Unless you know the ropes, taking a taxi in the Netherlands can be a confusing and expensive experience. But not anymore — here‘s the full low down on 11 things you need to know.
Picture this: You’ve just landed at Schiphol Airport, filled with excitement at the thought of Amsterdam’s iconic pebbled streets and visiting your first coffeeshop.
Welcome to the Netherlands! But hold on, not so fast. How can you get around effectively and safely? And most importantly, how will you be able to go sightseeing?
We’ve compiled all the essential information you need to know about taxis in the Netherlands. You’ll learn how to spot official taxis, how to get a good fare, about alternative taxis and how to file a complaint.
We’ve done all the legwork for you. So, open up that bottle, relax, and read on.
- How to spot an official taxi
- Where to find a taxi
- How much a taxi will cost you: taxi fares
- Taxi too expensive? Then…
- Take an Uber
- Never use an unlicensed taxi
- Taxi scams do occur
- Share a taxi with a stranger
- How to call a taxi company
- How to file a taxi complaint
- Taking a taxi in the Netherlands: the true experience
1. How to spot an official taxi
First things first — before you decide to hail your very first taxi in the Netherlands, you need to ensure you’re spotting the real deal. Unfortunately, unlicensed taxis do exist in Amsterdam, so to find a real one, make sure you can see the following:
- A driver’s licence can be read and seen inside the taxi.
- A blue number plate.
- A tariff card is visible on the inside and outside of the taxi.
2. Where to find a taxi
Like in most cities, you can hail any taxi that is driving down the street — easy! But, if you’re having no luck, make sure you’re not in a bus or tram lane. It’s illegal for taxis to stop in these areas.
Tourist areas where you’ll easily find a taxi include Rembrandtplein, the Dam, and Leidseplein. Look out for the blue signs sprinkled around the city marking taxi stops.
A good alternative to hailing would be to book a taxi by phoning them. They can also help you with fare advice.
There is a different share taxi service in each region of the Netherlands. To find your nearest one, call: 0900 9292.
Warning: at Schiphol Airport, beware of touts trying to grab your attention. They may lead you to unlicensed taxi drivers who pay them for the service.
3. How much a taxi in the Netherlands will cost you: taxi fares
How taxi fares are calculated is complicated, but we’ll give you a rough idea. The 30-minute ride between Schiphol Airport and downtown Amsterdam will cost you approximately €55.
The main company for taxis in Amsterdam is Taxi Centre Amsterdam (TCA).
While most drivers will run the metre by default, you can also attempt to make a fare agreement with them before entering the taxi. Once the meter starts, this is no longer possible.
Almost all taxis will accept cash, and some also accept credit cards. Make sure to check with the driver about what options they have. If riding with TCA, you can also download their app for a fixed-fare service and other payment options, including PayPal.
4. Taxi too expensive? Then…
Be a true Dutchie and grab a bicycle to get your blood pumping!
Of course, the amazing public transport system is always worth a try. Otherwise…
5. Take an Uber
A phone app makes everything easier! You can order an Uber without having to deal with call anxiety. Plus, Uber has a reputation for being cheaper than taxis most of the time.
Although you can conveniently pay with your credit or debit card, the downside is that they generally don’t accept cash.
6. Never use an unlicensed taxi
There is some truth behind the adage, “if it is too good to be true, it probably is”. If someone is offering you a suspiciously low price for a taxi ride, it’s time to walk away. These drivers will conveniently ‘forget’ the low-price offer by the end of your drive.
READ MORE | Moving to Amsterdam: the ultimate guide
Unlicensed taxis have become a big problem for Amsterdam.
At some point, the Taxi-situation deteriorated so drastically that a ‘Taxi Law’ was put into place by the federal government in 2000. Prior to that, there were strict rules, and it was difficult to obtain taxi licences.
The ‘Taxi Law’ was designed to halt the monopolisation of TCA. However, this backfired horrendously. Instead, the quality of drivers plunged, and drivers began to select customers based on the distance they intended to travel — despite it being illegal.
7. Taxi scams do occur
Some taxi drivers view international passengers as money-filled prey. 💰 Amsterdam Shallow Man has an incredibly informative and funny article that goes into detail on some of the scams, but here are a few quick tips to consider when taking a taxi in Amsterdam:
Firstly, beware of the driver setting a high minimum price. If you ask the driver why they’re charging more than the maximum amount, you’re likely to be told that this is the “night rate” that is charged in Amsterdam — do not believe this!
The official taxi tariffs for Amsterdam can be found here.
Additionally, make sure that you never agree on a fixed price — always use the meter. If not, you’ll definitely have to pay the inflated price.
@travelwithpat Avoid these three common taxi scams on your next trip #travel #traveltips ♬ original sound – Pat | Travel & Points ✈️
Next, try to pretend you’re a local, and definitely don’t say it’s your first time in Amsterdam. A whiff of that tourist smell and they’ll take you twice around the city for “sightseeing”
Don’t agree to take the highway because the charges are per kilometre. You will get to your location more quickly, but there will be a hefty price to pay.
Finally, be wary of them “forgetting” to turn on the meter. This is always on purpose, so don’t be fooled!
Pro tip: If you think a taxi driver could be scamming you, make sure to remove all your luggage from the vehicle before attempting to dispute the price. There is a chance they could drive away with your belongings out of spite.
8. Share a taxi with a stranger
Taxi sharing is not common, but it does exist and could be a solution to avoid exorbitant costs. Deeltaxi (share taxi) is a service that allows people to share a taxi with other passengers at a more sensible rate.
Train stations don’t always reach the far corners of the Netherlands, so this service is essential for those living far away.
Tip: You can also check out ViaVan. It’s a phone app that is similar to Uber, but it charges much less. It’s used in Berlin, London, and New York City as well.
9. How to call a taxi company
We have put together an array of options of official taxis, so that you’re never stranded during your trip:
- Taxi Direct Amsterdam
- Taxi Electric
- Take A Taxi (TAT)
- Schipholtaxi, TCS and Cabbie
- Taxicentrale Amsterdam (TCA)
- Taxistad / Aemstel
10. How to file a taxi complaint
Tell the driver. You have the right. Don’t keep it bottled up inside!
If you cannot arrive at a solution with the driver, then you can submit a written complaint to the taxi company. You can demand a complaint form from the driver and find more information here.
You must remember the date and time of your journey as well as the registration number or the licence plate of the taxi.
If you don’t have enough information or evidence, you can submit your laments to the National Taxi Complaints Office on 0900 202 1881 (€0.13 per minute). They will then forward your complaint to the right taxi company.
If you can’t resolve the issue with the taxi company, you will have to take it a level higher and bring it to a Dispute Committee (geschillencommissies).
11. Taking a taxi in the Netherlands: the true experience
What is it really like to take a taxi in Amsterdam? We’ve asked our readers in the DutchReview Facebook Group to share their honest experiences!
Joey Marissa: “My experience of taxis in Amsterdam was absolutely phenomenal! Way better than in Bali.”
“The taxi drivers were fun and enthusiastic. Some of them were like psychiatrists. My partner and I at the time had an amazing time getting escorted to parties and restaurants around town.”
Ian Lockley: “After a recent return flight into Schiphol, which was delayed by 3 hours, I had no real choice other than to get a taxi home to Rotterdam. The bill was €171!”
Wendy Hilton: “I had a job interview and had come over for the first time, so I wanted to be on time. The hotel called the taxi, and I showed him the address on my paperwork.”
“I was suspicious as he put something else in the SATNAV, and after about 10 minutes, I felt we were going the wrong way and said so. They told me that he misunderstood what I said!”
“Anyway, he turned around, and got me there on time, but he charged me €45 — no apologies — for a journey I now know would have been a 20-minute walk! I try to avoid cabs at all costs now.”
Are there any other things one should know when jumping into a taxi in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in November 2019, and was fully updated in November 2023 for your reading pleasure.