- We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions.
- Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities, such as Glasgow, London, Madrid, and Moscow. Targets have included public transport and transport hubs, and public places frequented by foreigners. In addition, a number of planned attacks have been disrupted by European security services in recent years, underscoring the continuing interest of terrorists in attacking European locations.
- On the 13 March 2013, the Dutch Government raised its national terrorism threat level from ?limited? to ?substantial? indicating that there is a realistic possibility that an attack will take place in the Netherlands.
- The investiture of Prince Willem-Alexander as King of The Netherlands will take place in Amsterdam on 30 April 2013. From 29 April to 1 May there will be higher security, disruptions to public transport and other arrangements. See the ?Local travel? section for more information.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
Entry and exit
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Netherlands for the most up to date information.
The Netherlands is a party to the Schengen Convention, along with 24 other European countries, which allows Australians to enter the Netherlands without a visa in some circumstances. See our travel bulletin on the Schengen Convention for more information.
People travelling directly to or from a country outside the European Union (EU) carrying 10,000 Euros or more (or the equivalent amount in another currency) are required to declare the cash at the place of their arrival or departure from the EU. Under the legislation, the term "cash" includes cheques, travellers' cheques and money orders. Travellers failing to declare the cash or providing incomplete or incorrect information will incur a fine. There is no requirement to declare cash for people travelling to or from another EU country.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Safety and security
We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks. For further details see The Netherlands' National Coordinator for Counterterrorism website .
The Dutch Government has publicly referred to the activities of extremist groups which may point to the preparation of terrorist attacks in The Netherlands directed at Dutch Government buildings, public events, shopping centres, and rail and air transport infrastructure. In response, Dutch authorities have increased security measures.
On the 13 March 2013, the Dutch Government raised its national terrorism threat level from ?limited? to ?substantial? indicating that there is a realistic possibility that an attack will take place in the Netherlands.
In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities, such as Glasgow, London, Madrid, and Moscow. Targets have included public transport and transport hubs, and public places frequented by foreigners. In addition, a number of planned attacks have been disrupted by European security services in recent years, underscoring the continuing interest of terrorists in attacking European locations.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers .
Civil unrest/Political tension
Australians are advised to avoid all demonstrations, protests and rallies, as they may turn violent, and to remain informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring media and other local information sources.
Foreigners are often the targets of robbery, pickpocketing and bag snatching. Pickpocketing is common around Amsterdam's main tourist attractions, in restaurants and tourist accommodation, at Central Station and on public transport. There are frequent reports of bag snatching on trains and trams, including those that operate through Schiphol Airport (the Netherlands' major international airport at Amsterdam). Laptop computers are an attractive target for thieves operating on public transport systems. Do not carry passports and other valuable possessions in the laptop bag.
Thieves usually operate in pairs, with one attempting to distract you while the other steals your possessions. People using automatic teller machines (ATMs) are increasingly being targeted by thieves, especially around nightclubs and bars.
There are reports of thieves posing as plain clothes policemen. The thieves ask to inspect currency and credit cards looking for counterfeits. Tourists handing over their money have been robbed.
Incidents of drink spiking have been reported. Do not leave drinks unattended or accept drinks from strangers.
Advance fee fraud and lottery scams occur in the Netherlands. Typically, advance fee fraud takes the form of foreigners being contacted in their home country by email, and advised of an inheritance or other offer, often originating in Africa. The perpetrators seek an advance payment for alleged official expenses, and the victim is invited to visit the Netherlands to finalise the transaction. No monies are paid to the victim and, upon return to their home country, there may be further bogus offers of assistance from sham legal representatives to recoup lost funds.
The lottery scam typically takes the form of a foreigner being contacted as the beneficiary of bogus foreign lottery winnings, with a request for payment to facilitate administration costs associated with winnings. Australians have lost large sums of money in such scams. To find out more about scams, see also our International scams page.
Money and valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work overseas.
Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority .
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
The investiture of Prince Willem-Alexander as King of the Netherlands will take place in Amsterdam on 30 April 2013. Dutch authorities expect larger than usual crowds in Amsterdam to mark this significant event. Security around the Royal Palace and De Nieuwe Kerk (The New Church), where the inauguration will take place, will be increased for the duration.
Public transport during this period will be disrupted. Australians travelling through The Netherlands around this period should monitor local public transportation schedules and Dutch tourist websites, such as
, for the most up-to-date information. Information on revised train schedules can be found on the following website:
. Travellers should also be aware that from 29 April to 1 May, the possession of alcohol on public transportation and within train stations is prohibited. Anyone caught in possession of alcohol during this period may be fined.
Holders of current Australian driving licences may drive in the Netherlands for 185 days from their date of arrival in the Netherlands. After this period a Dutch licence is required.
Motorists should be aware that trams, cyclists and mopeds have right of way. The Dutch drive on the right and priority is given to traffic and cyclists approaching from the right, unless otherwise indicated. Local legislation requires drivers to be in possession of a warning triangle and fluorescent jackets for occupants of the vehicle in case of breakdown. For further advice on road safety, see our road travel page.
In January 2010, Schiphol airport introduced increased security procedures, including full body scans. See Schiphol airport website for more information. The new procedures may increase the time to clear customs. Travellers should check with their airlines for suggested pre-departure check-in times.
For further information on aviation safety and security, please refer to our air travel page.
When you are in the Netherlands, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter .
The emergency services telephone number in the Netherlands is 112.
Under Dutch law everyone over the age of 14 is required to carry identification, such as a valid passport, driver's licence, identity card or Dutch residency card, at all times. Dutch police officers and other law enforcement officials can request to see your identification at any time. You can be fined if you fail to present identification when requested.
The purchase and personal use of drugs such as cannabis is only allowed in designated premises (so called ?coffee shops?) in the Netherlands. Purchasing and/or using of drugs outside of these designated premises are illegal and may result in arrest and/or heavy fines.
As at 1 May 2012, the Dutch Government introduced a new law that bans non-residents of the Netherlands from purchasing cannabis in designated premises in three southern provinces in The Netherlands (Zeeland, North Brabant and Limburg). The rest of the Netherlands is required to comply with this new law from 1 January 2013.
Possession and trafficking of large quantities of hard drugs or any narcotics, including psychoactive mushrooms, will attract criminal penalties.
The minimum age for driving a car is 18.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money, laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australian overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years? imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
Information for dual nationals
Our Dual Nationals brochure provides further information for dual nationals.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations (including booster doses of childhood vaccinations) and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our Travelling Well brochure also provides useful tips for staying healthy while travelling overseas.
Medical facilities and care are comparable with those in Australia, however medical costs in the Netherlands are expensive.
There is a Reciprocal Health Agreement between Australia and the Netherlands which provides for urgent or emergency medical treatment in the public hospital system. Treatment in private hospitals or as a private patient in a public hospital is not covered under the Agreement, nor does the Agreement provide treatment to Australians entering the Netherlands with the specific intention of obtaining medical treatment.
The Reciprocal Health Care Agreement does not replace the need for private travel health insurance. See Medicare's website for further information.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world. For a list of these countries, visit the OIE website . For information on our advice to Australians on how to reduce the risk of infection and on Australian Government precautions see our travel bulletin on avian influenza .
Where to get help
In the Netherlands, you can obtain consular assistance from the:
Australian Embassy, The Hague
2517 KH The Hague
Telephone (31 70) 310 8200
Facsimile (31 70) 310 8250
If you are travelling to Netherlands, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the above Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.
For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with Children page.