Utilities & get connected
The Netherlands has excellent infrastructure. Practically every home has electricity, gas, portable water, central heating, fixed-line phones, and mobile phone and high-speed Internet coverage.
Most utilities in the Netherlands are sold in a ‘free-market system’. This means there are a number of suppliers competing with each other to supply private and business customers. Exceptions to this are water, where each property has a designated supplier, and the hardware facilities (cables, etc.) used for fixed-line telephone and cable TV. The two last-mentioned are owned by the company that installed them and there is a charge for their use even if the signals passing through the cables come from another supplier.
Paying for your utilities might be done differently in the Netherlands than in your home country; the supplier will estimate your usage and you will pay a monthly amount accordingly. After one year the company will see your actual usage and will let you know if you will get a refund or have to pay extra. Most suppliers have the possibility to adjust the monthly payment during the year.
Whilst this system gives the advantage of lower prices and improved service, it also means that new arrivals may find choosing suppliers complicated. Getting connected to utility suppliers is often time-consuming and sometimes difficult for people moving to the Netherlands. The main problem is simply language: although most Dutch people speak English, you may need to navigate through several Dutch-language telephone menus before you can speak to an operator. Be patient and ask for help if you need it.
There are many websites to compare the suppliers, but most are in Dutch. This website in English will help you get connected to gas, water, energy, cable and telecoms at the same time.
In general, electricity, water, gas, and cable companies are best contacted by phone; Internet providers online, and mobile phone companies online for comparison, and then by going to a shop to purchase your plan.