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Motherhood between windmills and tulips

Visiting the Netherlands: A Filipino mom's practical tips for travelers.

Finally, we’re allowed to travel again! And although depending on which country you’d like to visit, there are still some rules to follow with regards to covid (which we will not talk about on this blog), it feels exciting to be able to visit foreign countries, observe different cultures and try ‘exotic’ dishes again or for the first time.

Well, nothing exotic around here really (hehe) but if you’re planning to travel to the Netherlands, I have some practical tips on how to prepare and what to expect when you visit Amsterdam or other cities here in the Netherlands.


The weather here in the Netherlands always changes. And if you’re coming from a tropical country like the Philippines, you can still feel cold no matter when you visit, but may feel warm after a lot of walking! We don’t always trust the daily forecast. So the best way is to be prepared to add another layer of clothing to keep you warm when it’s cold, or be able to take off your jacket or sweater when the sun is out. It doesn’t rain a lot but if it does, it’s usually a drizzle so a hooded sweater or jacket will be enough to keep you dry. Children are no exception. They can easily sweat or feel warm when they run around so it’s always handy to bring a larger bag to stuff their sweaters in to keep your hands free.


The dutch people are bread eaters so you’ll see gazillion different sandwiches in grocery stores and cafes (reminder, do go to cafes not coffee shops!). If you like to have something warm to eat for breakfast like scrambled eggs for instance or maybe soup for lunch then you’d have to put a little bit more effort in looking for a place to eat. For the kids, it’s way much easier. They usually like donuts, croissants or cold sandwiches and there’s plenty of that over here.


The short answer: yes, if you think you’ve received great service or enjoyed the food. But tipping is not mandatory in the Netherlands, The service cost is already included in the price. So if you have forgotten to give a tip to your server at the restaurant or you asked for your change from your taxi driver, they won’t make a big deal about it. However, if you do want to tip, you don’t need to tip a lot. You can just round up your bill or leave a couple of euros. If you absolutely loved the service, you can tip 5-10% of your total bill. They would certainly appreciate it.


Apparently public bathrooms are quite expensive to build and to maintain according to city standards (accessibility for the disabled, diaper change rooms, etc), so there’s not a lot of them in the country. Public bathrooms are available at train stations and in some restaurants but be prepared to pay 50 cents in cash or debit card. Some fast food chains like McDonald’s or KFC will allow customers to use their bathrooms for free but don’t be too shocked to find the bathroom locked and ask for the key by the cash register. They do that to prevent passers by sneakily using their facilities.


My advice, take public transport. Although cars give you flexibility to travel around and bring you to places anytime and anywhere, parking is a hassle and absolutely expensive if you drive around the city centers especially in Amsterdam. And to prove my point, in 2019 Amsterdam was reported to be the most expensive city for a 2-hour on-street parking by Parkopedia’s Global parking index. Expect that you may pay up to €7.50 per hour or up to €45 per day! So yes, just take the intercity train or take advantage of the trams, metro and buses when it comes to traveling around the Netherlands. They are also family friendly with designated areas for the elderly or pregnant moms, and buggies or baby carriers for the kids.


I hope that these practical tips will be of help and that you enjoy your stay! The Netherlands is a beautiful country and its charm is not just because of its canals, windmills and tulip fields, but because of its family friendly atmosphere as well as its gorgeous surroundings!

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