Amsterdam Tourist Information

Amsterdam Currency Exchange — Where To Change Your Money

The Netherlands uses the euro1 as its official currency — one of 18 of the 28 member states of the European Union to do so.2

If you travel to Amsterdam from a country that uses a different currency, you will need to exchange your dollars, pounds, or other money for euros.

In travel forums, Amsterdam tourists sing the praises of independent Pott Change.

Exchange rates constantly fluctuate; one day your money buys you more local currency — and another day you get less.

Changing money is a service for which banks and exchange offices can charge you fees and/or commission.

The Short Story

The trick for travelers is to find the best exchange rate, at a bank or service that charges the least amount in fees and/or commissions.

Want the short story?

Skip right to our recommendation.

A transaction fee is a specific amount (for instance, $3 per exchange regardless of how much money is involved), and commission is a percentage of the amount of money changed.

Banks often drop or discount transaction fees if you use other banks (and their ATMs) with whom they are allied.

Exchange businesses tend to advertise with ‘no fees,’ ‘no commission’ or ‘no fees & no commission.’ Make sure you read the fine print or ask for details before you buy or sell money to see whether the advertised deal applies to the amount you intend to change.

Exchange companies earn money by selling currency in high volume to banks. In turn, banks earn money by trading in even larger amounts of currency.

Best place to change your money

Savvy travelers bring at least a small amount of euros so that they can immediately make use of services (e.g. bus, train, taxi) or get something to eat and drink upon arrival in Amsterdam.

Whether you then use ATMs or exchange services depends on a number of things we’ll detail below.

ATM (Cash Machine)

Many visitors report that they get ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ exchange rates by using their debit cards at Automated Teller Machines.

When you use a debit card to obtain euros at an ATM in Amsterdam, your bank withdraws the equivalent in your own currency from your checking account — generally using a favorable rate of exchange.

There are advantages, disadvantages, and pitfalls to consider. Do not skip this information, as doing so may end up costing you a lot of money.

If you have to change money at Schiphol Airport Amsterdam, you’re better off at ABN AMRO than at GWK Travelex. Using your debit card at the ABN AMRO’s ATM is even better — but see below how much more money you can get in downtown Amsterdam

Advantages

Disadvantages

Pitfalls & Tips

Finally, make sure you have a backup card in case your debit card is lost, stolen, or swallowed by a machine. It is also a good idea to carry some emergency cash, which you can exchange locally, plus one or more credit cards.

It goes without saying that you should not carry these items all in one place. It is also a good idea to keep at least one backup card in the safe at your hotel.


Money Exchange

Many travelers prefer to bring cash rather than — or in addition to — using ATM cards.

With rare exceptions, banks in Amsterdam will not change your money unless you have an account there.

Instead you obtain euros at a ‘money exchange’ — also known as ‘bureau de change’ or ‘currency exchange’ (Geldwisselkantoor in Dutch).

Advantages

Disadvantages

Better safe that sorry:

From the moment you arrive at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol or at Central Station you will hear and read announcements alerting you to pickpockets.

Pickpockets love Amsterdam, and they LOVE tourists.

Use a money belt or bra pocket (or women’s underwear with a secret pocket) and other anti-theft products to carry your cash and passport.

Pitfalls, Tips, and Our Recommendation

Our Recommendation

If we were tourists, having saved up our hard-earned money for a trip to Amsterdam, we would bring cash — safely tucked away — and head right on over to Pott Change.

Where to find Pott Change

Pott Change is located at Damrak 95, just short of Damsquare and opposite to the giant Bijenkorf warehouse. see the € sign on the map.

Damrak is the main street that leads from Central Station to Dam Square — an easy, 10-minute walk. You’ll see many other currency exchange businesses along the way, but we think it pays to pass them by.

Note: Our recommendation of Pott Change is an editorial decision, not sponsored or remunerated in any other way

If you prefer to take a tram, lines 4, 9, 16 and 24 stop right in front — one stop from the train station.

The money change company is open 7 days a week, 8:30 AM till 8:30 PM (Saturday and Sunday open at 9:30 AM)

Private cubicles are available to keep you safe from prying eyes.

Pott Change, which has been in business for over 25 years, is a Western Union agent.

Credit Cards

Credit cards will work at most ATM machines, particularly if you use a VISA or Mastercard — but be aware of the disadvantages and pitfalls listed above for the use of ATMs.

Long story short: 93.4 % of users say they are satisfied with the I amsterdam City Card.

Small wonder: you get free use of public transport, free or discounted access to top museums, free canal boat tour, and much more.

This is an expensive way to get and spend money. Many stores and other businesses will add a surcharge if you use a credit card, since the credit card issuers charge them as well.

Most credit cards charge an additional fee for international transactions.

Do note that many businesses in Amsterdam do not accept any credit cards.

There are safety considerations as well. Tourists are easy targets for unscrupulous workers who may swipe your card one or more extra times without you noticing (until you arrive back home and open your bills).


Why You Need to Carry Cash

Better safe that sorry:

From the moment you arrive at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol or at Central Station you will hear and read announcements alerting you to pickpockets.

Pickpockets love Amsterdam, and they LOVE tourists.

Use a money belt or bra pocket (or women’s underwear with a secret pocket) and other anti-theft products to carry your cash and passport.

Why You Also Need to Carry Credit and/or Debit Cards

An increasing number of businesses in Amsterdam accept no cash whatsoever.

Want to buy some apples, cheese or a fruit juice at Marqt? Great, as long as you’ve got a debit card.

Feel like a sandwich and a cup of coffee at Bbrood? You’re welcome, but it’s strictly, “Alleen Pinnen” (PIN only — meaning you can only pay by debit or credit card).6

What To Avoid

About This Page

This page has undergone a major revision on May 28, 2014, and will be periodically updated when necessary. [Content last checked, March 19, 2016].

This article is the result of private research by the publisher of DutchAmsterdam.

None of the information in this article is sponsored in any way. We have not asked for, nor received, any form of compensation from any of the companies mentioned.

As always, our disclaimer applies.

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We wish you a gezellige time in our wonderful city!

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Notes:

  1. Read more about the euro (indeed, not capitalized) at Wikipedia. Familiarize yourself with specimens of banknotes and coins (with a confusing array of designs).
  2. These 18 members are collectively referred to as the eurozone, which includes: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain
  3. It usually is a good, competitive rate, but keep various bank fees in mind.
  4. Note: this was a highly informal, unscientific test conducted by phone. But the results are very similar to other tests we conducted earlier in the month.
  5. In most countries the company is known as Travelex. In Holland it is GWK Travelex. GWK stands for the Dutch name, grenswisselkantoor which literally means ‘Border Exchange Office.’
  6. Note that when I called around to various Bbrood locations to verify this, the people answering the phone all gave different answers regarding which cards would or would not be accepted.
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