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Beloved Irma (53), the Netherlands’ oldest elephant, has passed away

Image: Freepik https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/close-up-shot-elephant-savannah_17774560.htm#query=elephant%20zoo&position=33&from_view=search&track=ais

Sadly, the Blijdorp Zoo recently lost one of its favourite residents; Irma the elephant has passed away, but not before living up to the impressive age of 53.

Originally hailing from Denmark, this friendly tusked creature arrived at Rotterdam’s Blijdoorp Zoo back in 1975 with financial support from the Friends of Blijdorp association, Rijnmond.nl reports.

Sadly, as a Diergaarde Blijdorp spokesperson mentions, Irma had faced some health struggles for the last couple of years, resulting in an alarming weight loss, joint problems, missing teeth, and an introverted personality. 😔

Irma’s legacy

By all accounts, Irma lived an adventurous life, making national headlines in 1984 when she birthed a healthy calf called Bernhardine — the first baby elephant ever born in a Dutch zoo.

READ MORE | Dierentuinen: 10 best zoos in the Netherlands

Not only that, but Bernhardine was the first instance of a baby elephant born in captivity anywhere, which took the world by storm.

After her passing, Irma has left an extensive family tree of offspring behind — that is, six children, 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, to be exact. 🐘

A difficult decision

It’s safe to say this lovable elephant will be missed. Zookeeper Kasper Willebrandts, who cared for Irma over a decades-long companionship, says letting her go in order to put her out of her misery “was not an easy decision”.  

Translation: “Elephant Irma passed away at the respectable age of 53. For welfare reasons, it was decided in close consultation between the vet and the caregivers that the time had come to put her to sleep, a difficult but well-considered decision.”

After a goodbye ceremony that took place last week, Irma’s body was transported to Utrecht University for an autopsy, and her remains might be studied for educational reasons.

Now, the rest of the inhabitants at the zoo have to get used to the absence of their “leader”, mother, and grandmother. Rest in peace, sweet Irma. 🐘🧡

How do you feel about Irma’s death? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

How to open a Dutch bank account: ultimate guide

Image: baranq/Depositphotos https://depositphotos.com/115188954/stock-photo-couple-paying-in-coffee-shop.html

You’ve moved to the Netherlands (or maybe you will soon) and suddenly it hits you — do you need to open a Dutch bank account? In most cases, the answer is yes! 

However, finding your way around the Dutch banking world can be confusing for internationals. Like how Dutchies are incredibly fond of cards and rarely use cash! But not just any card: in the Netherlands, debit cards are your golden ticket to pretty much everything. 

Warning! Your international bank cards may not work in the Netherlands. To avoid any nasty surprises at the checkout, you’ll need a Maestro or VPay debit card. Luckily, you’ll get one of these if you open a Dutch bank account!

To get you paying for your stroopwafels in no time, here’s all you need to know about opening a bank account in the Netherlands!

READ MORE | All you need to know about banking in the Netherlands: debit cards, credit cards and online banks

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How to open a Dutch bank account

There are a few things you’ll need to have in order but, once sorted, getting a Dutch bank account is super easy! Just follow these simple steps:  

1. Choose your new Dutch bank and your account types 👩‍💻

When choosing your Dutch bank, it is a good idea to do a little research to find out which bank will best suit your needs. There are three major banks in the Netherlands: ABN AMRO, ING, and Rabobank.

Of course, the best banks for Dutchies aren’t necessarily the best banks for internationals. Both ABN AMRO and ING offer English websites, but some challenger banks, like bunq and Revolut, are built for foreigners — offering support for various languages and easy international transfers.

READ MORE | These are the best banks for expats in the Netherlands

2. Gather your identification documents and BSN 📝

To open a Dutch bank account after you’ve arrived in the Netherlands, you’ll need to find the following documents: 

  • Proof of ID (passport or identification card) 
  • Proof of address (for example, your rental contract or a utility bill)
  • Your Dutch residence permit or registration with the Foreign Police (If you are not an EU citizen)
  • Citizen service number (BSN) 

You receive your BSN (burgerservicenummer) when you register with your new Dutch municipality. If you don’t have a BSN number yet, some banks, like bunq or ABN AMRO, allow you to provide this later. 

READ MORE | At these Dutch banks, you can open an account BEFORE getting a BSN

3. Attend your bank or sign up online 🤝

Now let’s get to the good stuff. To open your Dutch bank account, you have a few options: attend your local banking branch or use the bank’s website.

Book a meeting at a local branch

To verify your identity when first opening an account, traditional banks like ING and Rabobank require you to attend one of their offices.

You’ll need to bring:

  • Proper identification. You can bring a Dutch ID card, driving licence, diplomatic passport, service passport, residence document, or type W foreign nationals identity document.
  • If you do not have a Dutch ID, you’ll likely need to bring your national ID and an additional document to prove that you either live, work, study, or own a house in the Netherlands. This could be an extract from the Dutch Personal Records Database (BRP) that you received when you got your BSN, an employment contract, proof of enrollment, or an eigendomsinformatie (ownership information document).

Let op! Always double-check with your desired bank what ID they prefer you to bring.

Open your account online 

Want to open your Dutch bank account without having to change out of your pyjamas? You got it! Some banks, like bunq and ABN AMRO, allow you to open a bank account in the Netherlands without attending the bank. 

If you have an EU passport and a BSN, you can open an account at ABN AMRO via the bank’s mobile app. 

Not from the EU? Then bunq might be your best choice! All you need to open a bank account with bunq is to download their mobile app and upload your (non-Dutch) ID — for the first three months, you don’t even need a BSN number.

4. Wait for your Dutch bank cards to arrive in the mail 📫

After opening your brand new Dutch bank account, you can sit back and wait for your card and bank account details!

Usually, it’ll take a week or so for everything to arrive (your bank card and the details you need to activate it are sent separately). They’ll typically arrive in the following order: 

  1. Your bank card
  2. Your pin code
  3. Your mini-scanner to use for internet banking and online shopping (if your bank uses this system — more on that below 😉).
Want to avoid awkwardness at the checkout? Use Maestro! Image: DutchReview

Things to know about opening a bank account in the Netherlands

You’ve opened a Dutch bank account and received your all-important debit card — now what? Here are a few handy things to keep in mind when banking in the Netherlands. 

Costs of bank accounts in the Netherlands

Most banks in the Netherlands charge a monthly or yearly fee for having an account with them. However, if you’re a student, you can usually open a Dutch bank account for free (yay!).  

Other costs to consider are additional services such as insurance or a credit card. Also, keep in mind that there’s usually a small fee associated with international bank transfers

Savings accounts in the Netherlands

Savings accounts in the Netherlands are easily accessible online and are considered very safe due to government deposit insurance.

That being said, we’ll be honest and tell you that most traditional banks in the Netherlands, like ING and Rabobank, have fairly low interest rates on savings. Of course, specific terms and rates may vary, so it’s best to compare options before choosing a savings account.

However, if you’re looking for a savings account in the Netherlands with good interest rates, you have a lot of options outside of traditional banks, such as neobanks like bunq and saving tools like Raisin.

READ MORE | Dutch savings accounts: banks with the best interest rates

Authorising payments: QR codes and scanners

After opening your Dutch bank account, the fun can begin: Shopping! To purchase things online with your Dutch bank card, you’ll need to authorise your payment. This can be done either by scanning a QR code with the banking app on your phone or via a handy little scanner provided by your bank.

Whether you use the scanner or your phone really comes down to personal preference. Some banks, such as ABN AMRO, send you their scanner (the “e.dentifier”) automatically and require you to use it the first time you log on to their internet banking system. After this, you can switch to just using QR codes — no need to worry about an extra device!

Other banks, such as ING, use QR codes as default but will send you their “ING scanner” if you request it. Having a scanner is useful if you don’t have a smartphone or tablet or if you prefer not to install the banking app on your phone.

Sending money in the Netherlands: iDEAL & Tikkie

The Dutch are famous for, well, going Dutch. However, instead of everyone pulling out their separate bank cards to pay for their share of the dinner, it’s common for one person to pay everything — and then send a bill to their friends later. 

How can you do that? Simple! Send them a Tikkie. Tikkie is an immediate money transfer system that uses a phone app to send a request for money. It’s probably the Dutch people’s favourite payment system, so you’ll be Tikkie-ing away in no time!

READ MORE | Tikkie etiquette: the do’s and don’ts of asking for money in the Netherlands

And what about when you go on an online shopping spree online or need to pay a bill? Then iDEAL is the way to go! iDEAL is a simple way to pay online without having to enter all your card details. Instead, the service prefills your purchase information into your internet banking environment for you to complete your purchase. All you need to do is authorise your shopping with a QR code or your bank scanner.

Sending money abroad from the Netherlands

Now that you have a Dutch bank account you can, of course, use it to send money home from the Netherlands. However, you’ll notice that the bank will charge you for international transfers (and sometimes a lot). Luckily, there’s a different way for you to send money to and from the Netherlands for cheap!

Additional insurances with your Dutch bank account

When you open a bank account in the Netherlands, you’ll most likely be asked if you want to purchase any insurance policies together with your account.

READ MORE | 7 Dutch insurances you never knew you needed

Often, banks in the Netherlands offer everything from home to car to travel insurance. Take a look at what your bank has to offer and decide which (if any) are best for you! 

Opening a Dutch bank account for your child

Do your children need a Dutch bank account? No problem! In the Netherlands, bank accounts for children are usually divided into two categories: 

  • “Youth” or “children’s” accounts are for kids up to 12 years old, and 
  • “young person’s” accounts are for those aged 12 to 18. 

The details for these account types differ a little depending on which bank you choose. The good thing is that they’re all made with the aim to give your child some autonomy — while also giving you the ability to monitor their spending. 

Setting up a Dutch bank account for your children is similar to opening one for yourself. You can easily open an account for them online or at a branch, provided that you have your identification documents in order. You may also have to sign an internet banking agreement for your child. 

Joint bank accounts in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, you can also easily open a joint account together with your partner. Depending on your Dutch bank, you can open a joint account directly via their banking app, or you can arrange a meeting in your local branch.

Sometimes banks offer a number of packages to choose from when setting up a Dutch joint account, so check which services your bank provides. 

Common terms when opening a bank account in the Netherlands

Betaalrekening/BetaalgiroTransaction account
Pinpas/Bankpas/BankkaartDebit card
SpaarrekeningSavings account
PinnenPaying by card/withdrawing money from an ATM
Credit card (English spelling)Credit card
BetalenTo pay
LenenTo borrow

Opening a bank account in the Netherlands can be a daunting task — but if you know how to do it, it’s easily manageable. You’ll also be happy to hear that most Dutch banks have plenty of experience with expats, and will know just how to help you out!

What Dutch bank will you open an account with? Tell us in the comments!

Opening a bank account in the Netherlands: frequently asked questions

There are! The two most popular sustainable Dutch banks are SNS and Triodos. If you want to know more about how banks in the Netherlands measure up against each other on things such as sustainability, labour rights, and animal welfare, you can use the Eerlijke Bankwijzer (Honest Bankpointer), which investigates how Dutch banks invest your money.

If you want a Dutch bank that operates in English, ABN AMRO or ING are your best choices. ABN AMRO has everything on their website in English, and so does ING (though it’s not as complete as ABN AMRO’s). Both also offer their mobile banking app in English. If you want a bank that’s specifically tailored to your needs as an international, bunq is the bank to go with! It’s fully online, English, and made specifically for internationals.  

Credit cards are not very used in the Netherlands. Most people will only carry around their debit card and leave the credit card (if they have one) for bigger purchases or for shopping abroad.

Though not very common, it’s still possible to get a credit card in the Netherlands. You’ll need to apply with your Dutch bank and provide proof that you receive a stable and sufficient monthly income. There are different options for Dutch credit cards, including student credit cards.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in June 2015, and was fully updated in September 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Amsterdam falls (very) short on 2023 plans for new housing: thousands of homes missing

Modern Social housing in terra colors containing modest family apartment houses in Ypenburg, The Hague, Netherlands

Will the Netherlands ever make it out of this housing crisis? (Realistically, yes, but it sometimes it doesn’t feel like it). The newest development is that the city of Amsterdam isn’t able to build enough new homes for everyone.

The city is lagging far behind on its 2023 housing construction plans — some 3,000 homes behind, to be exact.

The goal was to build 7,500 new homes in 2023, but now it’s expected that only 4,500 of them will be done by the end of the year. 😮‍💨

Amsterdam, please give us homes

The costs of building new homes are rising. This time, it’s due to things such as more expensive building materials.

The focus that is suffering the most is homes for medium-priced rentals. The goal was to build 3,000 of these homes, but in the first half of 2023, the city only built *drumroll please*… a laughable 211. 

The reason? Uncertainty about rent regulations on a national level. It’s hard to know what will be considered a “medium-price rent” soon, so investors are opting out of buying them.

READ MORE | 7 places to live near Amsterdam: the ultimate guide

Social housing, on the other hand, seems to still be up to standard. Many corporations are still investing in these construction projects, so the sector has managed to keep its head above water. 

In the first half of the year, 1,576 social rental homes started being built.

So, what now?

As Het Parool writes, Housing councillor Reinier van Dantzig is now considering “transformation projects” to counter this “terrible” delay — where existing buildings are converted into new homes. 🏠

READ MORE | Where to live in Amsterdam: the 2023 neighbourhood guide

On top of that, Van Dantzig is also asking the government for extra money. He wants there to be a special fund for construction projects that are in danger of being postponed or stopped due to poorer economic conditions.

Right now, it’s being investigated which projects in Amsterdam are eligible for this. An emergency debate is also scheduled for tomorrow, September 27, to discuss the next steps. 

What do you think of these construction projects? Tell us in the comments!

The Netherlands is drowning in tourists (and doesn’t have enough space for them)

Image: Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/X7P5C1K73qU

Everybody wants a bit of the Netherlands. How could they not? The land of windmills and bikes appeals to tourists and business travellers alike. The problem? There is not enough space for all of them.

According to AD.nl, the Netherlands will welcome about 21 million foreign tourists this year — on top of 29 million Dutchies who like to vacation in their home country. 

According to the Dutch Tourism & Conventions Board (NBTC), this represents a 30 per cent growth in tourists and business travellers. This year alone. 😳

Where is everyone coming from?

Germans, in particular, are increasingly flocking to the Netherlands, accounting for about 7 million foreign guests. Tourists from other countries like the UK and China are lagging behind because of COVID-19 restrictions.

COVID-19 restrictions? Yup, the UK and China stand out in how they handled the crisis because their restrictions lasted much longer. As a result, there are disproportionately fewer visitors from these countries now.

READ MORE | More and more tourists flock to the Netherlands each year: here’s why

Still, the non-Dutch visitors account for approximately 21 million visitors to explore this bike-filled land. That being said, the number of Dutchies having a staycation will stay stable at almost 29 million.

In total, that leaves the Netherlands with almost 50 million tourists! And, of course, 50 million people shifting around this tiny, flat country will lead to some spatial issues. 

Okay, so what happens now?

Regardless of whether someone is from the Netherlands, all these people take on a “tourist” lifestyle, and they need shelter in places like campsites, hotels, and other accommodations.

READ MORE | 9 tourist traps in the Netherlands (and the best alternatives)

The result? There is literally not enough space for everyone. Because of this, “doing nothing is no longer an option,” NBTC director Jos Vranken tells AD.nl.

It’s not just for the tourists, but something also has to be done to make sure that certain areas stay livable for the locals.

@driplist Which other ones did we forget to mention? 😅 #livinginthenetherlands #netherlands #amsterdam #touristinamsterdam #hetboeitmeniet #dutchstories ♬ Chill Like That – Sunday Scaries & PiCKUPLiNES

The NBTC is taking action by asking to be a part of the discussion regarding spatial plans in the Netherlands.

Specific cities are also starting to take matters into their own hands. In Amsterdam, for example, attempts are being made to reduce tourism because the quality of life is under pressure.

Have you noticed an increase in people moving around your city in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments!

Considering an MBA in Amsterdam? Meet Nyenrode Business University

Image: Nyenrode Business University/Supplied

You thought your student days were behind you, but lately, you’ve been toying with the idea of getting an MBA. Good on you! 

Deciding where to study can be a difficult choice, but if you’re envisioning study sessions along a Dutch canal side (if not, we bet you are now!), then we have a suggestion. 👇

Introducing Nyenrode Business University

Nyenrode Business University is the only private research university in the Netherlands. It was founded in 1949 by leading businesses such as Phillips, KLM, Shell, and Unilever. Needless to say, it has a strong connection to the business world. 

Rooted in real-life business practices, Nyenrode has provided quality education for seven decades. 

For non-Dutch speaking students, Nyenrode offers three English-taught MBA programmes: a full-time MBA, an executive MBA, and a modular executive MBA in Business and IT.

Good to know: Nyenrode’s full-time MBA is taught in Amsterdam, while the executive MBA and modular MBA are taught in Breukelen (near Utrecht).

While all programmes have a heavy focus on bridging theory and practice to further students’ professional development, Nyenrode knows that its alumni will go on to have important roles in this world. 

This means that they take personal development seriously in their quest to educate responsible leaders. 💪

Welcome to Nyenrode! We were lucky enough to get a personal tour of Nyenrode’s Amsterdam campus, where Ralph welcomed us to the university’s (gorgeous) premises. If you didn’t see our Instagram stories, you might want to check out this virtual tour.

How Nyenrode promotes responsible leadership

Okay, we know “responsible leadership” are two words that are being thrown around more and more these days. But that’s because it’s an increasingly important concept. 🌍

At Nyenrode, though, responsible leadership isn’t just a buzzword. Instead, it’s one of the university’s pillars. Responsible leadership is prompted through small class sizes, immersive experiences, and CEO meet-ups. 

Small class sizes

One of the unique things about Nyenrode Business University is that you’re not going to get lost in a sea of students. All classes have a maximum of 30 to 40 students, meaning you can wave doei to crowded lecture halls and professors who have no idea who you are. 

When we visited one of the lecture halls for Nyenrode’s full-time MBA location in Amsterdam, we were pretty much stunned. Coming from lectures with 500 people in them, this essentially seemed like an intimate dinner setting.

Plus, should your eyes wander past your limited amount of classmates, you’d be looking straight to one of Amsterdam’s most famous canals! Not bad if you ask us — though you should probably stay focused on class. 😉

Breakfast Sessions at Nyenrode help create a sense of community and provide good networking opportunities, too. Image: Nyenrode/Supplied

It’s not all about small class groups, however. Nyenrode actively promotes a sense of community through student networks, alumni gatherings, and so-called Breakfast Sessions.

Breakfast Sessions are some of Nyenrode’s most treasured events and occur four times per academic year. Naturally, they include a delicious breakfast, but you’ll sip your coffee while listening to an inspiring keynote speaker. 

Seated side by side, students and business leaders use these sessions as opportunities to discuss current challenges and offer each other advice and feedback.

Immersive and hands-on experiences

If you’re following the full-time MBA at Nyenrode in Amsterdam, you’ll spend your second semester focusing on key business practices such as:

  • strategic financial management,
  • value chain optimization, 
  • innovation and digitalization, 
  • organisational leadership and talent management,
  • and circular economy and sustainable development.

After learning about each of these practices in Amsterdam, you’ll take part in a European Immersive Module where you’ll listen and give presentations to companies with real-life experience of those practices. 

Just imagine learning about organisational leadership and talent management in your classes, and the next thing you know, you’re shaking hands with the VP of Maersk in Copenhagen as she discusses how Maersk organises its talent management. Pretty cool, huh?

CEO meet-ups: a.k.a networking goals!

Did you like the sound of Nyenrode’s Breakfast Sessions but want to skip the croissants? No problem! Throughout the full-time MBA programme, Nyenrode organises so-called Meet the CEO Sessions.

Similar to the Breakfast Sessions, they offer students and executives a chance to discuss current topics in business and learn from each other. These sessions will expand your professional network considerably.

The result? An increase in your employment options after graduation.! 

Where will you be studying?

While the curriculum is certainly an important factor in deciding where to pursue your MBA, the location definitely also plays a role. 

After all, you already have a few years of work on your back, so you want to study in a place that offers you, one: a professional network or, two: possibilities for a new job after graduation.

Did we hear someone say Amsterdam? 👀

The Amsterdam campus — on the Keizersgracht!

Nyenrode’s full-time MBA programme is located in an old building along the gorgeous 17th-century Keizersgracht canal. 

One of Amsterdam’s three main canals, it runs through the Jordaan neighbourhood, which forms a quieter part of the city centre. 

In fact, you’ll find Nyenrode’s Amsterdam campus smack in the middle of the famous Negen Straatjes — the most gezellig and quirkiest shopping district in Amsterdam. 

If you get tired of the bustle of the Dutch capital, you can retreat to Nyenrode’s cosy courtyard. Image: DutchReview

Together with three other main canals, Keizersgracht and its accompanying streets form Amsterdam’s Grachtengordel (Canal District). 

Why are you telling me this, you may ask? 

Because not only will you be studying in a hella cute area, but you’ll literally be taking your MBA at a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Inside, however, Nyenrode’s Amsterdam campus is no relic. It features a large reception and light classrooms that really make you want to get down to business. 👩‍💻 Best of both worlds if you ask us. 

The Breukelen campus —  yes, that’s a castle

Now, if you’re not too keen on leaving your job to study full-time, then Nyenrode offers two alternatives. An executive MBA and a modular executive MBA in Business and IT

If you opt for one of these, your courses won’t be taught in Amsterdam. Instead, you’ll follow intensive modules on Nyenrode’s campus in Breukelen. Oh, and by campus, we mean a 13th-century castle.

nyenrode castle in breukelen netherlands
SO dreamy. 😍 Image: Depositphotos

READ MORE | Welcome to Nyenrode’s Breukelen campus (and yes, it’s in a castle)

The castle itself had a turbulent history until it was turned into a university campus after WWII. Now, with every new Nyenrode graduate, a new chapter is added to that history — albeit a more stable one.  

Studying abroad is a big step, where will you go?

Ready to jump ship (or flight 😆) and pursue your full-time MBA in Amsterdam? Jazeker!

Before you pack your bags, it’s good to have a clear idea of where you’re going — in life, that is. Yup, we’re talking the long game here! 

So, here are a few of the paths and opportunities that Nyenrode offers its students.

Dip your toes into a start-up paradise

Taking your MBA in Amsterdam means you’ll be living and studying in one of Europe’s start-up capitals. 

While that’s pretty cool in itself, what’s even more impressive is that many of the innovations that are popping up in the Dutch capital are created by the city’s students. 

Moreover, if you begin to feel a little entrepreneurial yourself, Nyenrode is essentially a start-up heaven. The Nyenrode Incubator is located in the Keizersgracht building and offers students a place to work on their start-ups. 

With the incubator, Nyenrode not only offers students a physical space where they can work on something they’re passionate about, but it also promotes an innovative mindset in its cohorts. 

Plus, the incubator gives students real-life experience with responsible leadership and respect for stakeholders — some of Nyenrode’s key values.

Hello, Amsterdam business life!

By now, you know that Nyenrode is directly linked to world-leading businesses through its founding partners. However, you’ve probably also figured out that it isn’t a university that relies purely on its reputation. 

Through continuous cooperation, idea exchanges, and networking, Nyenrode maintains a close relationship with businesses in Amsterdam — and around the world. 

Maybe you’ll be hosting an alumni talk one day. Image: Nyenrode Business University/Supplied

As a Nyenrode graduate, you’ll not only benefit from the Nyenrode name on your resume, but also from the interactions you’ve had with industry leaders at Breakfast or ‘Meet the CEO’ Sessions.

Do a quick LinkedIn sweep and glide right in through the doors of Zuidas’ glossy buildings!

Career change with canal views

Finally, an MBA is the perfect way to accelerate your current career or launch a new one. 🚀

Asides from bettering yourself academically and professionally, you’ll spend your time at Nyenrode focusing on becoming a better leader and familiarising yourself with the European business community.

The university’s well-rounded programme and respected name mean that recruiters and HR offices are well aware of the many attributes a Nyenrode graduate has to offer. Once you add ‘MBA’ and ‘Nyenrode’ to your resume, you bet you’ll be getting some attention. 😏

Ready to invest in your future? Contact Nyenrode via their website or give them a call.

Have you considered taking an MBA in Amsterdam? At Nyenrode? Tell us in the comments below!

At these Dutch banks, you can open an account BEFORE getting a BSN

Image: Depositphotos https://depositphotos.com/photos/person-holding-debit-card.html?filter=all&qview=310736600

So, you need to open a bank account in the Netherlands before getting a BSN? You’ll be happy to hear that that’s geen problem — but only at some banks. 

Upon arrival in the Netherlands, you’ll quickly find that you need a BSN at most banks to open a bank account. That wouldn’t be a problem, except… 

To get a BSN, you need to register with the municipality. To register with the municipality, you need an address. And to get an address, you’ll likely need a job in the Netherlands — for which you need a *drumroll please* … Dutch bank account. 🫠

How do you escape this bureaucratic hellhole? By opting for a bank that lets you open a bank account before getting a BSN!

READ MORE | The best banks in the Netherlands for internationals

What is a BSN? Good question! BSN stands for burgerservicenummer (citizen service number). It’s a personal number allocated to anyone who registers in the Netherlands.

This post might have affiliate links that help us write the articles you love, at no extra cost to you. Read our statement.

Banks with Dutch IBANs that let you open an account without a BSN

There are two banks in the Netherlands that let you open a bank account with a Dutch IBAN (International Bank Account Number) before you get a BSN: bunq and ABN AMRO.

READ MORE | Transaction declined: why don’t my bank cards work in the Netherlands?

The catch? You have to communicate your BSN to them within 90 days. The benefit? This buys you plenty of time to get settled, make your appointment at the gemeente (town hall), and get that much-needed BSN.

So, which is the one for you, bunq or ABN AMRO? Let’s see.👇

1. bunq: High-tech and packed with features 


At the Netherlands’ very own neobank, you can easily sign up in just five minutes. All you need is a form of ID and a few taps on your phone.

Though slightly more expensive than traditional banks, we believe that bunq’s great features justify the price. Think cashback options, automatic saving, multiple sub-accounts and easy money sorting! 

The best part? If you’re already an EEA resident, you can even make your bunq account before moving to the Netherlands! Once you move, you can just change your address — and your account will continue to work like a charm.

2. ABN AMRO: The traditional choice 


ABN AMRO is the only traditional Dutch bank that lets you open a bank account before getting a BSN. 

“If you’re looking for a bank with physical branches, then this is your best bet. Expat-friendly, their app functions perfectly in English, and their employees are self-proclaimed “expat experts”.

On top of your ID card, ABN AMRO asks you to provide a Dutch home address (which, in this economy, is not easy to find 😉). This means you can’t open your account until you have officially moved to the Netherlands.

Banks with foreign IBANS that let you open an account without a BSN

Aside from signing up to the Dutch banks listed above, there is one other way to open a bank account before getting a BSN: signing up to a bank in another European country. Here, you have a choice between N26 and Revolut, two neobanks that operate from different EU countries. 

The benefit is that they’ll let you join without a BSN, and their accounts can be used in the Netherlands. The drawback is that they’ll allocate you a foreign IBAN — and some Dutch institutions like health insurance and phone providers might ask you tothey’lle a local one.

That being said: If you’re not originally from the EU, this is a great way to get a headstart on your Dutch finances as soon as you arrive. If you’re moving to the Netherlands from another EU country, you may as well stick to your home account.

3. N26: Feature-packed and effective


N26 is a Germany-based neobank, and as a result, the IBAN you’ll get from them will be German. But fear not: these are widely accepted across all of Europe and, most importantly, the Netherlands. 

The good thing about N26 is that, since it’s not Dutch, they will never ask you to provide a BSN. All you need to sign up is a Dutch (or European) address!

Their app is in English and hosts heaps of nifty features. The only real drawback is that N26 won’t let you use iDEAL, which is a very popular online payment method in the Netherlands.

4. Revolut: The bank for travellers


Like N26, Revolut is not actually based in the Netherlands. When opening an account here, you’ll be given a Lithuanian IBAN (which you can use in all of Europe).

If you’re a frequent traveller, then Revolut is probably your best choice. Why? Not only does Revolut make it easy-peasy to send money overseas, but they also charge no cost for currency conversion!

To sign up, you won’t need a BSN — only a form of identification, a residence permit (if applicable), and a European address.

Do I need a BSN in the Netherlands? 

The short answer to this question is yes. Although some banks don’t require you to provide a BSN (immediately), you will eventually need to get one after moving to the Netherlands.

Why’s that, you ask? Because you are legally required to register in the Netherlands if you live here — and you will be given your BSN at registration. 

That being said, you can think of your BSN as a sort of social security number — except that it also acts as a tax number and form of national identification. You will need it for most public, financial, and official interactions in the Netherlands. 

What’s the point of opening a bank account before I have a BSN?

The problem with the BSN is that it can take a while to get. Depending on how busy your local municipality is, it can take up to 30 days to get an appointment.

This delays things such as getting a Dutch SIM card, starting employment and, of course, opening a bank account. 

READ MORE | 7 incredible things you can ACTUALLY do if you get a Dutch bank card

If you open a bank account with a bank that lets you provide your BSN at a later point, you’ll be able to get a head start on all things finance in the Netherlands. Hoera!

These banks make the complexity of moving to the Netherlands a bit more bearable. Which one will you go for?

Got a recommendation for a great bank in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below!

Dutch bank accounts that don’t require a BSN: Frequently asked questions

A BSN is always necessary to have a Dutch bank account, but certain banks, like bunq and ABN AMRO, allow you to open your account and provide your BSN later.

Yes. Internationals in the Netherlands can open a bank account in the Netherlands, provided they have valid identification. Most banks will also ask for a BSN (citizen service number), but certain banks, like bunq and ABN AMRO, will allow you to open an account and provide your BSN later.

Yes. ABN AMRO is one of the only banks in the Netherlands that allow you to open a bank account and provide a BSN later. All you need is a valid identification document.

Dutch savings accounts: banks with the best interest rates

Image: Freepik https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/front-view-office-items-with-piggy-bank_11383299.htm#page=2&query=savings%20money&position=14&from_view=search&track=ais

Searching for the perfect Dutch savings account can feel like navigating a maze, but the perfect account has the potential to pump your bank balance to the max.

With housing interest rates up, Dutch banks now have more cash than ever to attract people to invest their money in their vaults — we’re seeing some of the highest deposit rates in 15 years!

From stable returns for the cautious saver to high-yield opportunities for the ambitious investor, this article will demystify the world of Dutch savings accounts, helping you make confident and informed decisions about where to grow your money.

Whether you need to open a bank account in the Netherlands or you want to get into some good savings habits, here are the Dutch banks with the best interest rates.

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The best savings accounts in the Netherlands

If you’re looking for a savings account in the Netherlands with the best interest rates, well, you have a lot of options.

We’ve found the highest interest rates, best banks, and best accounts to earn interest on your money.

Overview: our top picks

BankInterest Rate (September 2023)
Openbank3% for the first six months for new clients

bunq: best for tech-lovers


The Netherlands’ very own neobank, bunq, offers up to 2.46% on savings of up to €100,000. 

Interest is paid monthly, and the account is completely free! Best of all, you can open an account and start earning interest in just five minutes.

📈 Current rate: 2.46%
💶 Withdrawals: Yes, two per month
🇬🇧 Available in English: Yes

Openbank: best for people who want access to their money


Openbank‘s Spaarrekening account currently offers a 3% interest rate on savings of up to €300,000 and even higher for fixed-term deposits.

Your money is also always available for withdrawal, and there are no account costs.

📈 Current rate: 3%
💶 Withdrawals: Yes
🇬🇧 Available in English: Yes

Raisin: best for people who want the highest rates in Europe


Raisin isn’t a bank; instead, it’s a platform that offers different accounts from European banks to get you the best rates in the continent. Raisin continues to offer many ever-changing offers on its site, and it’s best to check these yourself.

One account with Raisin gets you the best rates in Europe. Fixed-term deposits can be as high as 4.40%!

📈 Current rate: 2.76% (NORDAX)
💶 Withdrawals: Yes
🇬🇧 Available in English: Yes

Bigbank: best for people investing long-term


Bigbank is a European bank with an interest rate of 2.7% for savings of up to €100,000 on flexible savings accounts. 

However, fixed-rate savings accounts can have an interest rate of up to 3.5%, starting at €1,000 for a minimum of 12 months.

📈 Current rate: 2.70%
💶 Withdrawals: Yes
🇬🇧 Available in English: Yes

ABN AMRO: best for those seeking a traditional bank


ABN AMRO might not have the highest interest rates for savings in the Netherlands, but it is a brick-and-mortar bank.

If you feel more comfortable with a traditional bank, this is a solid choice — your money will still grow, just a bit slower.

📈 Current rate: 1.25%
💶 Withdrawals: Yes
🇬🇧 Available in English: Yes

What to know about savings accounts in the Netherlands

Interest rates on savings in the Netherlands

Now, let’s talk about interest rates. The Dutch have a saying: “Don’t count your tulips before they bloom.” That applies to savings rates too. In recent years, rates have been on the lower side — even threatening to go into the negatives for a while.

Luckily, they’ve since taken a turn for the better, and now it’s really worth putting your money into a Dutch savings account. However, to get the best possible rates on savings, it’s often worth looking for a neobank like bunq or Revolut, or a platform like Raisin to earn the highest interest rates in Europe.

Safety of Dutch savings accounts

The Netherlands is known for its impressive banking system. The banks here are regulated by the Dutch Central Bank, so you can rest easy knowing your hard-earned cash is in safe hands. Just make sure to choose a bank that’s as solid as the Dutch dikes!

Banking and finances CAN be stress-free! Image: Freepik

When it comes to safety, European banks, in general, are solid. Thanks to the Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS), your savings are protected up to €100,000 per person, per bank. Even if your bank decides to do the unthinkable and go belly-up, the DGS will swoop in and save the day.

Before you start socking away your euros, keep in mind that some savings accounts in the Netherlands might have a few rules. They can be as strict as not eating cheese with your hands (which, let’s be honest, is impossible), or as reasonable as limiting the number of withdrawals you can make in a specific period. Just make sure to read the fine print and choose an account that fits your needs like a well-fitted pair of wooden clogs.

History of Dutch interest rates and saving

Now, let’s talk history. Did you know that the Dutch have been saving money since before bicycles were cool? It’s true! The Netherlands has a long tradition of frugality and financial prudence. Perhaps it’s because they want to save up for endless amounts of cheese and stroopwafels. Whatever the reason, the Dutch know a thing or two about growing their savings like tulips in a sun-drenched field.

Taxes on Dutch savings accounts

Now, when it comes to taxes, the Dutch take it seriously. You don’t want to end up in a fiscal maze, do you? Consult a tax advisor or financial pro to understand your obligations and make sure you’re not caught off guard. Trust me, you don’t want to experience the wrath of the Dutch taxman.

In a nutshell, Dutch savings accounts are as reliable as tulips popping up in spring. Do your research, compare rates, and find a bank that makes you feel like you’re floating through a canal of financial bliss. With a bit of Dutch determination and a pinch of cheese-loving frugality, you’ll master the art of saving money in the Netherlands — and earning some extra cash on it too. 😉

Do you have any money-saving tips? Tell us in the comments!

Disclaimer: This article offers general financial advice. If you are looking for more specific and personal advice, we suggest checking in with a financial expert (or just turning to your mattress stuffed with cash).

Frequently Asked Questions: Dutch savings accounts with the best interest rates

Yes. You can do this as long as you have legal residence or citizenship from an EU country.  

The European Central Bank initially raised interest rates in the Netherlands in 2022. Dutch banks were encouraged to increase their interest rates on savings accounts to combat inflation.

The three largest banks in the Netherlands (ABN AMRO, ING, Rabobank) have all introduced new interest rates to their savings accounts, with increases of up to 0.25%.

A fixed-rate savings account stashes your money away for a set period of time at a set interest rate — sometimes, you’ll be able to choose how long your money is “locked” away for and sometimes, this is set by the bank beforehand. 

Interest rates for a fixed-rate account can be higher compared to standard savings accounts but if you access your savings account before the end of the term, you may have to pay a fee. 

Different banks have different policies about duration, interest rates, and depositing/withdrawing money from the accounts, so it’s best to check your options before putting your eggs into one basket. 🥚

A freely withdrawable savings account means you can withdraw as much money as you want, whenever you want, free of charge. This feature is extra useful if you want some flexibility with your savings.

Dutch Quirk #127: Ring their bike bell while they tailgate you

Image: Depositphotos https://depositphotos.com/photos/bike-bell.html?filter=all&qview=239068418

Ever had a breezy bike ride in the Netherlands interrupted by the harsh sound of a bell ringing behind you? If you manage to crane your head around, you might notice the cause of the sound is a not-so-friendly visitor creeping up on your rear. 

Your initial instinct might be to panic or stop, drop, and roll (word of advice: don’t do that).

What does this bicycled stranger want from me, you might ask? Why did they just ring their bell? Are they cat-calling me, angry with me, or just giving a little salutation? Welcome to the mysterious world of Dutch bike etiquette. 

What is it?

That ringing sound behind you is a way for a Dutchie atop a bike to alert you to their presence while they’re not in your line of vision. 

Maybe you’re about to round a corner, maybe you’re just clambering on your bike in the bike shed (you still haven’t gotten the hang of swinging your legs around it like it’s a well-tamed horse), or maybe you’re at a busy intersection. The sound of another bike can strike at any moment. So, why do they do it?

Chances are, if a Dutch cyclist rings their bell while they tailgate you, they probably want to overtake you — or, in some rare cases, prevent you from crashing into them. 

@rogierbakcomedy Hopping on a bike? Crossing the bike lane? Just know what you’re signing up for. #comedy #dutchnessexplained #ringmybell #fyp #lol #yourguide ♬ Ring My Bell – Anita Ward

The bell is a polite notice to say that you and your rookie international bike moves are endearing but also a bit too langzaam (slow) for their tastes, so they’re probably about to usurp you with skill and grace that will leave you gazing with admiration. 

Why is it quirky? 

One reason this phenomenon might feel so distinctly Dutch is that cyclists from other countries (who, first of all, tend to wear helmets) are less confident manning the bike lane. 

That’s why they usually keep careful 10-metre distances between two-wheelers, and tailgating doesn’t seem to feature in their vocabulary. 

Tailgating doesn’t even feature in fearless Dutchies’ vocabulary either, since to them, that’s just a perfectly reasonable amount of space between bicycles — why would we need a word for it? 

Once they’re on top of that saddle, they sure are comfortable getting up close and personal. 

Should you join in? 

Terrifying and intimidating as this practice may feel at first, it’s certainly thoughtful. We mean, what’s the alternative? 

Having them overtake you in complete silence would undoubtedly make your blood run cold, not to mention the increased risk of a dangerous collision. 

So, it’s advisable that next time you feel bold enough to overtake someone, you give them a similar heads-up before scaring the living daylights out of them. 

Have you experienced this Dutch quirk? Tell us in the comments below!

Yikes, a new rush hour train tax? NS is trying to get the House of Representatives’ approval

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For train passengers who aren’t nine-to-fivers, it might feel like Christmas has come early this year, but for unlucky rush-hour travellers, well, the NS wants to implement surcharges. 🥲

The Dutch railway operator’s CEO, Wouter Koolmees, will run this plan past the House of Representatives in the Hague today, Het Parool reports.

However, it looks like he will have some convincing to do — apparently, much of the VVD, GroenLinks-PvdA, D66, CDA, PVV, SP and ChristenUnie aren’t pleased about the idea for this “peak tax”.

After all, public transport in the Netherlands is already pricey compared to the rest of Europe, and some essential workers (such as teachers, cleaners, and nurses) have no choice but to travel during rush hour.

What’s the damage?

According to plans by the NS, their vision is to force train passengers to cough up a surcharge of €2.50 between 8 and 8:30 AM.

For the lucky few who travel half an hour before or after that allotted time bracket, the surcharge payment will only be €1.50 euros.

READ MORE | Public transport in the Netherlands: the complete guide

On the train home from work, on the other hand, you would only be charged €2 if your commute is between 5 and 5:30 PM.

Not only that but leaving half an hour before or after that period would cost an extra €1.50. How generous.

More perks of not being a nine-to-fiver

However, for those among us who work off-peak, odd hours or don’t work at all, the rush hour surcharges just make life easier.

Around 80% of train journeys outside of these time slots are predicted to become 17% cheaper as a result.

Keep in mind that travellers outside of the Randstad would reap the benefits, too; the surcharge may only apply to particularly busy areas.

READ MORE | Why is there a first and second class on trains in the Netherlands?

Now, all that’s left to do is for the NS to convince the House of Representatives to get on board the surcharge train, which would come into effect in 2026. The question is, do we want them to? 😬

What are your thoughts on this potential new train tax? Let us know in the comments below!

13 unmissable World Heritage Sites in the Netherlands to visit

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There are now 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Netherlands. That’s right — this tiny country is filled to the brim with exciting and unique cultural sights!

Here is the full list of Dutch sites, ranked in the order they joined the world-renowned UNESCO list.

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1. Pre-historic Schokland island fighting against the water

Schokland and its surroundings possess a mysterious past as an archaeological monument and former island. This World Heritage Site lies in the centre of Noordoostpolder and is steeped in cultural history.

It’s home to a sweet old church, a lighthouse keeper’s house, and the Schokland Museum. And according to Statistics Netherlands, just five people are living there!? 🤔

The Schokland museum in all its glory. Image: Depositphotos

Due to the rising sea levels, residents of Schokland retreated to the three most elevated parts of the land by the 19th century — until a major flood in 1825. Archaeologists later found a wealth of largely undamaged treasures buried in the ground.

READ MORE | Four sunken villages discovered in Zuiderzee

There is evidence of human habitation going back more than 10,000 years (that’s prehistoric, yo!), and they’ve dug up all sorts of things, from earthenware, tools, and man-made mounds, to the remains of houses and churches — and even entire graves. Eeek!

2. The Water Defence Lines of Amsterdam

Also known as the Stelling van Amsterdam. This monument is a ring of 46 forts stretching more than 135 kilometres around the city. The line of defence was erected to protect the national stronghold built between 1883 and 1920. 🛡️

As well as the fortifications, the ring consists of an intricate system of dikes, sluices, canals, and inundation polders. In the Middle Ages, the Dutch created a defence system based on these inundations, referring to its flooding areas.

The Stelling van Amsterdam, an interesting historical monument all about Dutch water management. Image: Fort bij Abcoude/Wikimedia Commons/CC2.0

If people were to attack, the lower parts of the country could be flooded, making the area impassible. Genius thinking to make use of what you’ve got, Dutchies!

3. The picture-perfect town and harbour of Willemstad, Curaçao

Willemstad is a town on the Caribbean Island of Curaçao. Yes, you read that right — if you didn’t already know, some municipalities of the Netherlands are located in the Caribbean Sea! 😎

You won’t be able to stop taking photos with these playful colourful buildings in the historic city centre of Willemstad. Image: Depositphotos

Willemstad, a uniquely cute and colourful port town, is where the Dutch established a trading settlement. The site has become a symbol of the growing multicultural community in the Netherlands.

The island was one of the epicentres of the slave trade, so you should also stop by the Kura Hulanda Museum, which talks about the history of the slave trade on Willemstad.

You’ll also be able to walk around the sandy beaches, colourful streets full of street art, and can book tours to get to know about the community’s culture and history.

4. The Dutch windmills at Kinderdijk

In South Holland, the Windmills of Kinderdijk-Elshout is a charming Dutch mill network and a famous man-made landscape built between 1738 and 1740. The area is constructed similarly to the Defence Line of Amsterdam, with polders, embankments, and dikes.

The gorgeous windmills at Kinderdijk offer an authentic look into Dutch culture. Image: Tarod/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

Not only is it a gorgeous and uniquely Dutch site to visit, but it’s got a complex water management system. Maybe not the most exciting words you’ve ever seen, but this is a vital part of the history of the Netherlands.

The Dutch made a huge contribution to this water-handling technology, and these historic windmills can be seen as a way of paying homage to that (in addition to them being a pretty sight and wildly popular among tourists).

READ MORE | Best windmill site in the Netherlands: Kinderdijk or Zaanse Schans?

It has 19 drainage mills, three pumping stations, two discharge sluices, and two Water Board Assembly Houses, which work for the drainage of the land. The windmills essentially keep water out of the older.

5. The impressive D.F. Wouda steam pumping station

Another celebration of technology! They weren’t kidding when they said the Netherlands was the land of water. This World Heritage Site is a steam-powered pumping station that pumps excess water out of Friesland.

The D.F. Wouda Steam Pumping Station is a must-visit for any eager traveller. Image: Depositphotos

It is the largest station of its kind that’s still in use, which is pretty impressive considering it opened in 1920. It now runs on heavy fuel oil and can pump up to 4,000 cubic meters of water per minute!

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #124: Not care about the fact that they’re living below sea level

The Woudagemaal is located in a busy seaside town called Lemmer. The visitor entrance provides you with all the site’s history, an interactive museum experience that the kids will love, and regular tours.

6. The charming Beemster polder

Since the 17th century, the Beemster Polder, a beautiful green expanse in North Holland, has been incredibly well-preserved.

The whole place used to be mostly water. Now, thanks to ingenious and intricate planning, it’s an agricultural landscape made up of fields, roads, canals, dikes, and settlements.

Isn’t the charming Beemster Polder just a sight for sore eyes? Image: Depositphotos

Middenbeemster, a little town in the countryside with horses, moats, a drawbridge, and a central market square, is sure to be a lovely outing in the summer. You can get there using public transport from Amsterdam!

7. The architecturally unique Rietveld Schröder house

Rietveld Schröderhuis, located in Utrecht, is an outstanding piece of architecture designed in 1924 by Gerrit Rietveld. It was built at the request of Truus Schröder-Schräder, whose husband had recently died.

The unique house has a speaking tube that lets you talk to visitors at the door without going downstairs! Image: Basvb/Wikimedia Commons/ CC3.0

Schröder played an important role in the design process because she knew she wanted it to be simple, spacious, and free. She asked for it to be designed without walls — not to constrain her or hide the truth of her emotional life with her three children.

She wanted fluidity and a connection between the inside and outside, to mirror their new commitment to openness.

READ MORE | Mondriaan and Rietveld: Finding ‘De Stijl’ in Amersfoort

Mrs Schröder lived in the house until she died in 1985. The house was restored by Bertus Mulder and is now a museum where you can find out more about her life and the Dutch artistic movement De Stijl, of which the Rietveld Schröder House is an embodiment.

8. The natural Wadden Sea

The Wadden Sea is an intertidal zone of the North Sea, meaning that the area is above water at low tide and underwater at high tide.

Why is a ‘seashore’ on this list? It is one of the largest unbroken intertidal sand and mudflats systems in the world — and is ridiculously biologically diverse. 🔬 As well as all the plants and fishies, it’s home to the harbour seal, grey seal, and harbour porpoise.

While it may not always look like much, the beautiful Waddenzee UNESCO World Heritage Site has lots going on beneath the water. Image: Ollicze/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0

The Dutch part of the Waddenzee belongs to North Holland, Friesland, and Groningen. It has tidal channels, sandy shoals, sea-grass meadows, mussel beds, sandbars, mudflats, salt marshes, estuaries, beaches, and dunes. And what’s more, you can take a tour to walk on them!

9. The famous canals of Amsterdam

An unmissable site if you’re in the Netherlands, the beautiful and picturesque canals of Amsterdam. A definite must-see!

When people talk about “the canals of Amsterdam“, they typically refer to the historical Canal Ring built in the 17th century. The four main canals are Herengracht, Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, and the Singel.

A gorgeous view of the Keizersgracht at dusk, a classic top cultural activity. Image: Massimo Catarinella/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

The surrounding areas form the Amsterdam Canal District (Grachtengordel). These canal belts eventually lead into the Amstel River.

READ MORE | Cruising Amsterdam’s canals is officially the top tourist experience (in the world!)

Why not experience this historical, cultural, and romantic part of the city by booking a boat? From fancy culinary cruises to wading the waters with a paddleboard, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this World Heritage Site.

10. The interesting Van Nelle factory

Located on the Schie in Rotterdam is the former Van Nelle Factory (Van Nellefabriek). The architecture of these buildings interestingly depicts a Russian Constructivist influence, and it is now a popular place for guided tours.

A factory, beautiful? Yes — wait until you see the Van Nelle Factory’s unique architecture making it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Image: Depositphotos

In 2015, the Van Nelle Factory topped the list of The 25 Most Beautiful Factories in the World.

Le Corbusier, one of the pioneers of modern architecture, said the building was “the most beautiful spectacle of the modern age” in 1932. Before that, Howard Robertson declared it “a poem in steel and glass” in 1930. 

11. The historical Colonies of Benevolence

Within the last few years, the Netherlands has gained some new World Heritage Sites. Coming in at number 11 are the transnational Colonies of Benevolence.

There are three settlements in the Netherlands: Frederiksoord, Wilhelminaoord, and Veenhuizen in Drenthe, and Wortel in Belgium — just south of the Dutch border.

The government set up the colonies in 1818 to combat poverty among the population. Poverty-stricken families, beggars, and homeless people from the cities could go and work in the Colonies.

READ MORE | Colonies of Benevolence in the Netherlands added as a World Heritage Site (finally!)

They were given their own homes and a section of land to learn to support themselves, and parents sent their children to school.

12. The New Dutch Water Defence Line

Remember the Defense Line of Amsterdam that we mentioned earlier? Yup, the New Dutch Waterline is an extension of that. It’s the largest national monument and defence network in the Netherlands.

The Fort Everdingen is part of the New Dutch Water Defence Line, a dream for photographers. Image: Johan Bakker/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

Dating back to 1815, this historical line of defence includes embankments, locks, canals and bunkers. They came together to form an ingenious system designed to protect the Netherlands from enemy troops during wartime. 

READ MORE | Provinces in the Netherlands: the easy guide

The system was designed to flood large land areas if enemy troops quickly approached. The line is 220 kilometres long and runs like a green ribbon through four provinces.

13. The Eise-Eisinga Planetarium

Last but certainly not least, we have our latest addition to the family of Dutch World Heritage Sites: The Eise-Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker, located in the province of Friesland.

Dating back to the 18th century, this is the oldest planetarium in the world, and today it’s a museum that’s open to the public. Image: Depositphotos

Friesland now contains four different cultural heritage sites (the Wouda steam pumping station, the Wadden Sea and the Colonies of Benevolence) thanks to the new inclusion of The Royal Eise-Eisinga Planetarium — the oldest functioning planetarium in the world.

The planetarium was invented by the talented amateur astronomer Eise Eisinga in order to prove that a prophecy about planets being on a collision course was wrong — and we’re definitely glad he was right.

The Netherlands has a rich history and beautiful sites to see — take advantage of your time here and visit these historical places!

Which one of the World Heritage Sites in the Netherlands is your favourite? Tell us in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in December 2018 and was updated in September 2023 for your reading pleasure. 

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