Netherlands Post: Your Dutch guide to sending and receiving packages in the Netherlands
You may have noticed by the worsening weather and the lights hanging all over, that we’re creeping ever closer to that time of year where most of the Western world is busy panicking and gathering last minute gifts for loved ones and family members. Because the Dutch postal service can be confusing to some, we here at DutchReview reckoned you internationals could do with some handy tips and tricks for sending and receiving parcels when you’re in the Netherlands. After all Christmas presents don’t send and receive themselves, and if you’re not home when they’re delivered to your door you might be surprised to find your gift sitting in your neighbours home!
Netherlands Post: Sending packages inside the Netherlands
The Dutch system for sending and receiving letters is fairly simple; buy some stamps, stick them on a letter using copious amounts of saliva, throw the letter in one of those big orange boxes you’ve seen around and you’re pretty much done.
Here’s a handy link for finding the post box nearest to you in the Netherlands. Here are also the max sizes of letters and parcels that go through the Dutch post box system. It’s a maximum size: 38 x 26,5 x 3,2 cm and a maximum weight of 2 kilos. Anyways, not the way to go if you’re sending around serious parcels to or from the Netherlands. Dutch post stamps are now priced at 0.78 euro, but prices go up pretty quickly when you’re sending a package from the Netherlands to a foreign country. Prices of post stamps in the Netherlands are also rising the last couple of years, one of the consequences of the modern world we guess.
Sending a package from the Netherlands
So sending a package in the Netherlands is a bit different. Things aren’t made any easier by the general lack of post offices in the Netherlands, or by the many different services you could use!
Generally sending things in the Netherlands costs money depending on how heavy and big your parcel is. The PostNL counters where most go to send their loved ones belated gifts are spread all across most cities, you can find them in supermarkets and cigarette shops. However, as someone who’s had experience trying to send things through PostNL, if you want to send a package to a different country from the Netherlands, you may want to try a third party provider. (No, you’re not going to have to spend a lot of time to find one, we’ll list the one we use at the end of the article!)
Here’s another tip free of charge; do not try to send illicit goods through packages. Ever since 2001, which saw many packages containing anthrax sent to politicians, packages are very well monitored and sending something which was, let’s say, bought at your local coffeeshop, is a good way to get yourself visited by the police and booted out of the country (So whatever you do, don’t send drugs through packages from the Netherlands)
The second part of this guide will deal with European and Dutch rules for sending packages and food across the borders if you require more guidance on what is, and what isn’t, okay to send to and from the Netherlands.
Netherlands Post: Receiving packages in the Netherlands
The Dutch, neighbourly lot that we are, are often pretty close with the people we live next to! There’s a reason that “better a good neighbour, than a far friend” is one of the most used phrases in our little country. For those who come here from abroad this might take some getting used to, especially because packages tend to be given to your neighbours if you’re not home yourself! Many of the popular services such as PostNL and DHL will knock on your neighbor’s door if you’re not there yourself to receive the package. Usually, they’ll then notify you through email, or a card through your analog post receiver, to let you know where you can pick up your package.
There are also designated points for packages to be dropped off in most cities. However if you’re receiving a package through a more international site, for instance Amazon.com, you may well find that your package has been dropped off at a place you wouldn’t quite expect. For instance, when a friend tried to send me some books from Australia, a receptionist at a nearby hotel sent me a Facebook message because apparently, the courier couldn’t be bothered to find my house. Take this into account when receiving or sending something valuable, as you never know who ends up with your brand new collection of high-end
sex studying toys…
Did we cover everything about receiving packages in the Netherlands? Oh wait, that damned customs stuff!
Customs clearance tax when receiving packages in the Netherlands
Parcels and packages sent from non-EU countries (that’s that cheap thing from China on Alibaba allright) will have to go through customs clearance. You will be charged for VAT, customs duties and clearance tax when:
- Something is seen as being worth more than 45 euros
- A commercial package is seen as being worth more than 22 euros.
These costs can turn out to be quite high, and they will be expected to be paid in cash upon delivery of the package. But sometimes you’ll just get away without paying anything (that weird Netherlands post!)
Netherlands Post: Sending packages from/to the Netherlands to the outside world
As mentioned earlier, PostNL and other more local services aren’t quite the most reliable when sending those addictive Dutch packages outside of the Netherlands to be enjoyed in the rest of Europe (such as our delicious stroopwafels and cheese, what? You were thinking about something else?)
There are quite a few services out there which are more internationally minded of course, but we personally tend to stick with Eurosender whenever we send out the goodies to competition winners or even personally. This service is especially useful if you’re moving here from inside Europe, as you can send up to 4.000 kg for competitive prices ahead of your move!
Effectively this could well save you the trouble of renting a van and driving your belongings up to the Low Countries to start your new life. Or just think about sending your luggage ahead of yourself when moving to the Netherlands. The service of course also offers tracking to any destination and it is partnered with many local delivery services such as DHL, together with their cost calculator it’s the way to go for us for sending packages from the Netherlands.
Since it’s almost Christmas and we believe in giving away things too in this season, we’ve got a nice discount code for you to use at Eurosender. Type in DUTCHREVIEW and voilá you will receive a 10% discount!
Anything to add about the Netherlands Post and how you can be sending and receiving packages in the Netherlands the best way? Feel extremely welcome to share them with us!
* We worked together with Eurosender on bringing you this article (but also because we like to send our packages cheap and easy like they do)