The functioning of banks and shops helps you figure out how to arrange day-to-day life in the Netherlands.
Dutch bank account
We recommend you to open a Dutch bank account while studying in the Netherlands. Most large banks (such as ING, Rabobank, ABN/Amro) will accept foreign students. The bank can charge costs for opening the bank account. You also need to pay service costs monthly to the bank. These amounts vary per bank firm.
To open an account you will need proof of enrolment as a student, a Dutch postal address and a citizen service number (BSN number). You will receive this from the City Hall after you register your address or your registration as a non resident (RNI).
You can access your own foreign bank account via bank machines if one of the above logo's is on your card. It is advisable to find out how much your bank charges for international transactions. In many places you will not be able to access a savings account via the ATM.
You will need to make sure your pin is 4 numbers - this is standard for Europe. Do not rely on a "word" password, as most ATM machines don't have letters printed above the numbers.
Please note that you can NOT use a VISA card in the bank machines in the Netherlands.
Opening hours of shops
Monday to Saturday 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. (most larger supermarkets open at 8 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m.). However, more and more supermarkets now have (limited) open hours on Sunday.
Note that many shops remain closed on Monday morning. Most shops in Utrecht, especially those in the city centre, are open on Thursday evening ('koopavond' until 9 p.m.) and the first Sunday of the month. Shops in the villages and some of the smaller shopping centres in the suburbs of Utrecht have their 'koopavond' on Friday evening.
Vredenburg: Wed., Fri. and Sat.
Overvecht: Thu. morning
Kanaleneiland: Fri. morning
Breedstraat: Sat. morning
Postal services are available in various types of shops, such as bookstores and supermarkets. Most information is available via the Dutch website www.postkantoor.nl, including where to find the nearest postal service point.
Letter boxes, which you can find on the street, are orange and have two slots: one is for local mail ('postcodes ... tot ...'), the other is for all other destinations, in the Netherlands and abroad ('overige postcodes').