Travel Consideration: The Netherlands

Contributed By RealAdventures

The Netherlands is a highly-developed, stable democracy.

A passport is required. A visa is not required for U.S. citizens for visits of up to 90 days. For more information concerning entry requirements for the Netherlands, travelers can contact the Embassy of the Netherlands at 4200 Linnean Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, tel (202) 244-5300, or the Dutch consulate in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco. Additional information is available at and

While the rate of violent crime in the Netherlands is low, tourists are occasionally targeted, usually in conjunction with robbery attempts. Visitors to larger cities frequently fall prey to pickpockets, bag snatchers, and other petty thieves. While thieves may operate anywhere, the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam receives frequent reports of thefts from several specific areas:

The train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Central Station is particularly plagued by gangs of thieves, who often work in pairs. In those instances, one thief distracts the victim, often by asking for directions, while an accomplice moves in on the victim's momentarily unguarded handbag, backpack, or briefcase. The thieves typically time their thefts to coincide with train stops so they may quickly exit.

Within Amsterdam, thieves are very active in and around the Central Train Station, the red light district, in restaurants, and on public transportation, especially Trams One, Two, and Five between the Central Station and the Museum District.

Throughout the Netherlands, thefts of bicycles and of personal belongings from automobiles are very common.
The loss or theft abroad of an U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Useful information on safeguarding valuables and protecting personal safety while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad. It is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at, or

Medical facilities are widely available. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions which differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning the Netherlands is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Excellent
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Excellent

In urban areas, motorists must be especially mindful of the priority rights of bicyclists. Lanes at the center of many urban two-way streets are reserved for buses, trams, and taxis. Pedestrians should pay particular attention not to walk along bicycle paths, which are often on the sidewalk and usually designated by red pavement.

Taxi service in the Netherlands is safe but expensive. Trams and buses are both convenient and economical, but they are frequented by pickpockets.

Customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, an/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information call 212-354-4480, send an e-mail to, or visit for details.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the Consulate General in Amsterdam and to obtain updated information on travel and security in the Netherlands.

The U.S. Embassy is located in The Hague, at Lange Voorhout 102; telephone (31)(70) 310-9209. However, all requests for consular assistance should be directed to the Consulate General in Amsterdam at Museumplein 19, telephone (31)(20) 664-5661, (31)(20)679-0321, or (31)(20) 575-5309. The after-hours emergency telephone number is (31)(70) 310-9499. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General website at answers many questions of interest to Americans visiting or residing in the Netherlands.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of the Netherlands' Civil Aviation Authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of the Netherlands' air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at 618-229-4801.

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