What’s an eSIM? (and why get one to travel to the Netherlands)

Stay connected ๐Ÿ“ฒ

Ahh… cruising along Amsterdam’s picturesque canals, washing down some piping hot bitterballen with an ice cold beer, and tiptoeing through the tulips. What a leuke vakantie (nice holiday)! ๐Ÿ˜โœจ

But wait: what if you want to video call your mum back home and show her the sights? Oh, and what about posting that picture on your Instagram Story? Where are you when I need you, internet?!

Sure, you can rely on unsecured WiFi hotspots, spend a stack on an international data plan from your home country, and waste precious holiday time hunting down a Dutch SIM card โ€” or you can sign up for an eSIM before you even catch your flight. 

But what is an eSIM, where can you get one, and more importantly: how can it help solve your internet problems while abroad? 

An eSIM: what is it?

An eSIM (or e-SIM) is an embedded SIM that provides you with handy access to a cellular data plan, without needing to remove your physical SIM card from your home country. 

a-picture-of-woman-on-cellphone-talking
With an e-sim, you’ll have data at your everyday convenience! Image: Depositphotos

In other words, it lets you change your mobile plan digitally. No external chip needs to be inserted in the phone, as the eSIM works “virtually.” ๐Ÿค“ (New phone number, who dis?)

Unfortunately, this also means that eSIMs don’t necessarily work with every phone. (Handy tip: you can check our list of compatible phones at the end of this article!)

READ MORE | Mobile phones and SIM cards in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide

Because they don’t require a physical card, eSIMs are ridiculously easy to install โ€” making them echt handig (really handy) when you’re on the go and want seamless connectivity. ๐Ÿ›ซ

Picture this: you’re on a trip to the Netherlands and want to show your parents how you’re exploring Amsterdam’s spectacular museums in real time (donโ€™t worry, you can visit an Amsterdam coffeeshop later). 

With an eSIM, you can do that in a matter of seconds, and there’s no need to search for the nearest available WiFi or beg the locals for a hotspot. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 

Should I get an eSIM when coming to the Netherlands?

There are so many benefits when it comes to having an eSIM when visiting the Netherlands, or practically any place you don’t call home.  

With an international eSIM, you immediately have access to the internet and, depending on your chosen plan, sometimes even unlimited data!

These digital SIM cards also let you keep your WhatsApp number, making it even easier to keep in touch with your friends and family back home.

photo-of-international-taking-photo-of-tulips-in-amsterdam-annoying-things-netherlands
Dying to share your holiday snapshots with your friends and family back home? eSIMs’ connectivity makes this an absolute breeze! Image: Freepik

Speaking of digital SIM cards, since eSIMs work via software, you can also switch back to your original SIM card if you need to call someone using your personal number.ย 

Even better: you needn’t be a tech wizard to install and activate an eSIM! The installation and activation process is usually seamless and relatively quick โ€” you simply scan a QR code and start it up via your phone using simple instructions.

If you’re a traveller at heart and won’t just be touring the Netherlands, we suggest you buy an eSIM with unlimited data.

In addition to getting more data than you’ll know quite what to do with, many eSIMs are functional in over 190 destinations and 108 countries.

How do I get an eSIM?

When purchasing an eSIM online, your chosen service will tell you the next steps to activate your plan.ย 

You can find loads of eSIM plans from providers like Holafly, for example, that fit different needs. Certain plans offer 3G or 4G data roaming, while others also offer unlimited 4G data.

If you’re big on sharing things with your friends and family (and all your Instagram followers ๐Ÿ˜‰), you’ll probably prefer having unlimited data โ€” just in case you see a really cute flower bike somewhere and NEED to show it to your nearest and dearest.

Things to know before purchasing an eSIM

First things first: you’ll have to check if your phone is compatible with an eSIM.

You can check your phone’s compatibility by going to your phone’s Settings app and clicking on Mobile or Cellular Data. If you see the option to add a data plan, you’re good to go!  

Some phones that are compatible with an eSIM are the Apple iPhone XR, Fairphone 4, Google Pixel 3, Oppo Find X3 Pro, Oppo Reno 5A, Motorola Razr, Motorola Razr 5G, and Samsung Galaxy S20 โ€” as well as all of their newer versions, of course.

Additionally, some eSIMs are data-only, meaning that they won’t necessarily allow you to make cell phone calls or send SMS messages โ€” you’ll have to use your personal number for that! 

Of course, you can always call people using WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. ๐Ÿ“ž

What data plan do you usually use when visiting the Netherlands? Will you be using an eSIM from now on? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image:Freepik
Lea Shamaa ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ง
Lea Shamaa ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ง
Lea has a passion for writing and sharing new ideas with the world. She enjoys film photography, Wes Anderson movies, fictional books and jazz music. She came to the Netherlands in 2019 for her media studies and has fallen in love with the country and its culture ever since. She loves to ride her bicycle in the city but also feels the need to overtake everyone on the bike lane (she's working on it).

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I wish you would write this is an “ad” on top of this article. Pricing is unjustifiable, one could simply have it cheaper by getting a prepaid sim.

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