle and pedestrian paths. Serious and sometimes fatal accidents involving pedestrians or bicyclists colliding with trams and buses occur each year.
Motorists should be especially mindful of the fact that bicyclists have the right-of-way; motorists must yield to bicyclists.
Pedestrians should not walk along bicycle paths, which are often next to the sidewalk and usually designated by red pavement.

Traffic Laws: 

A valid driver’s license issued by a Department of Motor Vehicles in the United States is valid for use in the Netherlands while in tourist or visitor status. Please check here (Dutch only) for more information.
You must use seat belts and child seats.
Driving is on the right side of the road, as in the United States.
Speed limits are strictly enforced by radar. Traffic cameras are common throughout the Netherlands and it is possible to receive a ticket for traveling even 2-5 km/h over the limit. Different limits may apply to certain hours of the day, as posted.
Drivers must yield the right-of-way to vehicles and bicyclists coming from the right at intersections or traffic circles unless otherwise posted.
The maximum allowable blood-alcohol content in the Netherlands is 0.05 percent.
The maximum allowable blood-alcohol limit for those who have had a driver’s license for less than five years is 0.02 percent.
Use of cellular telephones for talking or texting while driving without the use of a hands-free device is prohibited, and is punishable by significant fines.
Bicyclists and pedestrians should be particularly cautious during the winter months, when paths, roads, and especially bridges can become icy and extremely slippery.

Public Transportation:

Rail is often a convenient alternative to driving, particularly in the areas around Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam, where road congestion is frequent. Rail network information is available at It is relatively safe to travel by rail from city to city, compared to some other European countries. Taxi service in the Netherlands is safe but expensive. Trams and buses are both convenient and economical, but are often frequented by pickpockets.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of the Netherlands’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of the Netherland’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel:

Mariners planning travel to the Netherlands should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.

Presbyterian College Office of International Programs