Setting up internet in the Netherlands: the complete guide

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So, you’re living out your dream of moving to the Netherlands, congrats! Once you’ve found yourself a place to live in the housing crisis, you’ll need the essentials to get your new place up and running. That means heating, water — and internet. But how do you go about setting up your internet in the Netherlands?

Let’s be honest, setting up your utilities is always a process — especially in a different country. When choosing your internet in the Netherlands, there are so many things to consider, such as: 

  • What type of internet connection should you go for? 
  • Which Dutch internet provider is the best value for your money? 
  • How fast can you get your internet connected?

Never fear loyal internet-user, we’ve got the answers to all your questions about setting up your internet in the Netherlands. 

Can’t wait to get connected? Here’s what we’ll cover:

Types of internet connections in the Netherlands

Your first step is figuring out what type of internet connection you want. (Wait, there’s more than one?) 

The most popular way to set up your internet in the Netherlands is via cable. Nearly 98% of Dutchies choose to connect to the web this way. If internet speed is important to you, cable internet is one of the best options in the Netherlands. The downside is that most cable internet subscriptions are sold as part of a package with a television subscription. This can make it costlier, particularly if you’re not a big TV watcher. 

The next most popular option in Dutch homes is ADSL. ADSL is delivered through copper cables. It can, however, be a more expensive option, as you have to pay for both a phone line connection and a separate contract with the internet service provider. 

If your need for speed outweighs how much you’re willing to pay, then a fibre optic connection might be the one for you. It does seem to be the cutting edge of broadband technology, but it turns out that many Dutchies who have fibre optic cables don’t actually use the connection.

TIP: Moving into a small apartment? Check with your neighbours if they might like to share the cost of an internet subscription!  (Yes, that’s actually a thing)

How to set up your internet in the Netherlands (in four simple steps)

When you’ve decided what type of internet you would like, you can start the process of setting up your chosen connection. The good news? That takes just four easy steps. 

1. Choose your Dutch internet provider

The Netherlands has some of the fastest internet in Europe from trusty Dutch providers. When choosing your provider you’ll want to take into account availability in your area, speed, price, and customer service. 

Here are some of the most popular internet providers in the Netherlands:

English-speaking internet providers

It’s hard enough trying to work out how to set up your internet in your own country, let alone in a whole new language! Thankfully, there are some Dutch providers, or intermediaries like Partner Pete, that can get your internet connected in English. 

Setting up your internet in the Netherlands can be an easy process! Image: HayDmitriy/Deposit Photos

2. Get in touch with the provider

Found your perfect internet connection and provider? Now it’s time to get in touch. However, despite the Dutch being the best non-native speakers of English, many company websites are still only available in the national language. This also goes for many Dutch internet providers.

The good news is you can set up your internet in-store or over the phone. There is a high chance you will speak to someone who can walk you through the process in English, but you still might want to look up the Dutch word for fibre optics (it’s glasvezel if you were wondering 🙆‍♂️). 

3. Sign your Dutch internet contract

You’ve done it! Finally, you have an internet contract in your hands (or most likely on your computer screen). Unless you’ve signed up through an English-friendly provider it’s likely in Dutch — do your best to understand it, or perhaps ask a Dutch friend for some help.

The main thing to watch out for is those enticing “new customer deals”. They often try to draw you in by offering a slashed price for the first few months, but then drastically increasing the bill after that. 😬 Don’t stress out too much though. Good comparison websites will give you a fairly comprehensive overview of what a contract is offering. 

4. Get your internet up and running

Now, this is the (relatively) easy part. Most providers will send out an installation service or send you the tools and instructions to set it up yourself. 

Average internet speeds in the Netherlands

If you haven’t heard, the Dutch internet is pretty speedy — in fact, the Netherlands has some of the fastest internet in Europe. The average download speed in the Netherlands is about 136 Mbps (megabytes per second).

How do the Dutch get such speedy internet? Part of the reason is that the country is so flat. Additionally, the Dutch government understands the necessity for fast internet, with a goal to provide all Dutch citizens with access to fast fixed-connection broadband internet (at least 100 megabits per second) by 2023.

Things to know about internet in the Netherlands

Getting connected to the internet in the Netherlands can be done in just four steps. Image: LinkedIn Sales Solutions/Unsplash

Before you rush to get your house connected in the Netherlands, there are a few handy tips you need to know. 

You’ll likely need a Dutch bank account

Generally getting Dutch bank account will make many aspects of life in the Netherlands so much easier. Many Dutch internet providers accept payments through iDeal (an online payment method) which only works with Dutch banks. 

However, if you really don’t want a Dutch bank account and still need internet, the following providers offer some alternatives. 

  • T-mobile lets you order an internet subscription in store.
  • XS4ALL and Ziggo let you order one over the phone. 
  • Solcon lets you order one online as long as you provide your IBAN (bank account) number.

Most contracts are at least 12 months

This is why you need to check your contract with a fine-tooth comb! If you’re staying in the Netherlands for a short amount of time, we’re sorry to tell you that you are going to be hard pushed to find an internet contract for under a year. 

Many contracts let you cancel before the end of the year, but it will probably incur a penalty fee. This fee often means you end up paying the same amount as you would for the whole year. If you’re a short-term resident you may want to think about just getting mobile internet for the time you’re here. 

You might not have a choice for what type of connection you can receive

When it comes to getting cable internet, you may find that your choice is restricted in terms of providers. It may be that there is only one provider that can supply internet to your home. That’s why it’s best to do your research when it comes to what connections are available in your area. 

In a hurry? Cable internet is the quickest to set up

Since cable internet is the most popular kind of connection in the Netherlands, providers are a dab hand at setting it up. Not only that, but it also means you can get your internet, TV, and landline set up in one fell swoop. 

Mobile internet in the Netherlands

You’ll need mobile internet in the Netherlands to check train times, log onto your bank, or call a friend when your bike has mysteriously disappeared. Image: Daria Shevtsova/Pexels

This might be the option for you if you’re only in the country for a short period of time. The most common way to get mobile internet (i.e. data) is when you get a Dutch pre-paid SIM card or contract.

However, this typically isn’t the best way to sign up for your internet. If you work from home or stream or download a lot, speeds can be a little slow. Meanwhile, data doesn’t come cheap in the Netherlands, so it can end up costing you a pretty penny.  Finally, data is normally capped every month (unless you can afford unlimited data — you baller.💰)

Dutch internet package deals

If you know you are going to be watching a lot of TV or making a lot of calls within the Netherlands, these are really worth considering. Package deals are hugely popular in the Netherlands and could save you a lot of money. 

TV and internet deals

Many Dutchies opt for getting their TV and internet together (that’s that 98% we talked about earlier). You can choose use a separate internet provider from your cable network, if you’re desperate to make your life more complicated. 😉

A lot of basic cable packages include all the standard Dutch channels, as well as some expat favourite channels like the BBC, CNN, and MTV. You can also choose to upgrade to a premium package with all the sports and movie channels your heart desires. 

TIP: If you know straight off the bat you want TV, internet, and mobile data, you can get all these in one handy package. Some providers offer handy 3-in-1 packages so you don’t have to trawl through loads of different contracts. 

Where can I compare Dutch internet providers?

Now, we know you want to get the best deal on your internet in the Netherlands. We’re not going to tell you which provider will be right for you. There are too many factors to consider for a one-size-fits-all contract. However, there are a few comparison sites out there that offer comprehensive overviews of a range of contracts. 

Do I need a VPN in the Netherlands?

Not necessarily, but it is worth considering. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) protects your privacy when you’re online. They can help you browse anonymously, and disguise your network to make it look like you’re surfing from another country.  

VPNs aren’t the cheapest thing, but they’re worth it if you want to access content only available outside of the Netherlands. It’s a godsend if you’re addicted to a random Australian show on Netflix. 

That’s everything you need to know about setting up your internet in the Netherlands! Now go ahead and surf the web to your heart’s content while you live in this lovely flat country

How were your experiences connecting internet in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: AndrewLozovyi/Deposit Photos

Chloe Lovatt 🇬🇧
A British native, Chloe has a love for other languages and cultures, having lived in Spain before moving to the Netherlands. She is keen to explore the Dutch landscape, cultural spots and — the most important — food! After being here for a few months she already has developed a mild addiction to kibbeling.

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