14 dang smart ways to save on energy costs in the Netherlands [UPDATED 2024]

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✍️ Eva Lakeman, Jana VondrÑčkovÑ & Chloe Lovatt


Wherever you live, utility costs can be a pain in the backside. Looking at your energy bill can make you seriously consider going hermit and living in a cave. So how can you reduce the costs of that hefty energy bill in the Netherlands?

We’re sure that the recent jump in inflation has really thrown a spanner in the works concerning your energy bill, so we’re not going to tell you to put on a jumper or to start wearing socks to bed β€” instead, here are 14 real things you can do in the Netherlands to cut down that energy bill (so you can have a bit more cash to spend on important things, like poffertjes.) 

1. Turn down your heating at night

Did you know by turning down the heating to 15 degrees at night, you could save up to €100 a year? You can be snug in bed and sleep happily knowing you’re saving cash! πŸ’€

Woman-sleeping-comfortably-in-bed
How we sleep knowing we’ll save energy costs at night. Image: Freepik

Even turning down the heating at night by just one degree can save you up to 7% on your yearly energy bill in the Netherlands β€” those extra pennies can go towards pints in the pub.

Tip! If you have underfloor heating, turn your thermostat down by just two degrees overnight; otherwise, you’ll spend more money heating it up in the morning. πŸ˜‰

2. Switch energy providers regularly

Switching energy providers may actually help you save money in the long run.

In the Netherlands, you can choose between fixed and variable energy rates. Variable rates typically change every six months β€” on January 1 and July 1. With fixed rates, the energy price remains the same for the entire duration of your contract. 

Photo-of-man-and-woman-sitting-at-desk-looking-at-Dutch-energy-bill-trying-to-work-out-how-to-save-money
Sometimes it’s good to know when to swap energy providers. Image: Freepik

While variable rates are great when energy prices are decreasing, total energy costs are usually lower with a fixed-rate contract. This year’s soaring energy prices have made fixed contracts the more attractive option. 

READ MORE | To switch or not to switch: here’s how changing energy contracts can save you money

A one-year contract with fixed rates is often the cheapest option, as it allows you to scout out the best deal every year and potentially get a discount. πŸ”

How do you find the right energy provider to save you cash? Compare them all, of course! Luckily, comparison websites like PartnerPete can help you find the best utility deals and connect you in a few simple steps β€” entirely in English! 

3. Make use of reduced night rates

“What is the easiest way to save money on your Dutch utility costs? Use power at night! Electricity in the Netherlands is cheaper during β€œoff-peak hours” β€” at night, during the weekend, and on public holidays.”What is the easiest way to save money on your Dutch utility costs? Use power at night! Electricity in the Netherlands is cheaper during β€œoff-peak hours” β€” at night, during the weekend, and on public holidays.

Person-working-on-laptop-at-night
Of course, don’t let the energy costs keep you working at night for too long! Image: Freepik

This means that it’s smart to do your laundry on a Sunday instead of Monday, turn on the dishwasher before you go to sleep, and charge laptops and smartphones overnight.

READ MORE | Gas, electricity, water and more: ultimate guide to utilities in the Netherlands

Check with your energy provider to find your province’s exact times! But beware: you’ll need a smart metre that automatically switches between the two rates β€” old metres won’t cut it anymore.

Wondering what’s a smart metre? Great question! πŸ‘‡

4. Invest in a smart meter 

Dutchies pride themselves on being smart, which is no different regarding tracking their energy usage. A smart metre tracks exactly how much energy you use β€” meaning you only pay for your usage. πŸ€”

Even the Dutch government is trying to go green by making it more expensive for those who don’t have a smart metre. Since July 1, 2021, anyone with an old energy metre in the Netherlands is charged the same rate night and day β€” meaning they can’t use the reduced night tariff.

READ MORE | Rising wages are no match for soaring inflation in the Netherlands

If you switch to a smart energy metre, you can keep getting those sweet discounts AND only pay for the power you actually use! Cha-ching! πŸ’°

5. Get a Dutch app to control your appliances 

Several energy suppliers in the Netherlands have their own apps, especially if they provide one of those smart metres we mentioned earlier. However, there are also many useful energy-tracking apps that are not connected to a specific provider. 

Person-using-app-to-control-appliances-in-the-Netherlands
Image: Freepik

Huisbaasje (Landlord) lets you compare your energy usage to that of other households and will even notify you when your energy contract is due to expire. 

Meanwhile, the UMeter app lets you know your energy consumption and gives you insight into the yield of your solar panels β€” a great choice if you’re going green! 

6. Choose a green energy provider 

What’s better than just saving money? Also, saving the planet! Green energy is an increasingly popular (and affordable) option for Dutch consumers. With the Dutch government heavily subsidising green energy, it will often cost you less than grey energy β€” a.k.a any energy that isn’t green.

READ MORE | Renewable energy in the Netherlands: everything you need to know

Many Dutch green energy providers also offer discounts and promotional packages to make switching from grey to green smooth and easy. It’s a win for the environment and for your bank balance. πŸ’ͺ 🌱

photo-of-a-couple-looking-for-the-best-green-energy-provider-in-the-netherlands
Investing in green energy may be the right choice for you! Image: Pexels

7. Install solar panels 

You might not think so, but solar panels are a double win for your wallet and carbon footprint β€” thanks to the Dutch net metering system. It’s pretty simple: if your solar panels generate more energy than you use as a household, you can send the excess energy to the public grid.

Several-solar-panels-on-the-roof-of-a-house-in-the-netherlands
Installing solar panels is becoming cheaper, and it’s great for the environment AND your bank account. What’s not to love? Image: Depositphotos

You can get a partial tax refund for generating your own sustainable electricity!

8. Make sure your house is properly insulated

The Netherlands is known for its gorgeous old canal houses. While these are beautiful, they were often built before modern-day insulation was invented.

If you own a house in the Netherlands, it’s worth investing in insulating it properly. This may seem like a big cost upfront, but you will reap the rewards in years to come when your heating isn’t (literally) going out the window. πŸ”¨

Construction-workers-fixing-insulation-inside-Dutch-home
Best to check that your home insulation is up to par! Image: Freepik

Talk to your landlord if you’re renting and think your home could be more energy efficient. However, if they refuse to help, there are some cheap tricks you can try if you can’t afford a complete revamp.

Try sealing drafty windows with self-adhesive draft tape and ensure you have good ventilation to ensure you’re not heating a humid house (which soaks up more energy). 

9. Change out old devices 

Household appliances are like cars: the newer the model, the more energy efficient it is. ⚑ The fact is that household items made before the year 2000 are like your dad’s old Jeep β€” greedy guzzlers.

Getting a newer fridge or switching from a gas stove to an induction hob will require much less energy.

Not sure which models are the most efficient? Look out for the EU energy label. You’ll probably recognise the colour-coded list of energy efficiency. This ranks from A to G (dark green A+++ is the most efficient, G being the least efficient). 

10. Have a shorter shower

We’re all guilty of standing in the shower for longer than we need to, but to save on your energy bill, you’ll need to have a splash-and-dash mentality. 🚿

young-woman-showering-washing-her-hair-with-her-eyes-closed-and-smiling-in-a-brightly-lit-room-with-blinds-over-a-window-behind-her
You can still enjoy a nice shower and save energy costs! Image: Freepik

Experts warn that if you shower for longer than 10 minutes, you might as well be having a bath. While showers are great places to develop new ideas, your shower routine will be more economical if you turn the tap off sooner. 

And, if you want to go one step further, try having a cold shower a few times a week to avoid the extra heating costs. πŸ₯Ά

11. Switch your gas stove to an electric one

Compared to the US, electricity in the Netherlands is cheaper than gas. And, with the recent threat of gas supplies being turned off, it might be worth investing in an electric stove.

Kettle-on-top-of-gas-stove-thats-turned-on
It might be time for the kitchen fossils to go! Image: Freepik

Or even an air fryer! It costs €1.15 to cook rice on a gas stove compared to €0.08 on an electric stove. Not only will they save your cents from being spent, but you’ll also be doing a good turn for the environment. 🌲

12. Air dry your clothes

Using one less appliance will make a world of difference. Skip out on the tumble-drying and create a clothing line around your room instead of fairy lights. 

Clothes-hanging-on-rack-indoors
Say no to the dryer, and yes to the clothesline! Image: Freepik

Benefits, benefits, benefits. Not only will you save costs, but airdrying is also more environmentally friendly, reduces creases, and lengthens the life span of your clothes.

READ MORE | Why does it rain so much in the Netherlands?

Of course, this might take much longer since the Netherlands rains for nine months out of the year. β˜”

13. Layer up

On the topic of clothes β€” wear more of ’em. It’s cheaper to head down to your local Action and fill your cart with fleece blankets, fuzzy socks, and electric heaters than to give your energy providers an arm and a leg.

READ MORE | How to survive the Dutch winter: weather, clothing, and more

Plus, your wind-down time in the evenings will surely level up in cosiness, especially after having a warm cup of chocomel to warm your insides.

Woman-wrapped-in-blankets
Finally, an excuse to stay wrapped up in blankets all day! Image: Freepik

14. Use your devices wisely 

Smart metres, smartphones, smartwatches … the world is full of small smart devices that can do much of the hard work for you. But sometimes, we need to be smart, too β€” especially regarding how we use our household appliances and electronic devices. 

READ MORE | Setting up internet in the Netherlands: the complete guide

So here are a few things you can do to cut your Dutch energy costs even further, according to the Dutch National Institute for Budget Information

  • Use LED lighting instead of incandescent and halogen lamps, as they are up to 85% more efficient.Β 
  • Turn off appliances you’re not using β€” this can save you up to €100 per year.Β 
  • When you’re done charging your phone and laptop, don’t leave the charger in the socket.Β 
  • Favour an electric kettle over the stove when boiling water. Don’t boil more water than you need β€” this saves energy AND water.
  • Defrost food from the freezer in your fridge instead of the microwave. The cold that’s being released will be used for cooling, making the refrigerator use less energy.

These handy tips will turn the day you receive your utility bill from something you dread to something you eagerly await (or at least more so than the letter from the tax office) β€” even if just to see how much money you managed to save. 

Need more handy tips to save money on energy costs in the Netherlands? Get in touch with PartnerPete. They can help you find the right energy provider that best suits your expat needs and saves you money β€” all of this in English, of course.

Do you know of any more handy tips to save money on your energy bill? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image:Depositphotos

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8 COMMENTS

  1. I read somewhere before that it is the responsibility of the grid operators to switch to smart meters. Is that true or is it the responsibility of the homeowners/renters/landlord themselves?

    • Hey Andrea, great question! As far as we are aware, it is the responsibility of the person paying the energy bill to switch to a smart meter, but these are available to be installed for free by your grid operator. For more information, I would check with your grid operator. I hope this helps πŸ™‚

    • The usual way is that the grid operator announces the replacement of your old meters with the new smart meters. You can apply for one, but your operator decides when they will change the meters.
      It’s also interesting to know that you can refuse to have a smart meter. Some people with solar panels on their houses refused to do so, because the old electricity meter can turn backwards which automatically lowers your bill. So you get full price for every KWH you deliver back to the grid. In 2023 if you have a smart meter with solarpanels you’ll get less money for the electricity you’re deliver back to the grid than you pay for the electricity you get from the grid. So you’ll pay 50 cents per KWH but only receive 25 cents per KWH.

  2. How do you properly heat a 3 story home with the thermostat on the ground floor? We can’t seem to get the first floor warm enough. While the ground floor is too hot.

    • You can control the heat by turning the radiator valves to half open on the radiators on the ground floor so they get less hot water. It takes longer for the ground floor to warm up so the second floor will get warmer.
      Additionally you might consider venting your central heating, because your problem might be caused by air in the radiators on the second floor.
      Alternatively you can ask a firm to install thermostatic radiator valves. If the room temperature rises above a value set on the sensor head, the thermostatic radiator valve shuts off automatically; when the temperature drops below the defined value, it opens again. This gives you a cost effective way to regulate the temperature per room independent from the main thermostat.
      Keep in mind that in the Netherlands most houses have a central heating system where the upper floors do not get as warm as the ground floor, because you don’t need a warm bedroom. If you’re cold when you’re lying in bed you just cover yourself with some more blankets.

  3. If you only need cool water make sure the hot water intake is completely off. Every time you let the hot water faucet run even a little bit the water heater turns on, wasting electricity or gas.

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