Netherlands travel advice
Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)
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- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
Netherlands - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in the Netherlands.
Safety and security
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities and further attacks are likely.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants, bars, cafés, shopping centres, markets and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant if attending sporting events and during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.
The Dutch government maintains a public alert system on terrorism and communicates threat level changes online and through local media.
Current terrorism threat levels - Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, occurs, particularly in larger cities.
Thieves often target tourists. In Amsterdam, they are typically active:
- in restaurants and cafés
- in establishments that sell soft drugs, locally referred to as coffee shops
- at tourist attractions, including around the De Wallen District, also known as the red-light district
- at the Central Station
- on public transportation, particularly tram routes 1, 2, and 5, between Central Station and the museum district
Organized groups of pickpockets often use distracting techniques. Typically, a member of the group will distract someone by spilling something on them or by asking for directions, while others rob the victim.
Individuals posing as plain-clothes police officers have also approached foreigners to verify their documents or foreign currency with the intent to rob them. In a similar situation, politely decline to cooperate or offer to go to the nearest police station.
Thieves also operate on trains. They time their activities to coincide with train stops, which allows for a quick exit. Always be alert and particularly cautious on trains.
Travellers have had their passports and other valuable documents stolen in hostels.
- Ensure that personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Do not carry valuables or large sums of money
- Never leave baggage or personal belongings unattended
Home burglaries occur, particularly in larger cities during the winter holiday period. Perpetrators monitor a property and break in when they know the residents are away.
Violent crime also occurs, including armed robbery. If you are the victim of such an incident, don’t resist. Attackers have sometimes assaulted their victims for failing to comply or not complying quickly enough.
Loss or theft of ID documents
In case of the loss or theft of an identification document:
- immediately report the incident to the nearest police station
- obtain a copy of the police report and keep it with you at all times
- apply for a replacement document as soon as possible
To file a police report, authorities in certain jurisdictions may require your passport or at least a copy. Before you go, make sure to bring a photocopy or a digital copy of your passport.
Credit card and ATM fraud
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Cybercrime occurs. Perpetrators may compromise public Wi-Fi networks to steal credit card or personal information.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks
- Avoid making purchases on unencrypted websites
- Be cautious when posting information on social media
- Be particularly vigilant when contacting or meeting individuals known over the internet
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. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Demonstrations take place frequently, particularly in major cities. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Roads conditions and road safety are excellent throughout the country.
Be cautious when driving and keep the following in mind:
- cyclists have priority over other traffic
- trams have priority except where signposted at major junctions
- buses have priority when pulling out of bus stops
- unless otherwise signposted, vehicles coming from the right have priority
Whether you’re driving or on foot, pay attention to cyclists and when crossing bike paths. While on foot, make sure you’re not inadvertently walking on a bike path. These commonly run alongside sidewalks and are not always clearly marked.
Trams sometimes share pedestrian streets. Always be alert when walking near tram rails.
Pedestrians must follow the traffic lights at intersections. Even if it was safe to do so, you could be fined if you cross a road without waiting for the green light.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Dutch authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
The Netherlands is a Schengen area country. Canadian citizens do not need a visa for travel to countries within the Schengen area. However, visa-free travel only applies to stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country.
If you plan to stay in the Schengen area for a longer period of time, you will need a visa. You must contact the high commission or embassy of the country or countries you are travelling to and obtain the appropriate visa(s) prior to travel.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave the Schengen area.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
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
Other entry requirements
Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines are right for you.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
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.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* 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.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air..
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
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.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
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.
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. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
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
Health care is excellent. Service is available throughout the country.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
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 and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons
Canada and the Netherlands are signatories to the 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. This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.
Despite a common misconception, soft drugs like cannabis are controlled substances in the Netherlands. Some establishments, locally known as coffee shops, are allowed to sell soft drugs for personal use, but they must be licensed. Buyers must also be residents of the Netherlands.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. You could face a jail sentence and heavy fines for:
- attempting to travel in or out of the Netherlands with soft drugs, even for personal use
- using drugs outside licensed establishments
- attempting to buy drugs at a licensed establishment if you’re not a resident of the Netherlands
It’s illegal in the Netherlands to carry certain types of knives. These restrictions might be more severe in certain municipalities and public venues, such as restaurants and stadiums.
Avoid travelling with a knife.
You must carry valid identification at all times if you are over 14. Local authorities may give you a fine if you fail to show them appropriate identification upon request.
The following documents, if valid, are acceptable identification:
- Dutch residence permits
- driver’s licence issued in the Netherlands or elsewhere in the European Union and the European Economic Area
Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it’s lost or confiscated.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in the Netherlands, with some exceptions.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of the Netherlands, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
- More about dual nationality - Government of the Netherlands
- General information for travellers with dual citizenship
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and the Netherlands.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in the Netherlands, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Netherlands court.
If you are in this situation:
- act as quickly as you can
- contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in the Netherlands to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
You must be at least 18 years old to drive a car in the Netherlands.
You should carry an international driving permit.
Traffic offences and parking violations can carry heavy, on-the-spot fines. If you are fined, always ask for a receipt.
- More about the International Driving Permit
- More information about driving in the Netherlands - European Commission
The currency of the Netherlands is the euro (EUR).
Credit cards are not widely accepted. Make sure you have access to enough cash to cover expenses during your trip.
If you are carrying €10,000 or more, or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs when you enter or leave the European Union. It includes sums in:
- banknotes and coins
- bearer negotiable instruments such as cheques, travellers’ cheques, promissory notes and money orders
- bonds, shares
- gold coins with a gold content of at least 90 %
- gold bars, nuggets or clumps with a gold content of at least 99.5 %
- any other convertible asset
This does not apply if you are travelling within the European Union or in transit to a non-EU country.
EU cash controls - European Commission
Natural disasters and climate
Flooding is a threat to coastal lands protected from the sea by dikes.
Along with flooding, strong winds can occur, particularly during the winter months. If severe wind storms are expected, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute will issue national or regional warnings.
Latest warnings - Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (in Dutch)
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
The Hague - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to the Netherlands, in The Hague, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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