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Can you use your cell phone or mobile phone in Holland?

How to use your cell phone in the Netherlands
How to use your cell phone (mobile phone) in Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands

Easiest solution: Use an eSim

Note: If you have an older phone, the information below this box will be of interest.

But if you have newer model, that supports 4G or 5G, you can skip it.

You can simply use an eSim with unlimited mobile data. By using an eSim you do not have to switch sim cards.

This one, providing high-speed 4G data, has data plans for 3/7/15 or 30 days. It can be used in the Netherlands and throughout Europe.

Compatible phones include iPhone X or later, Samsung 20+/Fold/Flip, Google Pixel or later, or a compatible iPad Pro.

The eSim profile is delivered directly to your email address, and comes with easy to follow installation instructions.

Bring a late-model mobile phone

A current mobile phone (cell phone) offers the best compatibility with overseas phone systems.

Not only that, but most late model phones also come with excellent cameras. If you are going to visit Europe, you’ll want to bring home the highest quality photos, right?

Is my mobile or cell phone compatible?

Like most countries in the world the Netherlands uses the GSM cellular phone system.

GSM provides excellent coverage along with crystal-clear sound, indistinguishable from that of land-based phones. In fact, in Holland (where ‘cell phone’ are referred to as ‘mobile phones’) many people have given up their regular phone lines in favor of mobile phones only.

The GSM system is

compatible with mobile phones sold in

• Australia,
• the UK, and
• most of Asia.

It is not compatible with older phones sold in

• Japan, or with
• many of the phones sold in North America.

Wait. Is is “cell phone” or “mobile phone”

Throughout the world a phone that is not connected by a wire is called a mobile phone.

In North America, the term cell phone is often used instead of mobile phone.

Frankly, it doesn’t really matter how you refer to your smartphone.

Overseas Calling Plan

Tell family members and friends to get an overseas calling plan before calling your mobile phone while you are abroad. Otherwise they will end up paying exorbitant rates.

You Need a Dual-Voltage Charger

Don’t forget to bring your battery charger. It must be dual-voltage (electricity in the Netherlands is supplied at 220V/50hz).

Mind you, electricity sockets in the Netherlands (and throughout Europe) are incompatible with American plugs. In order to be able to charge your phone (or use anything electrical, like a shaver or a curling iron) you should bring a travel adapter.

Cell Phone Stores / Mobile Phone Stores in Amsterdam

If you only plan to use a cell phone/mobile phone within Amsterdam (or indeed within the Netherlands) an inexpensive phone complete with a pre-paid calling plan is an excellent alternative. Buy one locally of the ubiquitous downtown phone stores.

You can buy extra pre-paid cards at Albert Heijn (supermarket), tobacco stores, or those phone stores again.

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This article is updated regularly. Last major update:
Last minor update: Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at 8:57 AM, Central European Time (CET)   
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