TRAVEL ADVISORY

General

Prior to your departure to The Netherlands, make sure you have copies of all your important documents (IC, Passport and Birth certificate) and have 2 passport size pictures on standby before you travel and store them safely in a place that is easily accessible in the unfortunate  event that you do lose your passport. This will help speed things up for the Embassy to issue you an Emergency Certificate.

If you are the victim of a theft you should contact the nearest police station and obtain a police report.  If your passport is stolen, please obtain a police report and come to the Embassy immediately.  You will need a police report as part of the process for applying for an Emergency Certificate.

Travelling in The Netherlands

Holland is a small and densely populated country with an excellent public transport system. Wherever in Holland you want to go, you can get there easily and in comfort by train, bus, tram or ferry. Read up on the most important things to bear in mind, public transport traveling tips, and what types of tickets to use. You can use a single-use chipcard or an OV-Chipcard (smart card) to travel by train in Holland. The single-use chipcard is perfect for incidental travellers. You can buy it at an NS ticketing machine or service desk. Single-use chipcards always cost 1 euro more per trip. You don’t have to charge credit to the card but you do have to check in and out.

Railway travel

If you plan to use the train more often while staying in Holland, we recommend buying an ‘anonymous OV-chipkaart’. You can buy them at NS ticketing machines or the service desk. There is a one-time fee of EUR 7.50 for an anonymous OV-chipkaart (which can also be used on buses, trams, metros and ferries). Prior to travelling, you must charge credit to your anonymous OV-chipkaart, which can be done at an NS ticking machine. If you want to travel by train, you need at least 20 euros worth of credit on your OV-chipkaart! You must check in prior to every trip and check out at the end. Look for the OV-chipkaart pillars on the station.

Tram, bus and metro travel

The trams and buses are a perfect means of transport in big cities. It is easy to get on and off and takes you to your destination quickly and affordably. Another advantage is that you can do some sightseeing on the way. Single-use chip cards can also be bought on the tram, but that usually costs more. Payments can only be done with creditcards in the trams.

Compulsory identification on the street

Malaysian nationals must be able to show their passport. On the street, only certain officials may ask to see proof of identity. They are:

  • police officers
  • ticket inspectors on public transport
  • special enforcement officers (BOAs) like labour inspectors and forest wardens.

These officials may not ask to see proof of identity without giving a reason. Situations in which they may do so include:

  • traffic management (for instance, if a cyclist rides through a red light);
  • the maintenance of public order (when people’s safety is at stake);
  • the investigation of criminal offences.

If you are unable or unwilling to identify yourself in such situations, you will be liable to prosecution. You risk being taken to a police station, to establish your identity. You may also have to pay a fine.

Fines for failure to show proof of identity

For persons aged 16 or over who fail to comply with the requirement to identify themselves, the fine is €60. For persons aged 14 and 15, the fine is €30.

Healthcare in The Netherlands

If you are visiting the Netherlands as a tourist, you do not fall under the Dutch health insurance system. You can use the services of a doctor, hospital or pharmacy while you are here. But you will need to pay the costs directly yourself or arrange payment through your health or travel insurance. The Embassy will not be able to pay these costs for you. Make sure you have Travel Insurance prior to your departure to the Netherlands.

Toleration policy regarding soft drugs in coffee shops

Soft drugs, such as marijuana and hash, are less damaging to health than hard drugs, such as ecstasy and cocaine. But soft drugs are also illegal in the Netherlands. This means that those found selling, producing, dealing or in possession of these drugs are liable to prosecution.

However, the Netherlands applies a policy of toleration in relation to the sale of soft drugs in coffee shops. This means that the sale of soft drugs in coffee shops is a criminal offence but the Public Prosecution Service does not prosecute coffee shops for this offence.

Neither does the Public Prosecution Service prosecute members of the public for the possession of not more than 5 grams of Cannabis.

Reasons for toleration policy

The Netherlands tolerates the sale of soft drugs in coffee shops and takes rigorous action to suppress the sale of hard drugs. By adopting this strategy, the government separates these two markets. Cannabis users are not obliged to buy their soft drugs from criminal dealers who might easily bring them into contact with hard drugs.

Pickpockets and false police identities

Take care particularly in central Amsterdam and especially in and around Central Station. Pick-pocketing and bag snatching are common. Thieves often operate in gangs on the trains to and from Schiphol airport and Central Station as well as on the trams. One thief will attempt to distract you (often by asking for directions or by banging on your window) while another picks your pocket or steals your bag. Be alert and don’t lose sight of your luggage or your belongings. Sleeping passengers make particularly easy targets.

Opportunist thieves are widespread and can enter restaurants with the excuse of selling you something or looking for someone. Bags have been stolen from between people’s feet whilst they were distracted. Keep your valuables safely with you at all times and don’t leave bags or jackets hanging on the back of a chair.

If you are the victim of a theft contact the nearest police station and get a police report. Amsterdam Police have warned of criminals using false police identities and tricking tourists into handing over cash and credit cards on the pretext of investigations into counterfeit money and false credit cards. Be very cautious about any such approaches.

Genuine plain clothes police will rarely carry out this type of inspection. Always ask for identity, check it thoroughly and don’t let yourself be intimidated. Dutch police don’t have shiny badges, which the fake police sometimes present as ID. Call 0900-8844 to get in touch with the nearest police station if you are not entirely happy.

In the unfortunate event that your passport does get stolen. Please get in touch with the embassy as soon as possible.