The Netherlands joined the Euro on 1 January 2002 and later that month the Guilder was taken out of circulation. Coins come in denominations of two, five, 10, 20, 50 cent coins; one and two Euro coins; and five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euro notes. Most shops don’t accept 200 and 500 euro notes.
You can change money at banks, large post offices and exchanges (Grenswisselkantoren or GWK).
Most banks are open Mondays 1pm to 5pm and Tuesday to Fridays 9am to 5pm, while GWK open during weekends at larger rail stations.
The main banks in the Netherlands are ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank. Banks do not tend to open accounts for students studying less than 12 months. To open a student account you will need your passport, rental agreement and a student card/letter from the university. You’ll receive a bank card to use in ATM’s (geldautomaat or giromaat) and in shops and restaurants.
To post a letter, use the orange or red post boxes on the streets and in shopping centres. Use the slot in the post box that corresponds to the postcode on your letter and make sure that you have paid the correct postage. Mini-post offices in grocery stores, Bruna bookshops, as well as TNT post office and supermarket cigarette counters sell stamps. Post is collected in the evenings and arrives the next day.
To make a call within your city dial the recipient’s six or seven digit number. To call outside your area add the area code (zero plus three or four digits).
To make an international call dial 00, then the country’s national code, then the area code (if any) without its initial zero and finally the number. The national code for the Netherlands is 31 and the area code for The Hague is 70.
Cheap pay-as-you-talk mobile phones can be obtained at Lebara Mobile or Lycamobile and top them up with your credit card. Once settled, applying for a mobile contract might be useful.
Laundry and dry cleaning
If the accommodation does not have a washing machine a Laundrette (wasserette) can be used. A load of clothes costs around €5,-. It costs around €7,- for a service wash, including detergents and drying.
In addition to universities collections The Hague also offers many libraries. Most require a passport and proof of address to join. The main libraries include:
- National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek) www.kb.nl/index-en.html
- The Hague public library (Bibliotheek Den Haag) www.bibliotheekdenhaag.nl
- T.M.C. Asser Institute Library www.asser.nl
- Peace Palace Library www.peacepalacelibrary.nl
Get the most out of your stay in The Hague with some basic knowledge of Dutch. Before looking for a language course in The Hague check with your university if they offer any language courses for students.