Life in the Netherlands as an international is pretty great — but armed with these top apps, it can be even better.
Check out these 12 of the best apps to have as an international in the Netherlands. And our favourite bit? They are all free! Trust us — you won’t regret downloading them!
1. Buienalarm: always be ready for the rain
If you really want to live like a Dutchie, then you need this app. Buienalarm sends you a notification if it’s going to rain or snow (which is every five minutes in the Netherlands).
It’ll literally say something like “heavy rain shower in five minutes for a duration of 30 minutes.”
Buienalarm is really useful, especially if you’re about to pop out somewhere and it tells you that you’re going to get soaking wet. It also shows you a graph of how much rainfall there is going to be.
It’s basically your most accurate weather partner who can show you detailed weather information. Trust us, Dutchies rely on this app A LOT. Save yourself from being soaked!
2. Tikkie: IOUs the Dutch way
This app is another staple in Dutch culture. You go out for some drinks with your new Dutch friends, and rather than buying rounds at the bar, they will probably “send you a Tikkie” the following day.
Tikkie is an online payment app that allows you to send payment requests via WhatsApp or other messaging services. Once accepted, the money is transferred instantaneously between your bank accounts, making it super handy to streamline those IOUs.
Don’t be surprised if you get sent a Tikkie for a small sum, the Dutch are very conscientious when it comes to splitting the bill. 😉
3. DEGIRO: perfect if you want to get into investing
If you’re looking for a simple but effective app to start investing DEGIRO is the way to go.
This Dutch-based investment app is known for being easy to use and for having low fees to help you get started on your journey for financial literacy.
You’ll be able to keep track of your personal finances and spending, the stock market, and the money you’ve invested with ease. DEGIRO is a relatively low-risk investing app, so you’ll be able to learn the ropes without too much at stake.
4. DigiD: identification at your fingertips
This app is essential for getting through the sometimes baffling Dutch bureaucracy. DigiD is an online identification that links to your BSN (citizen service number) and is used by almost every governmental body in the Netherlands.
You’ll need it if you are filling out your taxes, applying for residency, applying for any benefits, and many other services.
You don’t actually need a DigiD to be in the country, but having the app makes your life here so much easier!
5. bunq: the Dutch bank packed with features
We recommend bunq due to the fact that their app is in English, you can open an account before your BSN arrives, and their bank is perfect for Dutchies or internationals. Hallelujah to bunq, our lives are much easier now!
That means you don’t have to make managing your money any more confusing because you don’t understand what it says.
So not only does it save time, but it also prevents some silly mistakes and gives you peace of mind when it comes to managing your finances.
6. 9292: use Dutch public transport with ease
The 9292 app is great as it has all public transport information in one place; it’s like your little travel companion.
No need to open multiple apps in a frantic attempt to try to find out when your next train is, with 9292, you can check times for trains, trams, the metro, and buses.
You can also get up-to-date information on delays, cancellations, and weather disruptions.
You can also personalise it and save your preferences, making the synchronisation of your travel information easier than ever.
7. NS: train tickets in your pocket
You can then use your phone to scan in through the gates and catch your train.
It means you don’t have to worry about buying the train ticket at the station, you don’t have to pay the surcharge for the disposable ticket, and it’s much harder to lose the ticket because it’s on your phone. Sometimes the tickets even come at a discount!
Just go into your tickets on the app, bring up the bar code (the app will automatically brighten your screen) and tap on the gate screens, and it should work just fine. Easy peasy!
8. Too Good to Go: reducing food waste in a big way
Want some deliciously discounted food, and help save the planet? Then Too Good To Go might just be your new favourite app.
The app teams up with local businesses to make up “Magic Boxes” goodies on their sell-by date for only a few euros.
The idea is to help reduce food waste and get you some tasty treats. The app isn’t Dutch but is really popular in the Netherlands, with over two million users. That’s not surprising, seeing how eco-friendly the Dutch are.
9. Woolsocks: essential for your financial management
If you’re looking for ways to manage your finances more easily, save up some money, and kick inflation to the curb, Woolsocks is your app.
This handy finances app gives you an overview of all your spending and expenses, sleek, tidy graphs included to see where exactly your hard-earned money is going.
Through Woolsocks, you’ll also be able to get cashback for shopping you may do through the app. This means you can potentially earn back a percentage of the money you spent buying something. On top of that, you can get discounts on all kinds of things, like clothes and food.
Woolsocks is aptly named after the Dutch saying “saving money in your wool sock” — so it’s only fitting you’ll be saving money and managing those finances like a pro.
10. Flitsmeister: making Dutch driving easy
This app is great if you have a car. It’s saved me from getting a lot of speeding tickets in the past. Before I found the app, I already had two speeding tickets.
But when you are driving in different countries (especially if you are doing a cross-border journey), it’s easy to mess up and get your speed a little off.
Flitsmeister tells you the current speed limit and also lets you know if there is a speed camera up ahead.
This way, there are absolutely no excuses for speeding (even slightly), and you can drive safely and easily, and save yourself money from those silly fines!
It informs you of traffic updates from A to B, speed cameras, speed traps, road reconstruction, incidents, closed roads and if you’re nearing emergency vehicles on Dutch and Belgian. Not bad, eh?
11. Google Translate: the entire Dutch language, digitised
It’s kind of an obvious one, but honestly, this app has been a godsend. This is especially so if you’ve just arrived and had absolutely no idea about the Dutch language.
Google Translate allows you to copy and paste Dutch sentences and translate them into English (and other languages). You can also screenshot something on your phone, upload it to the app, and it will translate it all for you.
You can also hover over your chosen text or take a photo, and it will translate it all. This is so helpful while shopping or when you receive an important letter in the post. Just take a picture of it, and you’re away. 🤳
Of course, sometimes the translation can be a bit off (a poorly translated letter from the gemeente said that “I was going to die” once).
Nine times out of ten, the translation is correct, and if it’s not, you’re in for a laugh. I honestly don’t think I could live without this app now.
12. Duolingo: learn Dutch phrases easily
We’ve sung their praises many times here at DutchReview, but it’s true, Duolingo really is great.
In case you’ve been living in a cave for a while and haven’t heard of it, here’s the concept.
Duolingo is a free language app in English, which provides you with many different languages that you can learn FOR FREE.
It’s really easy to use, and you can pick how frequently you want to practice the language by setting goals.
This app is perfect for beginners as it starts you off with all of the basic Dutch words that you need to know (like schildpad 🐢). If a free Dutch language app isn’t useful to an international, then what is?
We hope you found this guide helpful and that you’ve successfully got the best apps to have as an international in the Netherlands.
Now you’re set to tackle the big wide Dutch world and explore the lowlands with ease!
What’s the most useful app you downloaded while living in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below!
Disclaimer: Investing involves risks and you can lose your investment. DutchReview is not a financial consultancy. The content as shared on the website and on DutchReview’s social accounts does not contain any financially binding advice.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in February 2018 and was updated in March 2023 for your reading pleasure.