Home utilities (Photo: Edwin van Eis)

When you are moving to a new home in the Netherlands there are many things to arrange. For example, you will need utilities in your home – think of water, electricity, gas, internet and TV. In a new country, where you are unfamiliar with the rules and regulations, this can be difficult to coordinate. Another problem many new arrivals face is that much of the information on utilities is only available in Dutch. This article provides some introductory information on how utilities are arranged.

Water providers in the Netherlands

When it comes to setting up your water supply, you’re not required to make your own decisions. Water is administered per region within the Netherlands. The country is divided into 10 water districts, and the one in which you live will determine which company will supply you with water.

You’ll receive an annual water settlement, which is made up of the following components:

› Standing charges

A fee for the water connection in your house.

› Water consumption

Based on the amount of water you have used in a year.

› Tax on tap water

This is set at a 2015 rate of 0,33 euros per cubic metre. Consumption above 300 cubic metres is exempt from this tax.

› Provincial ground water levy

A provincial levy for the use of ground water.

› Charges for the water board and municipality

A payment that goes towards the purification of water and sewage charges

Energy companies in the Netherlands

As with your water supply, the transport of energy (electricity, gas and heat) to your home is managed by regional network operators.

In addition to the regional operators, the high-voltage electricity network is managed by TenneT, and the national gas transmission network is managed by N.V Nederlandse Gasunie.

Instead of subscribing to a network, you must select one of several private companies as your provider. You are free to choose your own energy supplier: since 2004 the market has been opened up and these companies are privatised.

Major Dutch energy providers

The following are major Dutch energy providers, with the three largest listed first:

  • Eneco
  • Nuon
  • Essent
  • Nederlandse Energie maatschappij (NLE)
  • Energiedirect
  • Electrabel.

If you’re looking for a sustainable energy provider, Green Choice is a company specialising in environmentally-friendly energy solutions.

Internet in the Netherlands

Setting up an internet connection requires you to choose a connection type and provider.

› Internet via the telephone

There are three options for telephone-based internet connections:

  • Dial-up analogue modem
  • ISDN
  • ADSL connection
  • The first two are now only seldom used.

With ADSL, the phone line is split in two so that it can transmit a phone signal as well as an internet connection.

ADSL speed reaches 8 Mb per second, while ADSL2+ and VDSL can reach speeds up to 50 Mb per second. The farther you live from the local exchange, the slower your connection speed.

› Internet via TV cable

If you would like to receive internet through your TV cable, you will have to undergo a postcode check to determine whether the ADSL speed will be fast enough to transmit.

› Internet via cable network

For cable internet the main provider is Ziggo, which incorporated UPC, the other major supplier, in April 2015.

There are also some smaller providers – Caiway and Zeelandnet. Because television suppliers were the first cable providers, you are usually required to take out the basic TV service.

› Internet via fibre-optics

If you want faster internet than that of cable and ADSL, check whether fibre-optics is available at your address. Fibre-optics offers speeds of up to hundreds of Mb per second, making uploading just as fast as downloading. However this option is not available in most parts of the Netherlands

Major Dutch internet providers

Below are the three main Dutch internet providers:

  • Ziggo
  • Telfort
  • KPN.

All suppliers also provide digital TV, and choosing an all-in-one package is often cheaper than having different providers for each service.

How to select utility companies in the Netherlands

Below is a short summary of the decisions you need to make regarding your home utilities.

› Water companies

For water companies you do not have a choice, as provision is arranged by region.

› Energy companies

This market has opened up as of 2004 and has become competitive. Here you have a choice and are able to select the supplier you prefer or the one that gives you the best offer.

› Internet and TV

Here you also have a choice as to which provider you want; however the choice may be limited depending on where you live in the Netherlands. Prices will depend on which packages you want regarding internet speed and TV channels.

How to sign up with a company

Registration can be done through the company’s website. Customers can also arrange their applications by telephone.

After applying, customers are entitled to a “cooling down period” of 14 days, which is required by law. During this time, customers have the opportunity to cancel their application without any consequences. Once the 14 days are up, cancellation will most likely require a fee.

Utility Provider organizes your household utilities for you – free of charge – by working closely with companies and providers in the Netherlands.


By Dave Stoffels – Managing Director, and Kelly Agten – Market Research Intern at Utility Provider.