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The Netherlands - Living

Shopping

In the Netherlands, there are many differences in the area of ​​supermarkets and drugstores as well as non-food stores compared to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Dutch supermarkets are much more expensive than supermarkets in Germany. Even products from Dutch products such as eggs and tomatoes are cheaper in German supermarkets, sometimes by far. It certainly pays off to use weekly or monthly offers. Some supermarket chains also offer loyalty cards with which you can earn points or even get the offer price.

Most supermarkets in the Netherlands are relatively small and more reminiscent of a German mom and pop shop. This is partly due to the many franchise concepts, but also that Dutch people are used to going to the "buurtsuper", so the supermarket in the neighborhood. There are no huge markets, such as the chain known in Germany Real,-. Albert Heijn has certainly tried an approach with his XL branches but is far from the German "I can-here-really-buy-everything" markets.

Digitalisation

Dutch supermarkets - especially the big chains - are very digitized. Thus, in many of these shops can be charged via the mobile phone or hand scanner provided quickly at the self-service checkout. For inexperienced customers, this is certainly a challenge at first, but in the long run, a much faster method of billing.

Payment

Card payments are being used more and more often. It is also possible - after activation - to pay via the bank app or Apple Pay. Who paid contactless, must from 25EUR single amount (or 50EUR cumulative) enter the PIN. Depending on the system then the card with the chip card must be reread or you can verify immediately.

The government is not obliging anyone to accept legal payment type, which also means that many stores cannot pay with large banknotes. In addition, it is common in almost all Dutch shops that 1 and 2 cent coins are not accepted. Amounts are either rounded up or down. When paying by card, the exact amount will be charged.

Spirits

No spirits can be purchased in Dutch supermarkets. Beer and wine products are available there, but all alcoholic beverages 15% alcohol content may only be sold at a "Slijter". Slijterijen are beverage companies with appropriate licenses, offering a wide range of liqueurs, spirits and higher quality beer and wines.[1]

Deposit

In the Netherlands, there is a pledge on some bottles. The Dutch government has been preparing for a more extensive introduction of deposit on small plastic bottles since spring 2019. The system is currently solved quite strangely since, for example, on some beer bottles a pledge is levied on others not.

Our overview of the deposit in the Netherlands helps to get more insight.

Sales and special offers

There are no legal regulations regarding a sale (uitverkoop). Businesses or entire industries, therefore, have their own sales campaigns, which can be very rewarding. In the fashion industry can be assumed from these periods:

  • Winter Sales (wintersale): December and January
  • Midseason Sale Spring: March and April
  • Summer sale (zomersale): June and July
  • Midseason Sale Fall: September and October

On the upswing is the Black Friday Sale, a sale that was designed in the US. The Black Friday Sale takes place on the fourth Friday in November. If you want cheap shopping, there are chances in the Netherlands.

Supermarkets, hardware stores, furniture stores, and many other stores regularly have new - sometimes weekly - offers to lure customers into the shops.

Shopping in the Netherlands

Supermarkets

The most famous supermarket is certainly with nearly 1000 branches Albert Heijn. AH was founded in 1887 in Oostzaan (North-Holland) is a huge player, listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange and stands for quality. In addition to traditional supermarkets, from 2001, innovative business models were added. Thus, AH XL supermarkets were introduced with a larger retail space and improved product offering, Albert.nl as a delivery service was launched, and train stations and inner cities are AH to go. Albert Heijn has a very well-developed app with offers, but also many recipes. The ingredients can be quickly and easily put on the shopping list. Incidentally, the offers can only be used with the personal bonus card (bonuskaart). This can then be coupled to an Airmiles card, so that even more can be saved.

Also widely used is jumbo. Since the acquisitions of Super de Boer and C1000, Jumbo has been the second-largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands.

Also, to be considered are Spar, Plus, Coop and Dirk. Spar is almost 90 years old and also internationally known. Nettorama, although only a little over 30 stores, says that they are the cheapest.

Ekoplaza, a supermarket with products from organic production, is represented nationwide. However, most of the branches are located in the Randstad. Ekoplaza says for yourself that you can be sure that all products are 100% organically grown and they pay a fair price to farmers, breeders, and growers.

There are also supermarkets known from Germany such as Aldi and Lidl. Both are priced, similar to Germany and have weekly promotions and non-food offers. However, customers of Aldi Süd will be surprised. The Dutch branches were assigned to Aldi Nord and are therefore Nordic cool furnished.

Online supermarkets

Almost all supermarkets also provide a delivery service. They differ mainly by the minimum order quantity, delivery costs and delivery times.

An online supermarket stands out: the supermarket Picnic has no branches but delivers goods exclusively with small electric order cars. Purchased only with a mobile app. For orders over 25 EUR, orders can be placed cheaply and without delivery costs. The goods are then transported from the nearest distribution centre to the customer. Whether Picnic also delivers on the flat land, can be checked on the website. If the delivery location is in the delivery area, all you have to do is install the app and you're ready to go. Because of the large demands it may be that after the registration with waiting times to release is to be expected.

On the websites of the delivery service is always clearly indicated: Search for "thuisbezorgd", read the rules regarding minimum order value, transportation costs, and other items as well, then order and wait for delivery to arrive at home. In each case, different ways are taken in the deposit for empties and the transport boxes or bags.

Shopping in the Netherlands

Wholesale

Those who work independently or are responsible for purchases in the company order can also apply for access in one of the many wholesalers. Worth mentioning are Makro (a subsidiary of Metro AG) and Sligro, which both offer large food and non-food departments. Other wholesalers are more subject-specific.

Shopping in the Netherlands

Drugstores

The Dutch drugstore market is largely determined by Kruidvat, Etos, DA, and Trekpleister. A wide range of drugstore items and over-the-counter medicines ranging from confectionery to vitamin products, many products can be purchased here for daily use.

However, the German buyer will quickly find that prices are up to three times as expensive. Many well-known and popular products are called different or not at all available in the Netherlands. With a bulk purchase, it is, therefore, worthwhile driving quickly across the border to shop in the German DM, Rossmann or Müller.

Shopping in the Netherlands

DIY

The German DIY chain Hornbach is gaining more and more popularity in the Netherlands. Other markets such as Praxis, Gamma, and Karwei are increasingly threatened by the rapid growth of the German brand in orange colours.[2] Hornbach offers many excellent products of German quality. In addition, Hornbach is very flexible in the purchase quantities. So a single washer can be purchased, but also the home builder can quickly buy 250 plasterboards if needed. But that does not mean that the other hardware stores are bad. But the competition is reviving the business. Hornbach offers a guarantee of the lowest price but has no action weeks like the competition.[3]

Our tip: Take a look at the DIY stores and get to know them. And maybe Hubo will be your winner with its unique personal service?

Shopping in the Netherlands

Department stores

The time of department stores is not over yet. Although old companies like V&D have had to close the doors, new concepts are coming onto the market, such as Hudson Bay.

De Bijenkorf, founded in 1870, leads the chain of upmarket department stores. Here men and women are spoiled because service counts. The customer also likes to pay one cent more for that. The in-house bakery and the restaurant or café complete this shopping experience.

Once again, HEMA was the business of the poor people in the past and attracts a broad audience today. Only private labels are sold, and this is reflected in the price. Whether you want to buy a cake, or you need a new bicycle lamp, at HEMA you will find everything and at an excellent quality. Since 2018, there are also some HEMA stores in the station area of ​​major train stations.

Not big department stores, but rather homeware stores are Blokker, Xenos, Big Bazar, and Action. The range of Zeeman consists of baby and children's clothing, home textiles, underwear and legwear.

The entire market is under tension, and there are always reorganisations, takeovers or even closures.

Shopping in the Netherlands

Furniture stores

In the typical meubelbaulevard are numerous furniture shops. These areas are mostly accessible by public transport, car, and bicycle. Once arrived, IKEA you can satrt with breakfast, get a desk at the Kwantum and a cupboard at the Leen Bakker ... or in another combination.

 

 

Shopping in the Netherlands

Outlets

In the Netherlands, there are several large outlet centres. Clothing, shoes, and accessories are mainly found in the outlets, but there are also housewares stores, such as WMF. Constant great bargains invite you to shop! The most well-known are:

  • Designer Outlet Roosendaal: Rosendaal is close to Belgium. In the Designer Outlet Roosendaal, you can find your favourite brands with always a 30-70% discount. With more than 75 stores, the Designer Outlet Rosada is the perfect place for a fun shopping day!
  • Designer Outlet Roermond: Beautifully located just a 3-minute walk from the historic centre of Roermond, the Designer Outlet Roermond offers all your favourite designer brands, the latest trends and a wide selection of restaurants.
  • Batavia Stad Fashion Outlet in Lelystad: More than 250 international fashion and lifestyle brands such as Hugo Boss, Scotch & Soda, Michael Kors, and Tommy Hilfiger are waiting to inspire you with the latest trends, must-haves and more.

There are many other - sometimes small - outlets in the Netherlands. These are then not just fashion products, but also other products, such as construction materials.

Shopping in the Netherlands

Online Shopping

The Dutch started early to sell their products over the Internet. Meanwhile, in Germany Amazon is very popular and favourite, bol.com in the Netherlands has a high profile. bol.com not only offers a large selection of books but also many other products with fast delivery times.

Amazon, but also the Chinese AliExpress, are currently trying hard to conquer the Dutch market. Anyone who has become accustomed to Zalando in Germany can continue to order in the Netherlands.

Overall, there is an incredibly wide variety of online shops. Basically, (almost) everything can be bought online, most at delivery costs or free from a specific order quantity. Most online stores suggest that delivered products can be returned within two weeks. The purchase price will be refunded. Be sure to read the conditions in advance.

Attention swindler!

In addition, make sure that the provider presents himself with his business and contact details. Take good care that you do not fall for cheaters! Check beforehand whether the website, account number or other data is known to the Dutch police; You can query this here. Also, be careful if you get no results when asked. Check the web address, but also the contents for spelling errors and read independent (!) reviews. Extremely low prices should even shake you up. For example, a new phone does not cost 50% of the regular retail price.

You can find more tips on the internet, for example, using the search terms "valse webshops", "internet fraude", "internet oplichting" and similar word combinations. A few years ago, the Dutch broadcasting company AVROTROS had a (still up to date) article on "Hoe bescherm ik mezelf tegen valse webshops? Zes tips bij het online shoppen." released. In addition, there are also warranty service providers in the Netherlands, such as thuiswinkel waarborg.

Careful tax!

If you order goods abroad, taxation depends on where you buy and how much the value of the goods is. An exact overview provides the Belastingdienst. The limits are currently (October 2019) at 22 EUR and 150 EUR. Inform yourself well before your order via AliExpress or eBay brings unexpected costs. Also, note that additional or different rules apply to alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.

Shopping in the Netherlands

German products

Germans, Austrians and Swiss citizens living in the Netherlands often miss products from their homeland. Delivery costs from these countries to the Netherlands are usually high, and the delivery time is long.

But how can you get your favourite food or another product? Here are some tips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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References:
1 Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties (2017-12-31). Drank- en Horecawet. Retrieved on July 2, 2019, from https://wetten.overheid.nl/BWBR0002458/2017-12-31
2 Trouw (2019-03-221). Hornbach verslaat Praxis en Gamma op alle fronten. Retrieved on July 2, 2019, from https://www.trouw.nl/home/hornbach-verslaat-praxis-en-gamma-op-alle-fronten~a3023c83/
3 Hornbach. Gegarandeerd altijd de laagste prijs bij HORNBACH. Retrieved on July 2, 2019, from https://www.hornbach.nl/­cms/nl/nl/vestigingsinfo/daarom_hornbach/­laagste_prijsgarantie/de_laagste_prijs_filosofie/­laagste_prijsgarantie.html