Getting connect to the Internet as a traveler, visitor or tourist in Holland – The Netherlands is fairly simple. Even for a short stay it’s worth to connect your cell phone, ipad, iphone laptop, notebook or netbook to dutch internet - so you have internet access where ever you are. Here’s how with a bit of info what to expect.
3G Internet access in the Netherlands
Holland – The Netherlands has 3 cellular networks with dense coverage in most parts of this small country. KPN, Vodafone and T-Mobile dominate the market with only KPN (former state telecom) offering it’s network to various resellers such as Telfort, Tele2 and Simyo. Cities and most towns and villages are within reach of fast cellular internet locally known as 3G – UMTS internet.
|Nokia N95 - 8Gb UMTS 3G cell phone connected to laptop through USB cable
Even for short stopover, a weekend or a short stay it’s a fairly simple process to get connected to cellular internet for a small price. It helps a great deal to already have a simcard capable UMTS - HSDPA mobile phone or USB dongle and a bit of experience to connect to mobile cellular internet. US based CDMA - EVDO cellphones are incompatible with European UMTS - HSPA internet.
In case you don’t have a UMTS / 3G - HSPA capable cellphone or USB dongle, it might be worth to research your equipment requirements to be able to connect in Europe.
3G connection sharing is also possible using a smart phone like the Nokia N95 or Iphone.
Vodafone 3G prepaid PAYG internet for foreigners
Every city and the larger town has a Vodafone shops selling PAYG, prepay, prepaid cellular / mobile phone simcards to non-residents who have a passport (copy) within reach. Vodafone shops can directly activate your prepaid cell phone number and there’s no need to have permanent residency in the Netherlands. Prepay / PAYG / prepaid is the Netherlands is simply called Prepaid.
At Schiphol International airport it’s the Airport Telecom Shop located in the arrivals section which sells Vodafone as well as Telfort (KPN) simcards.
|Prepaid Prepay PAYG internet from Airport Telecom Shop at Schiphol Airport
Vodafone sells 3G unlimited prepaid internet access on your cell / mobile phone for € 9,50 / month. It’s called “Zorgeloos Internet”, which translates into “Carefree Internet”. The connection is only meant for internet access on your mobile cellphone and not on your laptop, netbook or notebook using the mobile / cellphone as an external modem. Though it does work - so far Vodafone has not implemented restrictions for laptops, netbooks or notebooks users.
Vodafone points of sale can be easily located by searching for the city you’re in using the Vodafone shop locator.
Read about how to connect your Ipad to dutch cellular internet in the Netherlands.
Zorgeloos Internet works by activating Vodafone Blox by simply sending and SMS. The translate option in the Google Toolbar can help you understand the dutch Vodafone blox page.
|Vodafone prepaid PAYG prepay internet access using BLOX
Traveling to Germany? Have a look at 3G prepaid internet in Germany.
Vodafone has implemented detection mechanism to prevent excessive downloads / uploads using Zorgeloos Internet. You’ll get a warning text / SMS message when you cross a maximum bandwidth threshold – the obvious will happen when continuing. Vodafone Fair Use Policy vaguely puts the abuse threshold at 10x the average bandwidth used by others.
In case you trip the abuse threshold and get disconnected, the other option is to resort to internet access for laptops, netbooks and notebooks called “Vodafone Prepaid data Sim Only”.
|Vodafone prepaid PAYG prepay internet access in the Netherlands with a laptop.
For heavy internet usage, T-mobile might be more interesting for flat-fee unlimited internet access.
T-mobile prepaid prepay PAYG internet in the Netherlands
T-mobile is a large cellular network in the Netherlands with many shops allover the country. Unfortunately, there’s no outlet at Schiphol airport, though it might be worth to have a look at the airport Telecom shop.
T-mobile’s prepaid internet is fairly simple – it’s € 2,50 per day for unlimited access on your cell phone (Download: 384 Kbps - Upload: 64 Kbps.). It’s a slow connection but for basic e-mail and websurfing, it simply works.
In case you want the same on your laptop, it’s € 4,50 per day. (Download: 3,6 Mbps. Upload: tot 384 Kbps.) Basically you buy speed with this option.
|T-mobile iPad prepaid prepay PAYG internet in holland
For just a weekend T-mobile might be interesting. When arriving at Schiphol airport, your best bet is to find a T-mobile shop in Amsterdam city center. Don’t forget a copy of your passport / visa.
Telfort prepaid prepay PAYG internet in the Netherlands
Telfort is a reseller of the cellular network of KPN (former state telecom). It’s one of the few still standing after fierce competition in the dutch cell phone market over the past years. Though the Telfort shop network in the Netherlands is relatively small, their services are sold on Schiphol Aiport by Airport Telecom located in the arrivals section of the airport.
Apparently Telfort has no interest in offering flat-fee cellular internet to non-residents. The network charges per 100 Kb which makes it unattractive when compared with the competition.
This pattern repeats itself for the KPN cellular network and other KPN resellers. (Simyo, Tele2, Kruidvat, Deka mobiel). Either the internet tariff is off the scale or only GRPS or basic 3G is available (no HSPA).
Connect your Ipad to dutch cellular internet? In case you can't find a microSIM card easily, create your own from a standard MiniSIM card.
|micro SIMcard - same chip, less plastic
||mini SIMcard - just a bit more plastic
Read about a DIY conversion of a mini SIMcard into a micro SIMcard:
T-mobile has a iPad micro Simcard offer in August 2010.
Summarized prepaid prepay PAYG simcard information in the Netherlands: