How To Pay in Shops in the Netherlands
Netherlands has the euro (€) as its sole currency along with 24 other countries that use this common European money. One euro is divided into 100 cents. While each official euro member (as well as Monaco, San Marino and Vatican) issues its own coins with a unique obverse, the reverse, as well as all bank notes, look the same throughout the eurozone. Every coin is legal tender in any of the eurozone countries.
A lot of shops do not accept banknotes of €100, €200 and €500, due to concerns about counterfeiting and burglary. Shops also do not give 1 or 2 cent coins as change, usually rounding the price of shopping up or down to the nearest 5 cent denomination. Shops usually open by 9AM and they usually close by 5:30PM or 6PM. Most shops are closed on Sundays, except at the “koopzondag”. “Koopzondag” means the biggest part or all the shops are open. It differs from town to town which Sunday is the “koopzondag”. In most towns it is the last or first Sunday in a month. In a few cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Leiden) the shops are open every Sunday, in most cases they are open from noon till 5PM or 6PM. In Amsterdam centrum area is an exception, since you can see the shops open till 9PM and Sundays from noon till 6PM. The shops can be crowded with people coming into town from outside the city. In some areas shops are closed on Monday.
Credit cards & ATMs
For safety reasons, credit card use in the Netherlands increasingly requires a PIN-code. Credit card use in general is reasonably common, but not by far as much as in the US, UK or Scandinavia. The Dutch themselves often use local bank cards, i.e. debit cards without a Visa or MasterCard logo for which even small shops and market stands usually have a machine. In tourist destinations you will generally find credit cards widely accepted, as well as in larger shops and restaurants in the rest of the country, but ask in advance or check the icons that are usually displayed at the entrance. Note that most supermarkets only accept local debit cards, not foreign credit cards. Some have an ATM on the premises where you can withdraw cash before going shopping.
ATMs are readily available, mostly near shopping and nightlife areas. The very smallest ones excluded, even villages usually have an ATM. The Dutch word for these machines is “pinautomaat”, and the verb meaning both withdrawing cash from ATMs and paying with a debit card (“pinpas”) is “pinnen”.