The Netherlands is a member of the Schengen Agreement.
There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented this treaty - the European Union except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union. This means that there may be spot customs checks but no immigration checks travelling within Schengen but to/from a non-EU country or you may have to clear immigration but not customs travelling within the EU but to/from a non-Schengen country.
Please see the article Travel in the Schengen Zone for more information about how the scheme works and what entry requirements are.
A Schengen visa is generally not valid for travel to the Caribbean parts of the Netherlands. If you require a visa for that part, you will need to apply for a separate visa valid for that part at your nearest Dutch embassy or consulate.
As of 1 January 2014, the requirement to register your visit at the police has been abolished for all travellers staying for a maximum of 90 days. Only under special circumstances registration will be required, in which case either your nearest Dutch embassy or consulate or the Dutch Royal Military Constabulary will inform you (https://www.politie.nl/th...).
Applications for visas and long-term residence permits are handled by the IND. Generally speaking, travellers to the Netherlands who do not require a short-stay visa may be able to get a residence permit upon arrival without a long-stay visa, but consult your nearest Embassy/Consulate for information.
There are a number of ways to get into the Netherlands. From neighbouring European countries, a drive with the car or a train ride are feasible; visitors from further away will probably be using air travel. Visitors from the United Kingdom can also travel by boat.
Eurolines (http://www.eurolines.com/) is the main 'operator' for international coaches to the Netherlands. In fact the name Eurolines is a common brand-name used by different operators. Services are limited: only a few main routes have a daily service, such as from Poland, London, Milan, Brussels and Paris (http://www.eurolines-pass...), but this is the cheapest way to travel and you get a discount if you are under 26 of age.
Megabus (http://uk.megabus.com/) runs lines from London and Paris via Brussels to Amsterdam.
PublicExpress (http://en.publicexpress.de/) runs a line from Bremen via Oldenburg to Groningen.
Due to the Bosnian war in the 1990s, there are bus companies serving the Bosnian diaspora, which provide a cheap and clean way of getting to the other side of the European continent. Semi tours (http://semi-tours.com) runs several times per week from various destinations in Bosnia and Herzegovina to Belgium and the Netherlands, Off-season approx. 135€ for a return ticket.
For a list of border-crossing buses between Belgium and the Netherlands, you may consult the list at (http://www.xs4all.be/~rvd...).
In order to avoid paying for an international train ticket on the route between Amsterdam and Antwerp, you can get off in one of the border stations of Essen Belgium and Roosendaal Netherlands and walk to the other on foot. You can follow the main road between the two places and will need to walk some 10 kilometres in a flat and open, though particularly uninhabited terrain.
Apart from being a peculiar result of ancient European history, the town of Baarle formally Baarle-Hertog in Belgium and Baarle-Nassau in the Netherlands is a possible change point, since the town's main bus stop Sint-Janstraat is operated by both Flemish Belgian and Dutch buses.
The Flemish Belgian company De Lijn operates a border-crossing bus between Turnhout in Belgium and Tilburg in the Netherlands, both of which are termini in the respective country's railway network.
There's a bus operated by the Flemish Belgian company De Lijn going between the train stations of Genk Belgium and Maastricht the Netherlands. A train connection is non-existing in this place, but it is being built at the moment.
Schiphol Airport, near Amsterdam, is a European hub, and after London, Paris, and Frankfurt the largest of Europe. It is by far the biggest international airport in the country, and a point of interest in itself, being 4 metres below mean sea level the name is derived from "ship hole" since Schiphol is built in a drained lake. Travellers can easily fly in from most places of the world and then connect with the Dutch largest airline KLM (http://www.klm.com).
Some budget airlines also fly to the Netherlands. Jet2.com, Easyjet, Transavia and other low-cost carriers serve Schiphol, providing a fairly economical way to city-hop to Amsterdam from other spots in Europe. Especially flying to/from the British Isles and the Mediterranean countries can be relatively cheap. It's important that you book as early as possible, as prices tend to get higher closer to departure.
From Schiphol there are excellent railway connections: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and most large cities have a direct train service. International high speed trains depart to Brussels and Paris and Intercity trains to Germany. The train station at Schiphol is located underground, under the main airport hall. The train is the quickest and cheapest way to get around in the Netherlands. Taxis are expensive: legal taxis have blue number plates, others should be avoided. Some hotels in Amsterdam, and around the airport, have a shuttle bus service.
Other international airports are Eindhoven Airport, Maastricht/Aachen Airport, Rotterdam - The Hague Airport, and Groningen-Eelde Airport. These smaller airports are mainly attended by low-cost airlines. Eindhoven Airport and Maastricht/Aachen Airport are mostly used by Ryanair, while Rotterdam Airport is frequented by Transavia, the low-cost subsidiary of KLM for tourists. The operator CityJet does an expensive commuter trip to London city. A direct bus connection, either to the local railway stations and then take the train are the best way to get to Amsterdam or any other town. There is a direct bus service between Eindhoven Airport and Amsterdam Central Station.
It is also possible to come to the Netherlands via airports lying in surrounding countries. Much-used airports are Düsseldorf International Airport and Brussels Airport. European low cost carriers Ryanair and Air Berlin also use the airports of Münster-Osnabrück and Weeze/Niederrhein which are near or just at the Dutch/German border. From these two airports there are frequent flights to the major European destinations.
There are three ferry services from the UK
Stena Line between Harwich and Hook of Holland
DFDS Seaways between Newcastle upon Tyne and IJmuiden on the outskirts of Amsterdam
P&O Ferries between Kingston Upon Hull and Rotterdam Europoort.
More information, timetables and ticket prices for the North Sea ferries is available at AFerry.co.uk. Dutchflyer (http://www.dutchflyer.co.uk) is a combination ticket that includes the train ride from anywhere on the Greater Anglia (http://www.nationalexpres...) network including London and Norwich to Harwich, the ferry, and the train ride from Hook of Holland to anywhere on the NS the Dutch railway network. Rotterdam is also the second largest port in the world, and in theory a good place for Freighter travel.
High speed trains may be the most comfortable mode of transport between major European cities. While some low cost airlines offer cheaper deals, remember that international high speed lines connect city centres, rather than airports that are usually located outside of the city. Also, trains do not require you to be present one hour before departure and can be part of the holiday experience: they allow you to enjoy the landscape, meet new people, have cup of coffee in the board restaurant or bring along a good bottle of wine.
Remember that the cheapest tickets are often sold out early and that reservations are generally possible 3 normal to 6 CityNightLine months in advance. Bookings can be made via NS Hispeed Dutch railways or its German and Belgian counterparts.
The Thalys high-speed train, which connects the Netherlands with France and Belgium, is a bit expensive, but if you book a return in advance or if you're under 26 or over 60 you can get good deals. It is also faster, normally cheaper and more convenient than flying. Direct trains depart from Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport and Rotterdam, for the south of the country has excellent connections via Liège-Guillemins Belgium and Aachen Germany.
A slow, but cheap alternative for trips to Brussels or Antwerp is the Intercity train. Take into account you may have to change trains. A local train runs hourly from Antwerp to Roosendaal, where you can catch a domestic train to Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
London St. Pancras station is connected to the Netherlands by Eurostar high-speed trains via Brussels Midi/Zuid/South station. Use one of the connections mentioned above.
The ICE (http://www.bahn.de/p/view...) high-speed train, runs from Basel via Frankfurt to Amsterdam, via Cologne, Düsseldorf, Arnhem, and Utrecht.
Intercity trains run from Berlin and Hannover to Amsterdam or Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, via Osnabrück, Hengelo, Deventer, Apeldoorn, Amersfoort and Hilversum.
CityNightLine and Euronight trains provide direct overnight connections from Amsterdam to Copenhagen, Prague, Warsaw and Moscow.
There are also a number of regional trains from and to Germany:
Between Groningen and Leer trains run every two hours (http://www.arriva.nl).
There are trains between Enschede and Münster every hour, also between Enschede and Dortmund every hour (http://www.bahn.de).
Trains run hourly between Venlo and Hamm, via Mönchengladbach and Düsseldorf (http://www.bahn.de).
Trains run every hour between Heerlen and Aachen and further to Eschweiler / Stolberg Rheinland (http://www.bahn.de).
The Netherlands has good roads to Belgium and Germany, and ferry links to Great Britain. The country has a dense, well-maintained trunk-road network. Borders are open under the terms of the Schengen Agreement. Cars may be stopped at the border for random checks, but this rarely happens. There are car ferry services from the United Kingdom, see below. As the UK is not part of the Schengen zone, full border checks apply.
Driving in the Netherlands
Road rules, markings and signs are similar to other European countries but have some particularities:
At unmarked intersections traffic coming from the right ALWAYS has priority. Traffic includes bicycles, horses, horse-drawn carts recreational use and fairly uncommon, electric wheelchairs, small mopeds and motorised bicycles.
Cycle paths are clearly marked and are widespread throughout the country.
On motorways, on and off-ramps slip-roads are usually long and allow for smooth merging however do note that as of 2009 returning onto the motorway from an off-ramp lane is illegal. Passing on the right and needless use other than for passing of the inside lanes is prohibited. passing on the right is permitted only in congested traffic
Urban driving:Urban driving in the Netherlands is considered by many tourists and locals alike to be an exasperating, time consuming and expensive experience.City roads are narrow, riddled with speed bumps, chicanes and a large variety of street furniture with knee-high, asphalt-coloured anti-parking poles being probably the most dangerous threat to paintwork as they tend to either blend into the background or be beneath the driver's view
Other hazards are:
Pedestrians protruding on the road or crossing in dangerous and not-permitted areas.
Cyclists and moped riders generally tend not to adhere to the rules or traffic lights so preventive driving is crucial.
Parking: Parking in city centres can be expensive. Particularly in Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam street parking is sometimes limited to only a few hours and prices range between 3 and 6 Euros per hour.Generally, underground car parks cost between 4 and 6 Euros per hour and may be by far the best choice for practical and safety reasons.