Using a VPN in the Netherlands: 7 reasons why it’s a good idea

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The use of VPNs is becoming increasingly popular in the Netherlands — and not just with tech wizards. But what is a VPN exactly? What does it do? And why should you use one?

VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network” and, nowadays, is usually downloaded as an app to your desktop, phone, or tablet. 

You can think of it as your own little bubble that protects you and your device when you’re connected to the internet while out and about. 

How? By rerouting your data and encrypting your traffic, consequently hiding your IP address.

So, why should you use a VPN in the Netherlands? Here are our top seven reasons:

1. It provides safety on public wifi

The Netherlands has an amazingly vibrant café life with Dutchies sitting on terraces year-round. As an international living here, you’ve probably also developed a propensity to bring your laptop to your favourite café and smash out some emails or study while sipping a koffie verkeerd (latte). 👩‍💻

Now, that’s all great (except maybe for your caffeine intake 😵‍💫) — but have you ever thought about what happens after you ask the barista for the public wifi password?

When you log onto that oh-so-convenient public wifi, the internet provider can potentially access your browsing history — yes, yikes. Even if you have “nothing to hide,” 👀 access to your browsing history means that hackers could extract a large amount of valuable data from your device.

photo-young-woman-using-a-vpn-on-laptop-in-cafe-netherlands
Think of a VPN as your own personal bubble when surfing on public wifi. Image: Depositphotos

This includes your email credentials, bank details, personal photos and videos, and even your home address. 

Using a VPN hides all this information from potential hackers.

You might be thinking “but I use public wifi all the time and this never happened to me.” First of all, good for you! Second, not all public wifi providers can see your browsing history — it depends on the router they use.

However, something that all modern wifi routers do is keep logs. Meaning they can see what domains you visited and for how long. This definitely isn’t as big of a threat as hackers accessing your browsing history — but it is, nevertheless, data you might want to keep private by using a VPN.

Data safety? Yes, please! If you’re interested in getting a VPN, we recommend checking out NordVPN whose expert team has helped us understand the ins and outs of using a VPN.

2. With a VPN, your data is safe

Do you ever feel like you’re being watched? 😅 Well, likely you are.

Even at home, advertisers, internet providers, and government agencies love to peek in on your browsing history, messages, and other private data.

So, in addition to offering safety on public wifi, a VPN also hides your data from curious companies and organisations. As soon as you activate your private network, your traffic will be encrypted and your IP address hidden — bye-bye Big Brother!

3. It offers a world of streaming options 

Don’t get us wrong, Dutch Netflix has some solid movie picks. But sometimes, you just need a little more variety. 🍿 

That’s where a VPN comes in handy. It reroutes your IP address so it looks like you’re accessing the streaming service of choice from another country — and BAM, a whole new library of content has opened up to you.

Think Rain Man, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and Legally Blonde (all available on US Netflix). Or opt for a night on UK Netflix to do a Bourne movie marathon followed by a revisit to classics like Pulp Fiction and Silence of the Lambs on Canadian Netflix.

READ MORE | 7 series and movies on Netflix to help you learn Dutch

By using a VPN, you can start a new show when visiting your home country without having to worry about whether it’ll be available in the Netherlands as well. (Trust us, there’s nothing worse than being halfway through a season only to discover you have to wait for your next visit home to finish it). 

4. It scores you the best deals online

We know a VPN costs money but did you know that it can also save you money? (Yup, the Dutchie in you is paying attention now 👀). 

When you shop online — whether for new clothes, furniture, vacation stays, or flights —  the website accesses your location. And no, it’s not only to estimate your shipping costs. Instead, companies offer different prices depending on where they think you are in the world. 

This is especially relevant when you book flights and hotels, as the price differences can be staggering. For example, when looking to book four nights at a hotel in Copenhagen, there’s almost €100 difference between booking from the Netherlands and the US.

screenshot-trivago-website-accessed-from-dutch-ip-address
When booking from a Dutch IP address you’d pay €374. Image: Trivago/Screenshot
screenshot-trivago-website-accessed-from-american-ip-address
With a US IP address, however, you can get the same hotel for only €293. Image: Trivago/Screenshot

We know which option we’d choose, that’s for sure. 🤷‍♀️🇺🇸

5. A VPN circumvents blocks — and lets you see all the content that’s actually on the site

Another thing a VPN can help you with is avoiding geo-blocking. As an international, having a VPN is extra handy because some of the content from your home country might not be available in the Netherlands. This can include services such as banking or investment accounts.

Moreover, public institutions sometimes enact content blocks on public networks. 

If your home country enforces government censorship, there might be Dutch websites you can’t visit while you’re in your home country. Thankfully, not all content blocks are as serious as this. They can also be schools trying to ensure student efficiency by blocking social media sites. 📵 

Not today we say!

6. A VPN improves online gaming speeds

If you’re serious about gaming, a VPN can be your new best friend. It’ll protect you from throttling and DDoS attacks so you can enjoy the best internet speeds while playing.

Bandwidth throttling is when an internet service provider (ISP) intentionally slows your connection based on your online traffic type. If they detect that you’re gaming online, your ISP can cause your game to lag — which is about the most frustrating thing in the world.

A VPN hides your data traffic through encryption so that you can enjoy lightning speeds without your ISP interfering. 💪

DDoS attacks (or distributed denial of service attacks) are a sneaky strategy for lousy gamers fishing for a competitive advantage. If you become a victim, multiple computers flood your IP address with data to overwhelm your network. 

With a VPN, the effect of DDoS attacks becomes less severe and, if it persists, you can simply change servers by choosing a different VPN. 

7. It’s easy to use

We may work at an online magazine but, believe it or not, we’re no tech wizards. Thankfully, a VPN is super easy to use. 

You just download the app, log in, and pick the server you’d like to use. Plus, you can easily jump between different country servers (for example when looking for the best hotel prices!) and pause or end your session. 

Sign me up! As one of the most popular VPN services on the market, NordVPN checks all the boxes: It’s safe, fast, and easy to use. To download it, just head over to their website.

What’s your experience with using a VPN in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments!

Feature Image:NordVPN/Supplied
Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
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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