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The Netherlands - Living

Internet, telephone & TV

Phone calls using the landline phones are becoming unpopular in the Netherlands from year to year. In 2017, only 22% of the Dutch used daily a landline phone. Young people especially often only use cell phones.1

For Internet, television, and landline you must sign a contract. There are different options: combined contracts for everything or only individual options, e.g. for the Internet connection only. There are various portals to compare the offers of different providers. An example is

https://www.consumentenbond.nl/alles-in-1/vergelijker
https://www.prijsvergelijken.nl/internet-en-tv-vergelijken/

https://www.internetvergelijk.nl/televisie/

It is worthwhile to compare the telecom providers. And do not forget that you should apply for the connection in advance. This is because if you only book the Internet or order a combination package, you may have to wait a few days or weeks. In the meantime, you can try to share a neighbor's internet connection, just ask.

Free hotspots
There are many hotspots in the Netherlands with free internet. Some cities offer free internet in the inner-city area. There are many cafes, bars and restaurants with free internet access. In part, this ensures that self-employed entrepreneurs and students are sitting in the café sipping coffee all day long.

License fee
In contrast to Germany, there are no direct broadcasting fees in the Netherlands. The broadcasters finance themselves through advertising or taxes. On 1 January 2000, the omroepbijdrage was abolished and the programs of the public service broadcaster were paid from tax revenues. To compensate for this abolition, the tax rate on the first income tax bracket was increased by 1.1 percentage points.

Internet speed
The Netherlands has an average Internet speed of 17.4 Mbps and ranks among the 20 countries with the fastest connection worldwide. Overall, all decisive parameters are better than in Germany. Slow connections such as ISDN and ADSL are no longer expanded or have been discontinued.  They are replaced by alternatives like VSDL (2) or fiber optics. It is also possible to get fast internet via the cable connection.

In the end, however, one's own location is often decisive. It may be that in a rural area a fiber optic cable reaches into your own home, and in the city center "only" an ADSL line is available. To estimate this, all providers and many comparison portals offer a postcode check (providercheck.nl, internetten.nl, internetpostcodecheck.nl).

The Netherlands - Living

Mobile telephony

The mobile network is very well developed in the Netherlands.2 Thanks to EU roaming, the individual options and packages that have been booked can also be used in other EU countries at no additional cost but all calls from the Netherlands to Germany or Austria are not affected and will be charged to the caller depending on the contract.

The individual network providers are constantly working on the quality of the network. Fast 4G and 4G + data connections up to 225Mb are available in many cities. There are also areas where mobile reception is hardly possible. Check in advance which your network provider. Asking the neighbors is advisable.

Like other countries, prepaid offers and contracts are offered. These can either be purchased directly from the network provider (KPN, Vodafone, T-Mobile, Tele2), a reseller or partner (Telfort, Simyo, Youfone, Hollandsnieuwe, Ben, Simpel, Bliep,...). For both options, the choice of a mobile phone is usually available. Contracts without a mobile phone are called SIM Only and are cheaper.

In the past, the criteria SMS, MMS, data volume and call duration were often selectable. In the days of WhatsApp and other messenger services, the contract often revolves only in the data volume (and is called minutes). The first providers have already stopped their MMS service. The SMS volume is often unlimited and Internet speed is more limited by technical challenges.

The mobile network with its many functions such as SMS and cell broadcast also serves as identification on the Internet but is also a part of the national warning system. For situations ranging from terrorist attack to a missing child, Dutch protection and preventions authorities work digitally.

Tips: If you often call abroad, you should check the service of VOIP service providers such as voipcheap.com. With an installed app or a local dial-in number, some free calls can be made. We have been talking to this provider for years.
There are also international suppliers, such as Lycamobile and Lebara. Making comparisons is worthwhile!

The Dutch consumer bond provides a lot of information about the network coverage and offers the possibility to compare individual cell phone contracts too.

The Netherlands - Living

German television and radio

Do you miss 'Maya the bee,' the 'Tagesschau' or the 'Supertalent'?

It is possible to receive TV and radio from German broadcasters. Most Dutch providers already have a few channels in their base package. And this can then often be extended for a few euros a month with a "Duits Pakket". It is worthwhile to inform yourself about the individual channel overviews of the providers such as Ziggo, KPN, and Telfort. Websites about price comparisons are also numerous.

Most broadcasters can also be received via the Internet via their website, media library, YouTube or viewed retrospectively. In some cases, broadcasts or entire broadcasters are blocked for licensing reasons using country blocks (geo-blocking). If you want to circumvent it, this lock can be bypassed with a VPN program. However, the VPN provider must have a location in Germany. An overview offers among other things VPN-Experte.com. For some VPN providers you can access a free trial for a month. Even if most ISPs do not have a real data limit, consider a high transfer volume.
Please note the current legal situation: Legal information on "Bypassing country barriers" can be read via PC Magazine. But one thing is that at you there are no legal implications to suffer even when terms and conditions are violated.3

You may also be patient because messages like "This content is not available in your country!" will be less visible from the spring of 2018. Online subscription services offering paid streaming services for films, sports, music, eBooks and video games will also be available in other EU countries from 20th March 2018. "However, the use of paid services is limited to temporary stays, and the streaming provider must first check the user's country of residence," the German Consumer Center said.4,5

Of course you can also watch all FTA (Free-to-Air) programs via satellite. Astra and Hotbird certainly give the largest offer, the entry costs are not very high and there are (currently) no monthly fees. However, perhaps legal aspects must be checked. For example, installation of satellite dishes may be prohibited in leases or by the homeowners' meeting (VvE - vereniging van eigenaren). Unfortunately, free-to-air does not mean that there are no entry costs. This depends on the type of installation and is between 150 to 300 EUR. If a technician is needed to install the satellite dish and receiver, extra costs will be incurred.


1 telecompaper (2018). 22 procent Nederlanders gebruik vaste telefoon nog dagelijks. Retrieved on February 19, 2018, from https://www.telecompaper.com/nieuws/22-procent-nederlanders-gebruik-vaste-telefoon-nog-dagelijks--1230057
2 Akamai (2017). State of the Internet Report for Q1 2017. Retrieved on February 19, 2018, from https://content.akamai.com/gl-en-pg9135-q1-soti-connectivity.html
3 OpenSignal (2018). The State of LTE (February 2018). Retrieved on March 5, 2018, from https://opensignal.com/reports/2018/02/state-of-lte
4 PC Magazin (2018). Deutsches TV im Ausland via Internet schauen - so geht's. Retrieved on February 19, 2018, from http://www.pc-magazin.de/ratgeber/deutsches-tv-ausland-schauen-internet-streamen-tipps-3196308.html
5 Verbraucherzentrale (2017). Was sich im Jahr 2018 bei den Themen Internet und Fernsehen ändert. Retrieved on 19, 2018, from https://www.verbraucherzentrale.de/aktuelle-meldungen/digitale-welt/was-sich-im-jahr-2018-bei-den-themen-internet-und-fernsehen-aendert-7969