Can I drink tap water in Amsterdam?

So, you’re quenched for thirst and wondering if you can drink the tap water in Amsterdam. Knowing where to get safe drinking water in a foreign country can be a little daunting, so what’s the deal in the Netherlands?

We’ve all heard horror stories about drinking tap water in foreign countries, and the last thing anyone wants on a vacation (or at any time) is to be stuck inside on the toilet. So, can you drink tap water in the Netherlands? Let’s take a look…

Is tap water safe to drink in the Netherlands?

Good news: tap water is totally safe to drink in the Netherlands, especially in Amsterdam where the tap water is often better quality than bottled water. In fact, Dutch tap water is the second highest quality in Europe, scoring 7.1 out of 10 in a study.

In the Netherlands, water companies use advanced technology to filter surface water without using chlorine or fluoride. High levels of chloride can be harmful to the environment, so it’s a major plus that Dutch tap water has none of it. The calcium content is very low, making it softer water than other regions of Europe. Water that is referred to as “soft” causes less damage to appliances, like washing machines. 

The Netherlands has some of the best tap water in Europe! Image: DutchReview

Another bonus is that the taste is known for being good. In fact, in the same study, it was found to be tastier than bottled water! However, you may find that Dutch water tastes different from your home country — that’s because of the low calcium content. Rest assured, it won’t take long for you to adjust. So don’t be shy to fill up your water flask and skip the store’s bottled water!

Is it safe to drink from public drinking fountains in Holland?

Public drinking fountain in Amsterdam.
Public drinking fountain in Amsterdam. Image: Brin Andrews/Supplied

Public drinking water in the Netherlands is very safe since it is purified in the same way as regular tap water. You can find drinking fountains all around Amsterdam, many of them colourfully painted or even mosaiced. Additionally, there are also water bottle filling stations, which you’ll find in many parks and streets. There are even websites that help you locate the nearest drinking fountain for wherever you are in the Netherlands. Now that’s cool! 

Can you ask for tap water in a restaurant?

When going out for dinner in the Netherlands you can ask for tap water, but most of the time you’ll be charged for a glass or bottle. If your stars align and the goddess of free water bestows an enchanted kiss upon you, you may stumble upon a restaurant that has no problem serving totally free tap water. Of course, you can always ask the question of whether a restaurant charges for tap water. 

Help! Why does Dutch water create white build-up on my tap?

As mentioned, the calcium content of Dutch water compared to the rest of Europe is low, but it’s still there. Calcium build-up was something I had never encountered before coming to Europe, so when clumps of white started gathering in my kettle and around my taps I had no idea what to do. 

Calcium build-up is when white deposits start forming as a result of the calcium in the water. This can happen in your toilet, shower, taps and kettle. It can affect the quality of water coming out of your tap, as the deposits can break off. This is particularly unpleasant, and not very good for you, especially when the deposits land up in your cups of tea!

Luckily, there’s a simple solution to that. You can purchase products to clean out the calcium at supermarkets or stores like Action. You can also use good old undiluted white vinegar, which you can soak your showerheads in for a new shiny finish. I recommend cleaning out your kettle every month to prevent long-term build-up.

Have you tried the water in Amsterdam? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!

Feature Image: Daria Shevtsova/Pexels
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in September 2020, and was fully updated in July 2021 for your reading pleasure.

Emily Burger
Emily grew up in South Africa but has also lived in Egypt, the UK, Canada and now the Netherlands. She first came here for her Bachelors in Arts and Culture at Maastricht University and soon fell in love with the land of canals, clogs and cheese. When she's not daydreaming about sci-fi movies or countries yet to explore, you can find her writing for DutchReview.

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  1. How about the lead reports that we received recently?
    This makes tap water totally unsafe due to the old pipes.
    Can you inform us about that more please?

  2. Use of liquid soap instead of solid soap can reduce the amount of limescale deposits in sinks, helping to keep the enamel shiny, and a drop in the toilet cistern can help there too. It’s probably due to the citric acid that’s usually an ingredient of liquid soap. Just shame about the plastic container that’s later thrown away. Brita filters greatly reduce the quantity of calcium carbonate that ends up in your tea, which improves its flavour as well as appearance.


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