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Netherlands - Exercise normal security precautions
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for the Netherlands. Exercise normal security precautions.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
Violent crime rarely occurs in the Netherlands; however, petty crime (such as pickpocketing and bag snatching) occurs in the larger cities, particularly in Amsterdam, where it constitutes a major problem. Tourists are frequently victims of robbery. Be vigilant at all times and pay attention to your surroundings.
Thieves operate on trains and time their activities to coincide with train stops, which allow for a quick exit. Victims who resist have been physically assaulted. Be particularly cautious on trains to and from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and the corridor between Rotterdam Central Station and Amsterdam Central Station.
In Amsterdam, thieves are also active in restaurants and coffee shops, around the de Wallen district (the red-light district) and at Central Station, as well as on public transportation, especially tram routes 1, 2 and 5, between Central Station and the museum district.
Organized gangs of thieves often use distracting techniques. Typically, a member of the gang will soil the victim’s clothes or ask directions while others rob the victim.
Passports and other valuable documents are often stolen from youth hostels in Amsterdam.
Since 2013, the Dutch government has maintained the threat level in the Netherlands at “substantial”. This is the second-highest level in the Netherlands’ four-level rating system. While stressing that there are no reliable indications that terrorist networks are currently plotting attacks in the Netherlands, the Dutch authorities raised their levels of vigilance given their assessment that there is a realistic possibility that an attack will take place in the Netherlands. Exercise caution and maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times and in all places. Consult the Ministry of Security and Justice for more information on threat levels.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery. Such incidents have been reported.
Roads are excellent, although road congestion is common in areas around Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam, where rail is a convenient alternative. There is a chronic lack of parking spaces throughout the country, and fines for illegal parking are severe.
Cyclists have priority over other traffic. Trams have priority except where signposted at major junctions and busses have priority when pulling out of bus stops. Unless otherwise signposted, vehicles coming from the right have priority. The centre lanes of many urban two-way streets are reserved for buses, trams and taxis.
Motorists and pedestrians must pay attention to cyclists and cycle paths.
Road Traffic Signs and Regulations in the Netherlands is a comprehensive guide published by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment that answers all questions on rules for drivers and cyclists, signs, hand signals by traffic police, parking rules and much more.
Public transportation is excellent.
Taxi service is generally safe but expensive.
Rail is convenient in the areas of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. Consult the Dutch website Holland by train for more information.
The Government of Canada does not provide information on the safety of foreign domestic airlines. Research foreign domestic airlines, aircraft and government safety supervision if you have concerns about aviation safety standards abroad.
Demonstrations occur periodically in larger urban centres such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings as they have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
General safety information
Exercise normal safety precautions. Ensure that personal belongings and your passport and other travel documents are secure at all times. Do not carry valuables or large sums of money on your person. Do not leave baggage or personal belongings unattended in a vehicle at any time.
Dial 0900-8844 for the police (non-emergency)
The Victim Support Netherlands (Slachtofferhulp Nederland – SHN) service assists victims, witnesses or survivors after a crime, disappearance, accident or calamity. The SHN can be reached at 0900-0101 (press 1 for assistance) or by email at email@example.com.
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Dutch authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Royal Netherlands Embassy or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
The Netherlands are a Schengen area member state. Upon arrival, Canadians are required to present a passport that must be valid for at least three months beyond the date of expected departure from the Schengen area. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Customs officials will ask you to show them a return ticket and proof of sufficient funds for your stay.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days*
Business visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days*
Student visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days*
* The 90-day period begins upon initial entry into any country of the Schengen area.
The following 26 countries comprise the Schengen area: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The Schengen area has common rules regarding visas and controls at external borders.
You do not need visas for short-term visits of up to 90 days within a six-month period. Your stays are cumulative, and include visits to any country within the Schengen area. Some countries require that you register with local authorities within three working days of your arrival.
It is important to get your passport stamped when entering the Schengen area. The absence of an entry stamp from the initial Schengen port of entry could create difficulties during subsequent encounters with local police or other authorities throughout the Schengen area.
After 90 days of stay in the Schengen area, you must leave for another 90 days before you can re-enter.
If you overstay the permitted 90 days in the Schengen area, you may be fined or deported. To visit for longer than 90 days, you must obtain a long-stay national visa.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
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Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Excellent medical facilities are widely available.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Canada and the Netherlands are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in the Netherlands to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Dutch authorities.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in the Netherlands. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you a Dutch citizen. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
You must carry adequate identification at all times if you are over the age of 14. Anyone failing to show appropriate identification to law enforcement authorities upon request may be fined. Valid passports, Dutch residence permits and driving licences issued in the Netherlands or elsewhere in the European Union and the European Economic Area are considered acceptable. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of loss or seizure.
Report the loss or theft of identification documents immediately to the nearest police station. Obtain a copy of the police report, keep it on your person and apply for a replacement document as soon as possible.
It is a common misconception that the Netherlands is tolerant of soft drugs; however, in reality, penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs (including hashish and marijuana) are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
To overcome public nuisance and crime, an increasing number of municipalities are enforcing existing legislation banning non-residents of the Netherlands from purchasing cannabis at licenced “coffee shops”.
You must be at least 18 years old to drive a car in the Netherlands. An International Driving Permit is recommended.
Penalties for drinking and driving are strict. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05 percent.
Traffic offences can carry heavy, on-the-spot fines. If you are fined, always ask for a receipt. The use of cellular telephones while driving is prohibited, unless they are fitted with a hands-free device.
Dutch police have been known to hand out fines to pedestrians crossing the street on a red light.
Same-sex marriage is legal.
The currency of the Netherlands is the euro (EUR).
Traveller’s cheques and credit cards are widely accepted, and automated banking machines are widely available.
When crossing one of the external border control points of the European Union (EU), you must make a declaration to customs upon entry or exit if you have at least €10,000, or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible assets. This does not apply if you are travelling within the EU or in transit to a non-EU country. For more information on the EU legislation and links to EU countries’ sites, visit the European Commission’s website on cash controls.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
Flooding is a threat on coastal lands protected from the sea by dikes.
The Hague - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in The Hague and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre located in Ottawa.
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