Digital tools for life in the Netherlands

In a country like the Netherlands — a land filled with bureaucracy — it probably comes as no surprise that digital tools to manage your form-filled life can come in VERY handy. 

There are several digital tools that we would highly recommend you get while living here. Some are almost mandatory, given how often they are required for various aspects of life in the NL. 


If you managed to step foot inside the Netherlands without hearing or seeing the word DigiD, then I salute you, you have managed a miracle. A DigiD is essential to a bureaucratic and legal life in the Netherlands. 

What does a DigiD do? 

A DigiD is quite literally your identity — at least digitally that is. Imagine life on the Dutch web as being like a club-filled street on a Friday night. In order to get into the various fun clubs such as healthcare institution, educational institution and governmental institution, you’re going to have to show your ID. 

This is where your DigiD comes in. It acts as a verified form of identification that allows you access to these many institutions and services — like the tax office. While you can sometimes get in with other forms of ID, it takes a lot more waiting, sweating and scrutiny than simply using your DigiD. 

However, for many services (such as health insurance) a DigiD is necessary if you want to get yourself set up. 

Where can you get a DigiD

Applying for a DigiD is quite easy. Simply head on over to the DigiD website and fill out the form given. 


Let’s say you make it into the digital club and then head to the digital bar for a nice cool beer. You go to pay for your drink and you realise that they only take a specific form of payment. This payment is iDEAL, and you have no idea what that means. Fear not, allow us to explain. 

What is iDEAL? 

iDEAL is an online payment system that circumvents the need to have credit cards. So, if you’re shopping online you may find that when you go to pay, the only form of payment available is not with your credit or debit card, but instead iDEAL.  

Credit cards are so last year (at least according to the Dutch). Image: Dylan Gillis/Unsplash

How can I use iDEAL? 

In order to use iDEAL you must sign up with one of the 12 Dutch banks that have iDEAL functionality. Here is a handy list for you: 

  • ASN Bank
  • bunq
  • ING
  • Knab
  • Moneyou
  • Rabobank
  • Regiobank
  • SNS
  • Svenska Handelsbanken
  • Triodos Bank
  • Van Lanschot

Once you have found the right banking for you, using iDEAL should be quick and easy!

Instead of putting in all your card information, you are taken directly to your online banking where you can transfer your money directly to the business. This means that when you decide to pay for something, all you have to do is press confirm and, voila, you have paid. 

To find out more, check out the ultimate guide to iDEAL payments in the Netherlands.


Let’s say that you are in a real-life club with some friends. One friend has been running back and forth between you and the bar all night, paying for all the luke-warm Heinekens. While you may be shocked by the generosity and wealth of such a friend, you are mistaken if you think they are actually paying for all the beers. In the morning, you may wake, check your phone, and realise that not only do you have a hangover, but you also have a Tikkie to pay. 

What is Tikkie and how does it work? 

Tikkie is a payment app that allows people to send payment requests via WhatsApp or QR code. You simply download the app, input the amount you want paid, and voila, you can send a payment request to anyone with Dutch banking. Those who receive the text will then be directed to their banking to pay the amount requested. 

So don’t let your guard down, we all know that Dutchies can be scrupulous with money. You may find that you will actually be paying exactly what you owe, down to the very last cent. 

InControl – creating digital forms for yourself

Need to manage your to-do list for the day? Or organise a much needed meet-up with some friends? Or maybe you need to impress the office with those mad organisational skills that you brought up in your interview? 

There are many digital platforms and tools that help to make life in the Netherlands a little bit easier to manage. InControl (use this app) is one such tool to help you stay on top of life whether it be your personal, or professional one. 

What is InControl?

InControl is a mobile app and website that helps you to organise your everyday tasks. Whether that be by creating your own checklist for the day, to creating an extensive form for your business. The app is extremely versatile with multiple form templates as well as the option to create your own digital form. 

Stay on top of everything with InControl. Image: Christina

There are many things to bear in mind when integrating into Dutch society, not least of which is the many digital platforms to acquaint yourself with. Perhaps you can make yourself a nice little list to help yourself? (wink wink.)

Have you made use of the above tools? Which one do you find yourself using the most?

Feature Image: Marvin Meyer/Unsplash

Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah originally arrived in the Netherlands due to an inability to make her own decisions — she was simply told by her mother to choose the Netherlands for Erasmus. Life here has been challenging (have you heard the language) but brilliant for Sarah, and she loves to write about it. When Sarah is not acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her sitting in a corner of Leiden with a coffee, trying to sound witty.


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