Utilities in the Netherlands

Practical information for expats

Setting up utilities services like the internet, gas and water can be a complex task at the best of times; throw in some new terminology, a whole new selection of utility providers and manuals in Dutch and it’s a whole new ball game for expats in the Netherlands.

Utilities in the Netherlands

Before you begin each stage, here is some practical information and advice to bear in mind to help navigate and understand the process.

Energy

As a “newbie” to the various energy suppliers in the Netherlands, it’s difficult to know which supplier to choose. A number of factors may sway your opinion. For instance, in the Netherlands you can choose between “green” (the environmentally friendly option) and “grey” energy (a mix of renewable and non-renewable). It might be worth noting that the Netherlands is very energy conscious, so the majority of homes opt for “green” energy.

How much energy do you consume a year? Depending on your provider, you may have a higher fixed rate but lower usage fees (which is great for the energy consumers, but not so favourable for the energy conscious).

As an expat it’s a relief to know that there is flexibility. You can choose a fixed contract or opt for one where you are in control and can end it at any time.

Water

Unlike other utility suppliers, you do not have a choice regarding who supplies your water. There are 10 companies in the Netherlands who supply water to different regions so you will need to find out who your supplier is in case your new home is not in the supply network. Once you have found out, notify the supplier of your new address.

It is important to take note that you will be billed for your estimated water consumption measured either on a monthly or quarterly basis. It is important that you provide the annual meter reading when it is requested in order to be reimbursed if you have been overcharged.

Internet

"Guadalajara Libre en Palacio Municipal" by Aristóteles Sandoval. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

The internet is used extensively in the Netherlands, which is reflected by the number of options available: ADSL, cable, wireless internet or optical fiber. ADSL connectivity is the most commonly used in the Netherlands and it is most frequently connected through a fixed line. If you opt for cable internet access you will need a cable connection. The availability is dependent on the strength of connectivity in your area.

WIFI hotspots are accessible and there are plenty to be found across the Netherlands, particularly in public places. This is useful for those who do not have internet access in the first few weeks in the country.

As an expat you may be more interested in the flexibility of a deal, since your stay in the country may not warrant a 24 month contract. Since most internet, phone and television services can be combined in package deals, it is worth figuring out what you want and need in order to get the cheapest option for you. A fixed phone line, for example, may be an unnecessary addition which you may not want to be paying for.

Television

The options available are cable, digital and satellite television. If you want to follow the example of the Dutchies opt for digital television via the cable network. Remember however, that you will need a decoder (a circuit that changes a code into a series of signal) if you opt for cable television, a satellite dish for satellite TV or an antenna for digital.

The types of packages available are likely to vary across the different providers. Ziggo is the largest company for those wishing to get digital television via the cable network.

Insurance

If you are living in the Netherlands (or still paying income tax there), you are required by law to purchase the basic health insurance coverage from a Dutch insurance company. If you own a car in the Netherlands you are also required to take out car insurance. Any additional insurance is up to you and your need may differ depending on your personal situation.

The difficulty in comparing services for expats

The Netherlands is not lacking when it comes to utility providers, but with this comes a multitude of choices and comparisons. Despite the high level of English across the country, many utility providers only operate in Dutch making the process of setting up these services more complicated than perhaps anticipated. This further complicates the possibility of comparing services.

Fortunately there is help on the horizon. Due to the influx of expats to the country, the need to have access to services explained in English has been met. Utility Provider  for instance offer their services in English while working with a wide range of the best companies in the Netherlands. They can also give independent advice to help you find plans and offers that fit your individual needs (saving you money and the hassle of finding a dutch translator).

Before you begin each stage, here is some practical information and advice to bear in mind to help navigate and understand the process.

Energy

As a “newbie” to the various energy suppliers in the Netherlands, it’s difficult to know which supplier to choose. A number of factors may sway your opinion. For instance, in the Netherlands you can choose between “green” (the environmentally friendly option) and “grey” energy (a mix of renewable and non-renewable). It might be worth noting that the Netherlands is very energy conscious, so the majority of homes opt for “green” energy.

How much energy do you consume a year? Depending on your provider, you may have a higher fixed rate but lower usage fees (which is great for the energy consumers, but not so favourable for the energy conscious).

As an expat it’s a relief to know that there is flexibility. You can choose a fixed contract or opt for one where you are in control and can end it at any time.

Water

Unlike other utility suppliers, you do not have a choice regarding who supplies your water. There are 10 companies in the Netherlands who supply water to different regions so you will need to find out who your supplier is in case your new home is not in the supply network. Once you have found out, notify the supplier of your new address.

It is important to take note that you will be billed for your estimated water consumption measured either on a monthly or quarterly basis. It is important that you provide the annual meter reading when it is requested in order to be reimbursed if you have been overcharged.

Internet

"Guadalajara Libre en Palacio Municipal" by Aristóteles Sandoval. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

The internet is used extensively in the Netherlands, which is reflected by the number of options available: ADSL, cable, wireless internet or optical fiber. ADSL connectivity is the most commonly used in the Netherlands and it is most frequently connected through a fixed line. If you opt for cable internet access you will need a cable connection. The availability is dependent on the strength of connectivity in your area.

WIFI hotspots are accessible and there are plenty to be found across the Netherlands, particularly in public places. This is useful for those who do not have internet access in the first few weeks in the country.

As an expat you may be more interested in the flexibility of a deal, since your stay in the country may not warrant a 24 month contract. Since most internet, phone and television services can be combined in package deals, it is worth figuring out what you want and need in order to get the cheapest option for you. A fixed phone line, for example, may be an unnecessary addition which you may not want to be paying for.

Television

The options available are cable, digital and satellite television. If you want to follow the example of the Dutchies opt for digital television via the cable network. Remember however, that you will need a decoder (a circuit that changes a code into a series of signal) if you opt for cable television, a satellite dish for satellite TV or an antenna for digital.

The types of packages available are likely to vary across the different providers. Ziggo is the largest company for those wishing to get digital television via the cable network.

Insurance

If you are living in the Netherlands (or still paying income tax there), you are required by law to purchase the basic health insurance coverage from a Dutch insurance company. If you own a car in the Netherlands you are also required to take out car insurance. Any additional insurance is up to you and your need may differ depending on your personal situation.

The difficulty in comparing services for expats

The Netherlands is not lacking when it comes to utility providers, but with this comes a multitude of choices and comparisons. Despite the high level of English across the country, many utility providers only operate in Dutch making the process of setting up these services more complicated than perhaps anticipated. This further complicates the possibility of comparing services.

Fortunately there is help on the horizon. Due to the influx of expats to the country, the need to have access to services explained in English has been met. Utility Provider  for instance offer their services in English while working with a wide range of the best companies in the Netherlands. They can also give independent advice to help you find plans and offers that fit your individual needs (saving you money and the hassle of finding a dutch translator).

Does this article help?

Do you have any comments, updates or questions on this topic? Ask them here: