The Netherlands - Consular Information Sheet
September 24, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Netherlands is a highly-developed,
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. A visa is
not required for U.S. citizens for visits up to 90 days. For
further information on entry requirements for the Netherlands,
travelers may contact the Embassy of the Netherlands at 4200
Linnean Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202)
244-5300, or the Dutch consulate in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles,
New York, or San Francisco. Additional information is available
at http://www.netherlands-embassy.org and the
Netherlands Bureau for Tourism in New York at http://www.goholland.com.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission
for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not
present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required,
may facilitate entry/departure.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Prior police approval is required
for public demonstrations in the Netherlands, and police oversight
is routinely provided to ensure adequate security for participants
and passers-by. Nonetheless, situations may develop which could
pose a threat to public safety. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid
areas in which public demonstrations are taking place.
CRIME: 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 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
Within Amsterdam, thieves are very active in and around the Central
Train Station, the WTC/Zuid Train/Tram Station, the red light
district, in restaurants, hotels, and on public transportation,
especially trams 1, 2, and 5 between the Central Station and the
Throughout the Netherlands, thefts of bicycles and of personal
belongings (such as briefcases and computer bags) from automobiles
are very common.
The loss or theft of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately
to local police and the nearest
U.S. embassy or consulate. If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen
while you are in the Netherlands, please contact the U.S. Consulate
General in Amsterdam for information about passport replacement.
U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet,
Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a more trouble-free
pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via
the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, .
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND INSURANCE: Good medical facilities
are widely available. The Department of State strongly urges Americans
to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling
abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether
it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.
U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred
outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased.
Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment
for medical services outside the United States. However, many
travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that
will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency
services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000.
Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face
extreme difficulties, whereas travelers who have purchased overseas
medical insurance have found it to be life-saving when a medical
emergency occurs. When consulting with your insurer prior to your
trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas
healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses
that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage
for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the
event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202)
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Travelers should be aware that
increasing numbers of illegal drug users, particularly young people,
experience unanticipated serious health emergencies, including
permanent brain damage and even death, resulting from use of Methylenedioxinmethylamphetamine
(MDA), commonly known as Ecstasy or XTC, and other illegal narcotics.
vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for
international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747, fax
1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that 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
Safety of Public Transportation: Excellent
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Excellent
Travel in, around, and between cities is possible through a highly
advanced national train, light rail, and tram network, by use
of an extensive system of bike paths, and by automobile and motorcycle
using the highway system. Rail is often a convenient alternative
to driving, particularly in the areas around Amsterdam, The Hague,
and Rotterdam, where road congestion is frequent. Rail network
information is available at http://www.ns.nl.
Inter-city travel by road is relatively safe, in comparison with
some other European countries. Roughly 12,000 people are hospitalized
annually in traffic accidents in the Netherlands, approximately
ten percent fatally. More than two-thirds of the fatal accidents
occur outside of urban areas.
Seat belt and child seat use is compulsory. Driving is on the
right side of the road. The maximum speed limit on highways is
120 km/h, with a highway speed limit of 100 km/h posted in most
urban areas. Secondary roads have a speed limit of 80 km/h. The
speed limit in towns and cities is 50 km/h, with 30 km/h posted
in residential areas. Drivers must yield the right-of-way to drivers
from the right at intersections or traffic circles, unless otherwise
posted. The maximum allowable blood alcohol level in the Netherlands
is 0.5. Use of cellular telephones while driving is discouraged.
Lanes at the center of many urban two-way streets are reserved
for buses, trams, and taxis. In cities, pedestrians should be
very mindful of trams, which often cross or share bicycle and
pedestrian paths. Motorists must be especially mindful of the
priority rights of bicyclists. Pedestrians should also 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 it is expensive.
Trams and buses are both convenient and economical, but they are
often frequented by pickpockets.
For additional general information about road safety, including
links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of
State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
information concerning the Netherlands, please contact the Netherlands
Bureau for Tourism in New York via the Internet at http://www.goholland.com.
is available from the Netherlands Ministry of Transportation,
Public Works, and Water Management (Ministerie van Verkeer
en Waterstraat) at http://www.minvenw.nl.
EMERGENCY NUMBERS: The national emergency number (equivalent
to 9-1-1) is 1-1-2. The
primary local roadside emergency service is the ANWB, web
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of the Netherlands' Civil Aviation
Authority as Category One -- in compliance with international
aviation safety standards for the oversight of the Netherlands'
air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation in the United States at telephone 1 (800) 322-7873,
the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
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 the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Customs authorities may enforce strict
regulations concerning temporary import into the Netherlands of
items such as firearms. It is advisable to contact the Embassy
of the Netherlands in Washington, D.C. or one of the Dutch consulates
in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, or New York for specific information
regarding customs requirements.
Dutch customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission
Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission
of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/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, please call (212) 354-4480,
or send an e-mail to email@example.com, or visit http://www.uscib.org
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Dutch laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Drug possession and trafficking are illegal in the Netherlands.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site
at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATION: Americans
living in or visiting the Netherlands are encouraged to register
at the Consulate General in Amsterdam and 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)(20)
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)
U.S. Embassy and Consulate General web site at http://www.usemb.nl
answers many questions of interest to Americans visiting or residing
in the Netherlands.
* * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated March 14,
2001, to add the section on Safety and Security.