Every household in the city has access to a TV, internet and fixed phone line connection. There are many providers for these services, which gives you a wide variety of options for choosing which utilities (only internet, or Internet, TV and phone), services, speed and tariffs you want in your home.
If the utilities (e.g. TV, internet and phone) aren’t included in your rental contract or when you bought a house, you can easily arrange these contracts yourself. Most websites don’t have an English version, but it is possible to call customer services and arrange it via the phone, or go to a local branch. Note that it may take a few weeks until you actually have a working internet connection. However, you can subscribe in advance for internet, television and phone services – as soon as you know your new address.
Contracts are usually for a year or longer. If you need these services for a shorter period, please check with the provider before signing anything.
How do I arrange my contract?
Several common service providers for TV, internet and phone services in the Netherlands are listed below. The cheapest package price (for internet, TV and phone) is around 36 euros a month for a two-year package. Most providers offer a discount for new customers. Contact via the website can be a bit difficult, as most of them are written in Dutch. Arranging a contract will be easier by phone: most people will speak English on the phone if you request it. The following customer services do have an easy dial-up menu for any non-Dutch speaker:
Vodafone: 0800-1603 (straight to customer service)
Tele2: 0800-1602 (press 3)
KPN: 0800-0402 (press 1 and then press 5)
If you prefer to speak to someone in person: KPN, Ziggo and Telfort are major TV, internet and phone providers and they all have branches in the Lijnbaan shopping street, in Rotterdam city centre.
In the Netherlands, internet is provided via broadband networks (breedband), and in some places via fibre-optic networks, although you can also arrange it via a fixed phone line (ADSL). The cheapest internet package is around 20 euros per month for 20 MBps. Certain providers will let you check on their website to see what services are available at your address; you just have to enter your postcode to find out. Upper floors may not appear on these automatic checks, so do call if you have any questions, since you may still fall within their service. Once you arrange your internet access contract, either you will be connected automatically on a certain day, or a technician will come to your house to set you up and explain the service to you.
Fixed phone line
Since less and less people are arranging a fixed phone line, because they only use a mobile phone, please check first if the phone connection still works at your house before you apply for a fixed phone line. In the Netherlands, all fixed phones have a local area code first and then your telephone number, which makes a phone number ten numbers in total. The local area code for Rotterdam is 010. The international country code for the Netherlands is +31.
In total, there are ten Dutch television channels. Nederland 1, 2, 3 are the public channels; the rest are the commercial channels. To receive these channels, you will need to arrange a contract with one of the many service providers. Prefer to have a bit more choice in your viewing? Most providers offer extra packages for sports channels or channels from abroad, including BBC, RAI, ARTE and many more. Your service provider will give you a complete list of channels.
Regulations for providers
In the Netherlands, consumers are quite well protected by law. This is shown by the Door-to-Door Sales Act (Colportagewet), which places restrictions on consumer sales via phone, door-to-door sales and internet. This law gives consumers a 14-day cooling-off period, making it possible for you to change your mind within fourteen days after cutting a deal via internet, over the phone or with a door-to-door salesman, without any reasons given.
Consumers are also protected by the Wet van Dam, a piece of Dutch legislation that regulates the terms and conditions for consumers. The most important rule is that consumers can quit their contract any time after the termination date with only one month’s notice. It isn’t possible for a provider to renew your contract automatically (via the terms and conditions) for a longer period than one month unless you agree explicitly.