Local Travel

The Hague

The international city of The Hague is located between the major Dutch cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The Hague has a lively downtown area with trendy, superb restaurants, culture and entertainment. Home to seven United Nations Headquarters, The Hague is proud to be the fourth UN city in the world. In addition, The Hague serves as the seat of the Dutch national government and the royal residence. You can visit one of the many museums which boast works of masters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Mondriaan.

Time

Dutch time in the summer is two hours ahead of GMT, one hour in winter.

Language

Just about everyone in the major towns of the Netherlands speaks English. Some speak German and also French. If you are English speaking, speak English; in case of despair you can try out German or French.

Climate

The Netherlands has a temperate maritime climate. Rainfall throughout the year is evenly distributed, in early fall usually in the form of short showers.

  • Average Maximum temperatures in September: 19C (66F)
  • Average Minimum temperatures in September: 9C (48F)
  • Average rainfall in the month of September: 81 mm (3.2 inch)

Money

The currency used in the Netherlands is the Euro expressed as EUR or �. There are 16 countries that form the Euro Zone: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. You can use the Euro in all these countries.

Euros are divided into 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 euro. There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euro (note the pattern 1, 2, 5). Some shops do not accept large denomination notes, and most don’t accept the 1 and 2 cent coins, and so round cash amounts to the nearest 5 cents.

In Europe credit cards with chips and password were introduced by the major credit card companies. Credit cards with magnetic strips are often not accepted anymore. Please contact your bank for more information.

Tipping

All prices in the Netherlands by law include tax and tips: the price you see is the price you pay. Normal Dutch practice in restaurants is to round up to some whole number of euros, so that the tip is about 5%. Don’t feel obliged to leave a tip. If the bill says “service not included” they are just trying to rip you off. You don’t need to tip in taxis either beyond rounding up.

Electricity

Dutch Electricity was 220 volts, and then moved at a rate of 1 volt per year to the European standard 230 volts. The plugs are the fairly standard European two-pin model.

Public Transport Card

To travel on public transport you use a public transport card, called in Dutch OV Chipcard. The OV chipcard is an electronic card that you charge up with money before you travel, and then swipe over readers when you get in and out of a bus, tram or train. In principle it works nationally, so you can travel on the buses and trams all over the Netherlands, also on the trains. There are two types of card: personal and anonymous. Personal cards can only be ordered online by people who live in the Netherlands.

Each person who is travelling must have their own card. Children aged 0-3 travel free, but children 4 to 11 can only travel at reduced rates using a personal card, so the children of tourists, have to travel at full price.

Anonymous cards can be bought at stations, at the ticket office or vending machines. A non-refundable card costs €7.50 (plus whatever money you put on it, up to €30, but there has to be at least €4 on it before you can start a journey). It can be recharged at stations, tobacconists, and many supermarkets. A single journey on the trams in central The Hague will cost you something like 90 cents. Once you buy a card at a vending machine, you need to go through the process of adding money to the card (at the same machine you bought it from); you can’t buy a card preloaded.