The Netherlands has excellent infrastructure. Practically every home has electricity, potable water, central heating, fixed-line phones, and mobile phone and high-speed internet coverage.


Most utilities in the Netherlands are sold in a ‘free-market system'. This means there are a number of suppliers competing with each other to supply private and business customers. Exceptions to this are water, where each property has a designated supplier, and the hardware (cables, etc.) used for fixed-line telephony and cable TV. The two last-mentioned are owned by the company that installed them and there is a charge for their use even if the signals passing through the cables come from another supplier.


While this system gives the advantage of lower prices and improved service, it also means that new arrivals may find choosing suppliers complicated. Getting connected to utilities suppliers is often time-consuming and sometimes difficult for people moving to the Netherlands. The main problem is simply language: although most Dutch people speak English, you may need to navigate through several Dutch-language telephone menus before you can speak to an operator. Be patient and ask for help if you need it.


In general, electricity, water, gas, and cable companies are best contacted by phone; internet providers through the web, and mobile phone companies via the web for comparison, and then by going to a shop to buy.


Electricity & Gas

It is possible to buy these energy sources separately, but most of the time it is easier to buy them together. Most suppliers offer price discounts if you do. There is no choice of supplier for the infrastructure of the electricity and gas itself (the pipelines). In the cities Eindhoven and Helmond, Endinet powers the infrastructure for electricity and gas. In the other part of Southeast Brabant and in the Maastricht region, Enexis power the infrastructure for electricity and gas. You are free to choose the actual supplier for electricity and gas.


When you move into your new home, the power and gas meters need to be read and a supplier contracted to supply you. Your real estate agent can usually help you complete the necessary forms.


If you decide to change supplier you should call your preferred option. You will need your address, date of birth and meter readings.


Facts: Electricity is 220 V, 50 Hz. The most common heating fuel is natural gas. The average temperature at home in the Netherlands is 21 °C



Each address has a single supplier. When you move into your new home, the water meter needs to be read, and the supplier informed that you are the new resident. Your real estate agent can usually help you complete the forms required. If you need to contact the supplier yourself, you will need your address, date of birth and meter readings.


Fixed-line telephone

It is not always necessary to have a fixed-line phone. Nowadays, quite a few expats moving to the Netherlands are choosing to live without one, and use their mobile phones to stay in touch.


If you do need a telephone line, it is worth applying for one as soon as you know your address because connection can take up to a week. There is no choice of supplier for the phone line itself - KPN was the Dutch state monopoly and still owns nearly all the hardware, though this situation is changing.


You can also organise your telephone line by visiting a phone shop. Take your passport, residence permit, work contract, bank account number, and address with you.


Facts: Telephones in the Netherlands use different connector plugs to many other countries, which means phones bought outside the Netherlands may not work without an adaptor or a new plug. There are many telephone companies offering cheap international calling.


Mobile telephones

All GSM mobile phones will work in the Netherlands. Even if you have a GSM phone from your home country, it is still advisable to switch to a Dutch SIM card when you arrive, otherwise you will pay more for your calls.


Go to a mobile phone supplier in town to get a new card and phone if required. Most shops are run by the supplier of the card/call time. Take your bank account number, passport, and address with you.



Internet is available through the telephone or the television cable. In each case, there are a number of different suppliers, but all take around three weeks to send the equipment and set up the connection. Once you have called the supplier, they will send the modem to your address. If you would like an engineer to assist you, you should ask the supplier (do not forget to check how the engineer should be paid). Payment for internet will always be by direct debit, so you must have a bank account first.


For Internet through the telephone network, you must have contracts with two companies:

  • The supplier of the physical network.
  • The Internet service provider (ISP).

Set up a fixed telephone line. Then call the internet service provider you wish to use. Phone numbers are available from the Yellow Pages or through the internet. Have your address, date of birth, phone number, and bank account details ready.


For internet through the cable, you must have a contract with a cable supplier as they also act as an internet service provider.







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