Household bills - gas, electricity and water
Always note down and check the numbers on your meters when you move into your new home. Monthly utilities bills are calculated on the previous year's consumption. Therefore, based on your own meter readings, if your consumption is lower than the previous year, the utilities companies will adjust your monthly payment. Any excess is refunded to your bank account. Naturally, if your consumption exceeds that of previous years, your monthly payments will be adjusted accordingly and you will be billed for any shortfall for the previous year.
For electricity, you can choose to pay extra to have a special meter fitted so that you can use the 'day and night' (dag en nacht) tariffs. The night tariff applies from 23:00 to 07:00 and can be as much as 25% cheaper than either the day or the standard tariff. Water, bills are normally paid quarterly.
Household rubbish collection
Each municipality in the Netherlands has set guidelines on how and when you can discard household rubbish. Rubbish is collected once a week, it is not permitted to leave rubbish at the curb earlier than the evening before collection. Failure to adhere to this simple rule could lead to a pretty hefty fine. Do not leave your rubbish at the curb unless placed in the correct bin or rubbish bag. Again this could lead to a fine.
In some municipalities the rubbish has to be separated into several categories and collected into special bins provided by the municipality (gemeente):
- Grey for general household waste
- Green for organic waste - vegetables, fruit and garden cuttings
- Blue for paper and cardboard etc.
- Red bin for chemical waste.
If your bin or rubbish bag is too heavy or damaged then the collectors may refuse to collect them.
Excess household rubbish
Excess household rubbish may be taken to the city dump, the Afvaloverlaadstation or you can phone your municipality (Grofvuil or Afvalbeheer) for the excess to be collected free of charge!
Please note that there is a maximum amount (normally 1-2 cubic meters) that can be discarded at one time and you will need to find out what your municipality will and will not collect. There are strict guidelines and they are rigorously enforced. If you try and break the rules you could receive a visit from the environmental police (milieupolitie) and again a fine could be enforced.
No bonfires are allowed without a permit.
Glass and/or Bottle Banks are located throughout residential and shopping areas for disposal of glass.
Paper Banks are located throughout residential and shopping areas for disposal of paper.
Many people do not realise that when purchasing soft drinks in plastic bottles and glass bottles (such as Milk and domestic beers) they pay a deposit or 'statiegeld'. This is normally written on the label or etched in the glass. These can be returned for recycling and money is refunded for each bottle. The return banks are located inside all major supermarkets.
Christmas Tree Collection
Discarded Christmas trees are collected free of charge by all municipalities (gemeenten). However, you will need to contact them to find out the date of collection in your area. Please note, your discarded Christmas tree will probably be collected and made part of a bonfire during New Year Eve celebrations in your area.
Other unwanted goods
How about giving your unwanted goods to the Salvation Army (Leger des Heils).
For more information please contact:
Ned. Leger des Heils
Lage der A 19
9718 BK GRONINGEN
All pets must be registered at the Gemeentehuis (Town Hall). For your pet dogs you will have to pay an annual dog tax (hondenbelasting), amount to approx. € 75.00 for the first dog. The tariff per additional dog gets considerably higher.
Whilst walking dogs they must be kept on their lead at all times, except in the designated dog areas (uitlaatgebeid of uitrengebied) where they are free to run and play off the line.
All dog mess must be cleared up and put in the designated containers or in a closed bag in your grey rubbish bins. Although you will have probably noticed that many Dutch doggy owners have chosen to ignore this rule, please, please, please set an example and clear up after your fury friends, others may have chosen to be inconsiderate, this doesn't mean we should follow suit. There is a penalty if you are caught ignoring this ruling.
If you are planning to leave your dog or cat at a kennel then you must make sure they have a pet passport stating that their immunizations are up to date. Dogs have to have the injection for kennel cough "kennelhoest" a minimum of 6 weeks prior to their stay at the kennel.
A doggie motel in the Netherlands is called a "dierverzorgingcentrum".
Amsterdam 020 - 626 1058
Leiden 071 - 517 4141
Rotterdam 010 - 476 8750
The Hague 070 - 328 2828
Wassenaar 070 - 511 7772
24-hour veterinary service
Amsterdam 020 - 694 4776
The Hague 070 - 325 5903 (8am-9pm)
070 - 345 5300 (9pm-8am)
Amsterdam 020 - 462 2300
Leiden 071 - 514 2007
Rotterdam 010 - 483 5012
The Hague 070 - 352 3765
Wassenaar 070 - 517 9852