Cellular Mobile Telephones

Find out how to get yourself a mobile cellular phone in the Netherlands...

There is a choice between subscribing to a contract (abonnementen), or taking a pay-as-you-go (prepaid) system when buying a mobile phone in the Netherlands.

The rates vary from one company to another as well as the way charges are calculated (rates of calls made during the day, evening or weekends), types of use (voice, text, data) and whether the telephone handset is included in the deal.

Note: hands-free sets are mandatory when driving in the Netherlands.

Getting connected to a Dutch mobile phone

Getting connected can be done online, via telephone or in a shop. To subscribe to a contract the required documents are:

  • Proof of identity
  • Details of a local bank account, or at least an EU bank account (a credit check is usually done by the cellphone company before the contract is approved)
  • Non-EU residents might be asked for a deposit to get a mobile phone, and in some cases they might even be refused

To buy a pre-paid SIM and/or mobile phone, only photo ID is required.

The following is a list of the major providers. Note that all websites are in Dutch unless otherwise marked:

  • KPN
    Tel: 0800 0105
  • Vodafone
    Tel: 0800 0560
  • T-mobile
    Tel: 0800 7123
  • Tele2
    Tel: 0800 1602
  • Telfort
    Tel
    : 0900 9596 (€ 0.50 per call plus the costs applied from the carrier from which the call is placed)
  • Lebara (in English) SIM only, prepaid. Very popular with tourists and newly arrived residents
    Tel: 1200 from a Lebara SIM or 0900 4321 321 from any other phone in the Netherlands

Using a foreign mobile telephone in the Netherlands

If the cellular telephone is GSM compatible, and its current provider allows international roaming, then it may be possible to use a foreign telephone in the Netherlands. However, most providers will charge both for incoming and outgoing calls so this might be quite expensive.

Another option is to use the foreign cellular telephone with a Dutch SIM card provided the telephone is not locked. SIM cards are available at most phone shops, supermarkets, train stations and street kiosks.

Information and comparisons

The following links (all in Dutch) provide information and comparisons for telephone products and services:

Lost or stolen mobile telephones

All mobile phones have a unique code, the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) code. This belongs to the handset and is associated with a card, the SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) card, which holds the telephone number assigned to a customer.

  • A SIM card. Holds the telephone number and memory. Access can be protected by personalising the card with a 4-digit PIN number
  • An IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity). This is a mobile telephone's unique identification number

The IMEI number provides protection if a phone is lost or stolen. The IMEI code is clearly shown on the paperwork at time of purchase. Note it down and keep it separate from the mobile. Or to find the IMEI number, enter: * # 0 6 # on the keypad.

The loss or theft of a mobile cell phone must be reported to the service provider. They will need the IMEI number or details of the SIM card. The service will be suspended and the telephone blocked making it impossible for anyone else to use it, and the phone may be traced. The owner is responsible for payment of any calls made until the SIM is blocked unless they have taken out insurance with the supplier.

If the phone is stolen, a declaration can also be made at the nearest police station; police must be supplied with IMEI number.