How can I make my international calls cheaper?

There are several ways to make your international calls cheaper:

  • Video call programs or apps
  • The 0900 numbers: There are several companies that use 0900 numbers to provide cheap international calls. These 0900 numbers are paid service numbers and prices for using them can vary. You pay an initial connection charge and then the costs for the call (normally per minute or per second). Check for a comparison of prices for different providers
  • Discount telephone cards. In the Netherlands there are many discount telephone cards available (belkaarten or telefoonkaarten; also known as ‘calling cards’). These can be purchased at telephone shops, post offices and tobacco shops. They have a fixed purchase price, but call costs may vary depending on the destination being called and the method of access. Some cards offer special rates to a particular world region – such as the Americas, Europe, Africa or Asia. It therefore pays to purchase a card which offers the cheapest rate to the destinations you most frequently call. Most cards have an expiry date, and a limited period of use, once activated. The cards can be used with domestic landlines, mobile phones, and with public pay-phones. Unfortunately, not all companies offering these cards are reliable. Some charge additional, unannounced costs or the card expires before the official expiry date.

I am travelling on a regular basis to my home country. How can I use my mobile phone both in the Netherlands and in my home country?

For many members of the international community, it may be important to be able to make and receive calls while travelling to other countries. As of 15 June 2017, roaming charges do not apply when travelling in the EU, meaning that you will pay the same prices as at home. For data and calls limits while abroad, check with your phone provider.

International roaming agreements via cellular operators allow foreign operators to use their networks so that they have a broader international coverage. However, mobile phone providers charge rather high costs for making phone calls or data transfer with smartphones abroad. Even when somebody calls you when you are abroad, you have to pay for the call. This also applies for listening to your voice mail.

The best alternative is to buy a local prepaid SIM card once you are abroad (on the condition that your mobile phone is simlock free). You now have a local mobile number that you can pass on to family and friends. If they live in the Netherlands, they can make cheaper calls by using special 0900 numbers. They are only charged for the costs of calling the 0900 number. It works in a similar manner as making cheap international calls via your landline.

Unfortunately, not all mobile telephones are compatible with networks in different parts of the world. The USA, Canada, Latin American and African countries use a different network to the Netherlands. Depending on the bands of your mobile phone and those used by the country where you travel, it can happen that you cannot use your Dutch mobile telephone there. Please contact your Dutch mobile telephone provider for more information. The standard mobile nowadays is Triband which is useable in most countries. A Quad-band, also known as ‘world phone’, allows global use.

Can I use my mobile phone in my car?

Drivers and riders of motorised vehicles, mopeds and vehicles for people with disabilities are not allowed to make or receive telephone calls without an aid, such as a headset or ‘hands-free’ car kit. Sending and receiving SMS and e-mail messages is also not permitted. You are not even allowed to hold your telephone in your hand when on the move. If you need to make or receive a telephone call while driving and you have no hands-free car kit, you must park your vehicle alongside and then make/receive the call.

This law applies not only during actual driving, but also while moving slowly for example in a traffic jam. You may use a mobile telephone while being parked or otherwise stationary. Violation of this law carries a fine.

How can I find a post office? I have been looking around but I don’t see any signs indicating a post office.

The Dutch post office used to be an office where you could obtain all postal products and services and some services not related to mail. These post offices do not exist anymore and have been replaced by smaller postal shops located in other shops, such as bookstores, tobacco shops and supermarkets.

These post shops are still called post offices and offer all products and services from PostNL (the main provider of postal and parcel services in the Netherlands) and sometimes a few other services as well. You can locate a post office or find other postal services on the location finder.