The guide to sorting utilities in the Netherlands

The dreaded task of sorting your utilities in the Netherlands, is just one thing that you’re going to have to contend with when you move to the Netherlands. When I first moved to the Netherlands, I had no idea what to do. This was not helped by the fact that there is also limited information out there (unless you know where to find it of course). This guide to utilities in the Netherlands will cover information on gas, electricity, water, internet, TV, telephone and mobile. I apologise that this isn’t a usual sassy DutchReview article (I’ll try, I promise), but these things have to be done.

*Note: before any of this can be possible, you need to have a proof of identity (ID card or passport), proof of living arrangement (rental contract etc) and a bank statement or proof of residency from the Gemeente.

It’s also nearly always necessary to have a Dutch bank to pay for all of these (direct debit).

Our face whenever we think about organising our utilities – I feel you. Lets begin…

Gas and electricity

What do I do?

In most cases, gas, electricity and water are already connected to your property. The only thing you need to do is to transfer them into your name and change providers if you wish.

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Electricity and gas are managed by a regional network operator; however, you can choose a private provider to distribute the utility. As a result, you can change providers and shop around. Before you do this, you need to check with your landlord/rental provider and see if any utilities are included in the rent. This should be found within your tenancy agreement (contract). If you can’t find it, it’s best just to check anyway. If it is provided, then you don’t need to do anything further.

When I was collecting the keys, the rental agency gave me a name and a number to call for our utilities and I organised it with them. This was great until I realised that I could have just got it cheaper if I shopped around, which I had no idea about at the time.

Another way of saving some money is using most of your electricity at night. If your property has a meter fitted, you can get reduced night tariff. This means that between the hours of 23:00 – 07:00 on weekdays and all day on weekends, it is cheaper. I take advantage of this by taking showers before bed and using my washing machine mainly on the weekends. It saves you a lot of money!

If you’re still REALLY confused and you don’t want to organise it on your own, there are a few sites out there in English(Meet Pete!) that organises all of your utilities for you.

TOP TIPS:

  1. Compare the price – use a comparison site or DIY
  2. Decide what energy you want – green or not
  3. Decide what contract you want – long term or short term contract
  4. See if there is a current discount

 

What providers are there?

Usually, gas and electricity are supplied together, from the same provider. However, it is possible to do it separately (I currently have two separate providers and it’s a bit cheaper).

Here is a list of gas and electricity providers to get you started:

Greenchoice
Nuon
Engie
Eneco
E.ON
BudgetEnergie

As you can see all of this is in Dutch and the contracts and such will be that as well. If you wanna save your time (and money), you might just take the Partner-Pete route for gas and electricity they will take care of your warmth & light needs and will do it all in English.

 

Utilities in the Netherlands: Water in the Netherlands

What do I do?

Water is the easiest utility to set up, because you don’t really need to do anything! You cannot change water providers – they are administered regionally. There are 10 different water districts in the Netherlands and one of them will be yours, depending on where you live. The only thing you must do is either ask for landlord what the provider is, or search for it here, by putting your postcode in. If you live in any of these major cities, here is the list of your water suppliers:

What providers are there?
Den Haag/Leiden: Dunea
Rotterdam: Evides
Utrecht: Vitens
North Holland: PWN Waterleidingbedrijf
Amsterdam: Waternet

You then call them up and change your name and bank account details and provide them with a meter reading. Don’t want to do all that? Partner Pete can help you out with all your water needs
Note: When you are first charged, it is based on your estimated usage. This means by the end of the year you could be eligible for reimbursement (or the unlikely event that you have to owe them money).

Also, it’s completely safe to drink the tap water in the Netherlands. It’s not too hard either, so it tastes pretty good too. The good news is that it won’t cause much limescale build up for this reason.

Utility number one: Internet

What do I do?

Ziggo is the main internet provider if it’s via a cable network.
Unfortunately, fibre-optic is not very widely available in the Netherlands.

Internet providers also usually offer an all-in-one package deal. This usually includes a phone line.

As with many parts of the world, the internet is heavily relied upon in the Netherlands. As a result, there are many options you can choose from when it comes to an internet connection. These are ASDL, wireless internet, cable and fibre optic. ADSL is by far the most common in the Netherlands and it is usually connected up through a fixed line. However, if you are after a cable connection, the availability relies solely on the connectivity strength where you live.

Don’t forget, you can buy internet on its own, you don’t have to be swayed by package deals if you don’t think you are going to use all of the services. You can use good comparison sites for this though.

Luckily there are loads of places to get free WIFI in the Netherlands and you’re going to need it, seeing as it takes three weeks to connect (yes you heard right, THREE weeks without internet) and you need to sort your other utilities.

utility guide will help
Your face after the free public wifi crashes for the 66th time

Maybe you’ll get lucky like me and live next to some lovely neighbours who give you free WIFI until you get yours sorted. Dutch people are nice, I promise!

Don’t want to get stuck in a Dutch conversation with an internet-company? The Internet, TV and phone route by Partner Pete can take care of all your troubles here, not even costing you anything extra (the cable company is paying them, so they don’t have to mess about in English, nice deal huh?)

What providers are there?

  • T-Mobile
  • Tele2
  • telfort
  • Online
  • Ziggo (customer service in English, allegedly)
  • KPN

Utilities in the Netherlands: TV

Not much to say about Television in the Netherlands, but most providers like Ziggo and such also have German and British channels – so might be nice to have 🙂

The types of packages available are likely to vary across the different providers. Ziggo is the largest company for those wishing to get digital television via the cable network.

Utilities in the Netherlands: Telephone

Landline phones are getting a lot less popular nowadays, with the rise of cheap mobile phone calls, so you may want to consider whether you really need one. It would be a lot cheaper for you to buy a package without a fixed-phone, if you are sure that you will not need one. However, if you do need a telephone line, do it quickly, as it can take a week to be set up. KPN owns the phone lines and this can’t be changed right now unfortunately.

 

Who even uses landline any more? 😉

What providers are there?

Phone line providers in the Netherlands:

  • Ziggo   (customer service in English)
  • Telfort
  • Tele2
  • KPN

Utilities in the Netherlands: Mobile

What do I do?

Your phone and SIM will work in the Netherlands, even if you’ve come from another country. However, it’s worth getting a Dutch sim, even if it’s just temporary. If you don’t it makes it expensive to make calls (especially if you’re trying to organise your utilities) and it makes it easier for Dutch numbers to get hold of you. You can order sims online for free, or you can go into a phone shop, such as Vodaphone, and get one there.

If you already have a phone:
The provider I use is Lycamobile, as they do great local and international deals. For example, I only pay €10 per month for a local deal: unlimited national mins and SMS, 3GB data and EU roaming. You can also get bundles where you can use your texts and calls abroad (you can use the internet regardless) and they are only a little bit more expensive. Bargain!
NOTE: Lycamobile currently has an amazing local deal: unlimited national minutes and SMS, 7GB of data and EU roaming – all for €7,50 for 30 days!

 

Utilities in the Netherlands
Don’t forget to get out phone insurance too! 😉 We all know this happens often…

Utilities in the Netherlands: Insurance:

Before I go (I hope I haven’t bored you to tears yet) – insurance is something that needs to be touched on. We’ve got an excellent article on insurances in the Netherlands right here at DutchReview. And the good Pete at Partner Pete can also help you out with your Insurances in the Netherlands.

Healthcare: By law everybody who resides in the Netherlands should at least have a basic healthcare insurance (around €100 per month). This must be taken out within 4 months of registering (if non-EU) and within 1 year (EU citizen, BUT only if you are not earning, once you earn, you pay straight away also).

 

I hope this guide has got you well on your way to sorting all of your utilities in the Netherlands. I know it’s tedious, but once it’s done, it’s done. Good luck!

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