If you'all plan on using an American credit card in a Dutch or French train station make sure the credit card has a chip or at least it is verified by visa. If not it most likely will not work. You can go online to verified by visa to have your credit card enabled before you travel.
In many Dutch trains there are sectection called "Stilte Coupe", a part where you are required to be silent, so people can study, read or relax.
In these sections the use of cell phones is forbidden; the same goes for loud talking.
These sections can be recognized by the the wording "STILTE - SILENCE" on the outside windows.
Be aware of trees with a red/whire striped ribbon with the wording:
PAS OP EIKENPROCESSIERUPS.
These ribbons warn you for mainly oak trees that have processionary caterpillar colonies on them. The hairs of these caterpillars cause a red rash on your skin and a terrible itch.
In this small country, the road system is dense and well maintained. But that also means loads of traffic and loads of road works. This could turn a, say 80 km drive, into a 2 hour journey if you have the bad luck of getting into a traffic jam.
It's good to know beforehand where the road works are.
The road works are always well indicated on the road so it's not dangerous. Nevertheless they often cause traffic jams.
Check out the link below for current information in English, German, French, Italian, Polish, Spanish
When a friend of mine was introduced to my Netherlands page he pointed out that the main Danger was not listed on this page: ME !
So he writes:
Be aware that provoking this citizen is a hazardous activity. If confronted by this small Dutch person do not be unduly alarmed. Usually, offerings of small gifts such as chocolate or even large gifts of chocolate will render her entirely safe.
What are friends for, eh?
Do not change money when people ask you in the street. Not even make a bank-note smaller or bigger. If you have to do that for your own use, go into a shop or bank.
Look on the website for Euro information
I've seen many forum posting or I receive questions about working and living in The Netherlands. Now this is not so simple as many people think. For the necessary requirements for citizens of the USA, go to the link below.
If you want correct information, please direct your questions to a Dutch Embassy or Consulate in your country. See also link below.
Another good link is CWI, Center for Work and Income
After five years of working and living in The Netherlands you could become eligible for a Dutch passport under certain conditions.
In The Netherlands guilder banknotes can be changed until 1/1/2032, legitimation required.
Coins can be exchanged until 1/1/2007 (max. 1000 coins per transaction, legitimation required).
Both only at the Dutch national bank.
The address is:
De Nederlandsche Bank NV
Westeinde 1, 1017 ZN Amsterdam
Postbus 98, 1000 AB Amsterdam
Telefax 020 - 524 25 00
Until 1/1/2003 you can go to your local Dutch bank and deposit the money into your bank account (no cash refund).
Read more on www.euro.nl
Read more about the Euro on my Europe page!
There's lots if info on all countries using the Euro and a historical travelogue with pictures all the old Dutch guilder coins.
Fun side I think.
One better laugh about it then get annoyed .. life s a box of chocolates, as Forrest Gump once stated, better be amazed because of it and try to be content with what you get.
Or hear, in this case.
Alright, so you're either in need or trespassing....then you'll be happy or not so happy to see this police car!
112 is the equivalent of 911 in the US.
But only and ONLY for emergencies.
If you need police but it is not an emergency you call
See below: Dutch police website, information in English.
When your driving, walking or on a bike... the road sign for you to give way is like a row of sharks teeth across the road, when they are pointing at you then you give way.
This is more important when you are on a bike... as you will mostly have the right of way, but if the sharks teeth are against you STOP!
In The Netherlands it's perfectly normal not to give a tip at all. I think I do so about half the time. The other half: not. And when we do tip, the height is usually determined by the amount of small change involved in paying the bill. Say something is € 35, I'd dig out a euro or two at the most. If I haven't got that euro, then no tip.
Say something is € 33,90, I'd give 35 and tell them to keep the change. But I might also give that half or whole euro if the total bill is around € 15.
When I am eating out well and good (essentially spending a full evening in a restaurant), I'll tip a % of the bill but never more than 10%.
When I am abroad I tip more. Probably because I may be unsure if service is included.
How we tip in 2011
A recent poll by a big bank website showed that if our restaurant bill is 59 euro and we are satisfied with our meal then we pay this:
59 euro 10 %
60 euro 25 %
61-64 euro 38 %
65 euro 26 %
65 euro or more 1 %
Recent crimes map
Credit Card fraud map (2008)
Since January 1, 2004 there is a smoking ban in all public buildings, including restaurants and work spaces in general.
At the train stations you are only allowed to smoke near the PAFPAAL.
From mid-2008 there's a general smoking ban in bars and restaurants. From 2010 there are small bars with a section for smokers.
Back in the spring of 2002 I had spent two wonderful weeks in London staying at the flat of a friend of mine who was attending the London School of Economics.
During my first week there my friend and I decided to take a short trip to Holland. We hopped a flight from Gatwick and arrived just a few hours later near Amsterdam (I forget now which airport.) Next we took a train from the airport to the Centraal Station in Amsterdam.
I had borrowed an overnight bag from my friend for the trip, as we were only staying two days. When we got on the train I wasn't sure where to store my friend's bag, which had all my toilet articles and a change of clothing. I had decided to keep it on the floor in front of me, when one of the passengers sitting directly across from us complained that it was in his way. He suggested that I store the bag in the space behind our seat. Big mistake!
I ultimately forgot about the bag and left it behind on the train when we arrived at the station. I didn't realize it until after the train had departed again. The bag also contained two new, disposable cameras that I had brought along for the trip. Frantically I reported the incident to the Station Manager, who took my name and my friend's address in London in case the bag should turn up (long story short: it never did and I eventually had to reimburse my friend for it!)
Fortunately there was nothing in the bag that couldn't be replaced; but I would have to go out at some point after I got settled in and purchase a new razor, toothbrush and other toilet articles. I had booked a room at a local Hostel near Amsterdam's infamous "Red Light" district. My friend, who had a paper to write for school. decided to stay at a nearby hotel. After my friend and I went our separate ways (we would meet again in two days at the train station to return together to London) I went up to my room to unpack.
I had made sure that my passport and traveler's checks were tucked away safely in one of those nylon "waist-safes" that one wears underneath clothing to prevent theft. Unfortunately I forgot that I had a 50-Euro Note and my ATM/Check Card unsecured in my shirt pocket. While I was out and about looking for a Chemist's Shop where I could purchase toothpaste, etc., I encountered a woman who seemed upset. She was babbling incoherently and was speaking a language that I didn't recognize or understand. I got the impression, however, that she was either asking for help or for directions.
At one point she grasped my wrist with one hand and had her other hand on my shoulder. She started tugging at my wrist as if she wanted me to follow her somewhere. At that point I saw a police officer a few yards away and I suggested that we go and ask him for help. The woman got nervous when I pointed out the officer, however. She then politely declined any help in very Broken English and then quickly departed.
I stood there for a moment, scratching my head and wondering why she ran off so fast... and then resumed walking. When I finally found a Chemist's Shop I reached into my shirt pocket for my money, only to find that the Euro Note was gone! That woman was obviously a pickpocket and had slipped her hand that was on my shoulder into my pocket while she distracted me by tugging at my wrist with her other hand.
Fortunately she didn't take my ATM/Check Card and I was ultimately able to withdraw more funds from my checking account. I made darned sure, however, that my card and any cash were always secured in my waist-safe from that moment on! When I told my friend about the incident she said that the woman was probably a homeless person and/or drug addict who may have been looking to score cash with which to buy drugs. She probably would not have had any use for my ATM/Check Card, my friend added.
So I learned a valuable lesson the hard way... always keep an eye on your personal belongings and your cash and credit cards; or you could be a pickpocket's next target!
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