5 reasons why a Dutch SIM-only subscription could be your new best friend

You’ve arrived in the Netherlands and are ready to take on life in the lowlands — now you just need a Dutch phone plan so you can tell everyone back home about it. 

But what kind of plan should you get? In the Netherlands, you can choose between a mobile phone contract (which provides you with a SIM card and a brand new phone at the same time), a prepaid subscription, and a SIM-only subscription.

But if you already have a decently working phone when you move to the Netherlands, there’s not much need to get a mobile phone contract. 🤷‍♀️ And while a prepaid option is great for some, it gives little value for your money if you’re staying for more than a few months.

Beginning to consider a SIM-only subscription? Here are five reasons a SIM-only plan is super simple (and cheap!)

1. A sim-only subscription is super easy to set up

No fuss here. You can set up your SIM-only subscription from the comfort of your own home, on the go, or during your lunch break at work. All you need to do is take a look at the different bundles, compare the options — and press that snazzy ‘Checkout’ button! 

Almost all Dutch telecommunication companies offer SIM-only contracts, however, the price and flexibility can vary widely depending on which one you choose. You can weigh up the different options online using a vergelijker (comparer) or ask your friends and family which provider they use.  

Good to know: Most SIM-only subscriptions come with a 3-in-1 card that functions as either a regular-sized SIM-card, a micro one, or a nano-SIM — so, no need to worry about finding an option that first your existing phone!

2. It’s perfect when you’re unsure of what you need 

Next come the million-dollar question: how much data, and how many texts and calls will you be needing in the Netherlands? It differs for everyone and it may even take you some trial and error to find the perfect phone plan for your needs. 

If you’re unsure about what plan to pick, rest assured that SIM-only subscriptions come in all shapes and sizes. 

✅ Locking down a two-year plan? You got it!

✅ A standard one-year plan? Check. 

✅ Super-flexible monthly SIM-only? Oh yeah!  

What subscription length should you choose?

Let’s get down to business. A two-year plan gives you the best value for your money because you only pay a small amount each month. However, you have to commit to paying this for the full contract length. 

A one-year subscription works in the same way but will set you back a few euros more every month. Nevertheless, it’s perfect if you’re not staying in the Netherlands for so long — or just don’t feel comfortable being locked into one provider for several years.

Finally, a monthly subscription is great if you’re just testing out whether you like a certain provider, or if you aren’t in the Netherlands for a full year. Compared to the yearly plans, it’ll cost you a few euros more on a monthly basis and is, therefore, less goedkoop (cheap). However, it gives you the most freedom to change as you go. 🏃‍♂️

3. A SIM-only subscription can be easily tailored to your needs

Do you need extra data for travelling home to your family — or simply to sustain your YouTube binge? (We won’t judge!). Whether you need to top up on data or dial-up your minutes for calling your friends, a SIM-only subscription allows you to change your bundle to fit whatever plans you have for the month. 

Simply adjust the monthly data, call, and text ratio to suit your phone-use habits. This is always possible with a monthly subscription, and some providers will even let you adjust your bundle on a monthly basis when you have a yearly plan. 

4. It’s affordable — and you can get some extra benefits

While it may be tempting to jump at those big deals and grab the latest smartphone along with your new SIM card, SIM-only plans are cheaper than those that come with additional products. With a SIM-only subscription, you pay for your data, calls, and texts all in one neat bundle — with no extra costs.

As you set up your subscription, you can easily see which costs are associated with which features so you know exactly how much you’re paying for your included data, calls, and texts. 

Other costs to look out for are number porting fees, activation costs, and prices for additional use outside your bundle. 👀

5. It makes it easier to switch phones

SIM-only subscriptions are not attached to a specific phone so you don’t have to wait for your phone plan to get the latest smartphone — so if the latest iPhone comes out and you’ve gotta have it, you can!

Even better, you can keep your subscription when you do decide to upgrade your own phone and save the hassle of finding a new phone plan.


Whether you’re staying in the Netherlands long-term or simply spending a few months enjoying the quirks of Dutch life, a SIM-only subscription can fuel all your screen addictions — and make moving so much easier.

What are your experiences with SIM-only subscriptions in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Keira Burton/Pexels

Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
A Dane with a special place in her heart for Minnesota, Christine is now falling in love with everything Dutch. Between finishing her bachelor’s degree, learning Dutch, and doing yoga teacher training, you will find her wandering about the Hague. Always up for visiting new places, she loves to explore the Netherlands with friends and takes pride in scoping out cute cafés (wherein to discuss books, big plans, and food).

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1 COMMENT

  1. I mean… you are really touting the virtues of a SIM-only subscription, but you don’t ever really say what it IS.

    What’s the difference between SIM-only subscription and a prepaid SIM? Just the fact that you’re locked into a term?

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