Switching utility providers in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide

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So, you’ve managed to secure your dream home in the Netherlands and bravely fought the bitter fight of setting up your power, gas, water, and more β€” but now you need to switch your utility provider for whatever godforsaken reason. 😭 

Don’t fret! Whether you’re moving house, want to switch to green energy, or have spotted a better deal on your utilities that will hopefully save some money on your energy bill, switching utilities in the Netherlands isn’t as hard as you think β€” you just need to know how!

TIP: This guide is for all those who have already mastered the art of navigating the bureaucratic jungle of Dutch utility providers and are looking to switch their current contracts. We have a complete guide on setting up your utilities from the ground up if that’s what you’re looking for! πŸ‘ˆ

Is it possible to switch your Dutch utility provider?

Yes, absolutely! The utility market in the Netherlands is privatised. That means, in theory, you can switch your gas, electricity or mobile contract as much as you like. 

However, there are some things to look out for so you’re not running into unwanted costs β€” and to avoid locking horns with your old utility provider. 

To make things harder, you can choose from a bazillion companies, many of which only offer their services exclusively in Dutch. 😭 

So, before diving straight into the how of switching your utilities, we probably have to address why you’d want to do that in the first place. 

Ugh, adulting. Even worse, adulting in Dutch. πŸ™„ Gas, water, electricity, internet, TV, mobile contract and a telephone line β€” unfortunately, organising your utilities is integral to any expat experience in the Netherlands. Luckily, service providers like PartnerPete can help you find the right utility provider for you! And all that in English. 🀩

Reasons to switch your utility provider(s)

From learning Nederlands to trying ambiguous (mostly fried) Dutch foods, it is always good to know your ‘why’ before facing another hurdle on your expat journey in the Netherlands. 

Moving house in the Netherlands? You’ll most likely end up switching one of your many utility contracts. Image: Pexels.

Luckily, when it comes to utilities, there are a couple of solid reasons why you might want to switch your provider that will keep you going. 

🚚 You’re moving

Whether you’re moving down the street or all the way from Maastricht to Groningen, moving is probably one of the main reasons you’re considering switching your utility providers. 

You’ll sometimes be required to change your utility company because they don’t provide for you now that you’ve moved out of their target areas. For example, water is provided by 10 different suppliers in the Netherlands that supply to pre-determined regions only. 

Sorting your utilities in advance will save you lots of stress when moving. Image: Depositphotos

In other cases, some internet providers might not be able to supply internet to your new home because it’s not connected to the proper cable, but others will. Or you might notice that your current electricity company is much more expensive where you’re moving than before. 

Either way, should you move within the Dutch country, you’ll most likely be looking at ways to switch up your current utility providers. 

🌱 You want to go green

Although the Netherlands could also be called the ✨land of a thousand windmills ✨, most Dutch energy providers still source their power from non-renewable and unsustainable sources. Disappointing, right?

The last numbers from 2018 indicate that about 42% of energy is sourced from natural gas (that explains all these earthquakes in Groningen!), 37% from oil, and 11% from coal. 

Getting solar panels is becoming more popular in Dutch households. Image: Depositphotos

There is room for improvement, and, luckily for you, the Dutch government subsidises green energy so that the price difference is minimal on the consumer level. 

But not all energy providers are created equal, and some are greener than others. If you’re thinking of living a more eco-friendly lifestyle, perhaps it’s time to reconsider where your energy provider is getting its power from. 

πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ You’re tired of dealing with all the Dutch

Oh, we love the Dutch language. But when it comes to topics beyond the casual ‘Hoe gaat het’ or ‘Lekker, hoor’, this throat-scratching language quickly becomes a pain in every expat’s backside. 

When you’re trying to figure out your utilities in Dutch. 😬 Image: Pexels

But don’t worry, there are options to get your utility services entirely in English! So you can dodge the waterleveranciers, gasaansluitingen and internetaanbieders to jump immediately onto water suppliers, gas ports and internet providers! Easier, right?  πŸ™Œ

πŸ’° You want to save money. 

Aren’t we all dreading that nasty energy bill coming in every month? πŸ˜“ While paying for your utilities is a necessary evil, there are ways to make your utility consumption more budget-friendly.

Of course, you can opt for energy-saving measures like turning your heating off at night or ensuring your home is properly insulated. 🏑 

Saving a bit of extra money with your utilities is really gratifying. Image: Freepik

But one of the most efficient ways to save money on utility expenses is to choose your provider wisely. Try to determine which contracts are offered and what works best for your situation.

For example, a one-year contract with fixed rates ensures that you will always pay the same irrespective of fluctuating energy prices. Or perhaps you spot a deal that gives you 50% off the first 12 months of a 24 months internet contract. 

So, if you’re smart about switching, you can save a proud sum of cash in the long run. Cha-ching! πŸ’°

How to switch your utilities in the Netherlands 

Need to swap only one of your utilities? Geen problem! (No problem!), here’s a breakdown of switching your utilities!

πŸ’§ Water

Luckily, water is one of the easiest utilities to sort out. You won’t have to tackle many choices, as water providers are determined by region. 

In total, ten different companies have divided the Netherlands geographically amongst themselves:

Water supplierProvince
PWN Waterleidingbedrijf Noord-Holland (except Amsterdam-area)
Waterbedrijf Groningen Groningen 
Waterleidingmaatschappij Drenthe (WMD) Drenthe
VitensFlevoland, Friesland, Utrecht, Overijssel and Gelderland
OasenParts of Zuid-Holland
DuneaDen Haag and Leiden
Evides Zeeland (including Rotterdam)
Brabant WaterNoord-Brabant

You can hop onto this useful tool to determine which water provider is responsible for you by inserting your (new) postcode or address. 

How to switch your water provider in the Netherlands

Is a new water provider necessary for you? Switching it up is relatively simple:

1. Communicate your move to your old waterleveranciers. Typically, this can easily be done online. πŸ§‘β€πŸ’»Look out for these tabs on the respective websites:

  • Verhuizing doorgeven (register your move)
  • Wooning aan- of afmelden (register or deregister your home)
  • Aanmelden/Opzeggen (register/cancel)

2. Register your new address with your new or current provider

3. Choose the date on which you want your new water services to begin

4. Check your new water meter and advise the reading to your provider

Caution: Your first water bill in a new house will be based on estimates. So, you might be reimbursed some money at the end of the year! (Or, you’ll have to pay it back.) πŸ˜…

Tap water in the Netherlands is completely safe to drink! Image: Pexels

⚑️ Energy

Usually, you’ll say these two in one breath: gas and electricity. πŸ’‘

You’re likely already relying on a package deal to keep your showers warm, and lights are shining throughout the gloomy Dutch weather. 

There are over 50 energy providers in the Netherlands, so you’re best off looking for another package deal when considering a switch. This is the most common way to get you hooked up to gas and electricity cheaply and simultaneously. 

Switching utility providers might make your energy bills a whole lot cheaper! Image: Depositphotos

Looking to make your home more environmentally friendly? 🌏 That’s an excellent reason to take a closer look at where your utility provider is sourcing their gas and electricity from. 

Another reason is to save some money! πŸ’° Especially during winter, your energy costs can quickly rise to unforeseen heights. 

Most companies offer a calculation tool on their website that can give you a rough estimate of the costs you’re facing with their service. 

How to switch your Dutch energy provider

When looking to switch your utility provider; generally, you’ll have to move in a two-step fashion:

  1. De-register from your old provider. 
  2. Apply to the new provider by providing the following information:
  • Registering your new address
  • Providing an estimate of your monthly or annual usage 

Good to know: don’t worry about momentarily living in the dark (literally and figuratively) when switching your energy provider! Your old company is legally obliged to cover you until you’re hooked up and running on (hopefully) greener and budget-friendlier power. πŸ’₯

πŸ§‘β€πŸ’» Internet 

Life is online nowadays, who can deny it? Unfortunately, switching your internet provider in the Netherlands can be a real hassle sometimes.

For example, you might have a problem when moving that your old internet provider can’t supply to your new household. 

With all of us working remotely, you’ll need a stable (and affordable) internet connection at home! Image: Unsplash

Generally, KPN and Ziggo are the most dominant players in the Dutch cable market, and both come roughly at the same price-to-service ratio.

  • The main difference is that KPN offers a DSL connection, while Ziggo can hook you up on cable. You can search your new address on their respective websites if you want to know whether either of the two can fuel your remote working sessions or hour-long Netflix marathons!

How to switch internet providers in the Netherlands

Here’s the step-by-step guide for you to switch internet providers while avoiding any unnecessary confusion:

  1. Check the cancellation policy of your old utility contract. Generally, you will have to announce your switch a month before to avoid extra costs.
  2. Choose and contact your new internet provider at least a month in advance. Sometimes they will have to send a technician to install a new contact or cable. 
  3. Sign up online or arrange a new contact via phone call. Professional advice on the best package deals is readily available through customer service.
  4. Receive a package with a router, cables and instructions to install your new internet connection via mail (if required). 
  5. And there you go! You’re all hooked up and ready to surf the web! πŸ„β€β™‚οΈ

Some buzzwords and phrases to look out for when navigating the website of any Dutch internet provider:

  • Overstappen met internet (switch your internet)
  • Abonnement opzeggen/wijzigen (cancel your registration)

If you want to switch your internet provider because you’re looking for a bargain, we’re afraid to disappoint. Compared to other European countries, the Netherlands has some of the highest internet prices. πŸ“ˆ

πŸ“± Mobile

You might want to switch your mobile contract for many reasons: maybe you’ve just moved to the Netherlands and want a Dutch SIM card, you’re looking to change from prepaid to SIM-only, or you’ve just been recommended a better deal than your current one. 

Whatever the case, you should be aware that there are three mobile contracts in the Netherlands available to you: a mobile-phone contract, a SIM-only contract or a prepaid subscription. 

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

You might also have problems trying to get out of your previous contract. Typically, you’ll have either chosen a subscription that you can cancel monthly (maandelijks opzegbaar) or annually (jaarlijks). 

In the latter case, you have to stick it out until the 12 months are over, or you’ll have to pay for both subscriptions simultaneously. πŸ‘Ž

How to switch your mobile contract in the Netherlands 

Once you’ve figured out which of the three mobile phone contracts you’re willing to subscribe to β€” sim-only, prepaid or mobile-phone contract β€” you can follow these easy steps:

  1. Terminate your current contract up to two months in advance to avoid extra costs.
  2. Sign up for your new contract online, selecting preferences such as monthly data usage or internet speed.
  3. Enter your preferred payment option. 
  4. Wait for your new sim card or phone to be delivered. (This usually takes less than a week.)

Let op: you might need to set up a Dutch bank account for your contract provider to withdraw your monthly payment.

Some extra tips for switching your utility provider 

To close this guide on how to switch your utilities in the Netherlands, we’ve compiled a little list of things to keep in mind to avoid unnecessary stumbling blocks along the way:

βœ… Want to switch your utilities? Especially when it comes to the internet and mobile phone contracts, try to think ahead: you might be locked into a contract for another couple of months. 

βœ… Not sure whether you require a cable or DSL internet connection? Most internet providers have a tool on their website to figure it out!

βœ… Looking to set up your utilities from the ground up? We have the complete guide that’ll have you hooked up to water, power, internet and a phone line in no time! 

Struggling with all the Dutch, or want to make switching your utilities in the Netherlands seamless? Expat-friendly companies like PartnerPete exist to make your life a whole lot easier. You can compare prices on their website and switch your utilities in English!

Do you have experience with switching your utility provider in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in February 2022, and was fully updated in August 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Cara RΓ€ker πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ
Cara RΓ€ker πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ
Cara moved to the Netherlands at fifteen and she is here to stay! After all, there is so much to love about it, except maybe the bread (as every German will tell you). Next to finishing up her bachelor's degree in European politics (dry), Cara loves to do yoga, swim, and cook delicious veggie food.

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