Online shopping in the Netherlands: it’s a confusing game if you’re an expat, especially if you come from a country where there are far more options for getting stuff delivered to your house.

Online shopping was one thing I didn’t know I would miss until it was gone. Or at least until I lost the instant gratification of same-day deliveries of pretty much anything. I lived in Silicon Valley for a few years, trying all manners of online-orderable services: meal preparation kits, same-day grocery deliveries, and same-day anything-else deliveries and outsourceable services. I didn’t get to drone-delivered items or deliveries-to-your-car — neither were applicable and were only piloted in smaller areas anyway — but I might have tried them too, had they not also fallen into the categories of “solutions to problems I don’t have” that prevail in the majority of things tech. But what about the great webshops in the Netherlands?

Great webshops in the Netherlands

Buying stuff from webshops, the Dutch version of online shopping, is a tad clunkier but still pretty good — once you figure out which webshops are better for what purchases, and where the button for English is on the screen, if you haven’t picked up enough Dutch yet. I still can’t get over the strange way that deliveries are managed though: for deliveries too large to fit through my mail slot, I’ve had to pick up the package from a neighbor or the local PostNL about a third of cases. 

Webshops have been really important for a lot of people during the coronavirus crisis, but now that small businesses are reopening, they really need your help. So if you can, try to buy local, rather than from a massive corporation. However, sometimes it’s necessary to shop online, and that’s what this guide is for. 

 

So here are a few of the webshops I’ve come across that have been helpful as I settled into the NL.

#1 Bol.com

This is the Dutch version of Amazon. It has a similarly wide variety of items, from household goods and appliances to clothing to books/e-books and more. You can pay a bit extra for the options to select delivery times on evenings or weekends, or you can go the free option of having your package delivered to an Albert Heijn pick-up location. Sometimes bol.com has sales on things: like bulk discount household items (toothpaste doesn’t go bad, right? So why not get a 4-pack on discount?) and bestseller book discounts, among other various promotions.

#2 Amazon.nl

This year, Amazon.nl came into existence. Of course, it didn’t make a huge amount of difference- Dutch shoppers had been using Amazon.de or Amazon.co.uk for years. But the arrival of Amazon in the Netherlands means more competition for Bol.com, and more money for Jeff Bezos (alas).

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#3 AbeBooks.nl

Need to buy books? Especially books that may be older or harder to find in a brick-and-mortar boekhandel? Try out this webshop to find what you need. You’ll definitely be able to find cheap books, or less common ones, here. Anything newly published is less likely to be on this site. A book-must when looking for great webshops in the Netherlands.

#4 Ebay.com

Same Ebay as everywhere else. You can order anything from anyone who posts to Ebay from anywhere in the world. I’ve used Ebay only a handful of times ever, and usually in situations where I wanted to find something lightly used for cheaper prices or something not commonly sold (e.g. handmade or tailored). I usually also don’t need whatever that item is very urgently.

#5 Tweedehands.be

Like a Dutch Ebay (Belgian actually) where you can bid on stuff people post for sale, even automobiles. I haven’t personally bought anything there, but this has been a suggested option.

#6 Zalando.nl – and all the other fashion webshops

This one was recommended to me because of its return policy, which is always helpful when you buy clothing or shoes online without trying them on first. While I haven’t had to use that policy yet, returning an item is supposedly as easy as putting the item back in the shipping box provided and dropping off at a PostNL point.

After a good deal, but not online? We have that covered too. 😉

What great webshops in the Netherlands do you love? Share your suggestions with us in the comments! And don’t forget to join our Facebook group!

Feature Image: FirmBee/Pixabay

1 COMMENT

  1. Hi, I am trying to buy a gift card for my nephew, an American who is about to start a universiy degree in the Netherlands. I went to Bol.com but did not easily find an English-language version. Instead, they only seem to have a Belgian option (presumably Flemish or French). Can you point me to how I do so?

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