Navigating the rules when it comes to what you are allowed to bring into the Netherlands is an absolute minefield, especially for those who live, or go on holiday outside of the E.U. Even Schipol is trying to make it clearer using adverts all over the airport to tell you what is, and what isn’t acceptable to bring in, and of course, there are different rules for different things. I’ve decided to try and un-tangle the web that is customs, to try and give you a better idea of when you are supposed to declare, and when you can go through the green lane.
If you are coming to the Netherlands from within the EU it is much easier, because of the freedom of movement of goods within the E.U. Of course there are special rules even for flights from within the EU including bringing:
- Animal products and foodstuffs
- Plants, flowers, fruit and vegetables
- Imitation weapons and ammunition
- Real weapons and ammunition
For more information on these restricted items, check out the Belastingdienst
Alcohol and tobacco
If you’re coming from within Europe, you are able to bring a large quantity of alcohol and tobacco with you.
- Up to 110 litres of beer
- Up to 90 Litres of wine
- Up to 20 litres of fortified wine
- Up to 10 litres of spirits
- Up to 800 cigarettes
- Up to 400 Cigarillos
- Up to 200 cigars
- Up to 1kg of tobacco.
If you have more than this, you will be expected to pay customs and excise duty
There is no limit on the amount of cash or liquid assets you are bringing in to the country.
If you’re bringing a car or motorbike, and live in an E.U country, you can drive it for up to six months before you will need to start paying tax on it.
Sounds simple enough right? …
However, this is more complicated if you are coming in from a flight from outside of the EU.
Alcohol and tobacco
You are allowed to bring:
- Up to 1 litre of spirits or
- 2 litres of sparkling wine or
- 2 litres of fortified wine or
- A proportional mix of the above and
- up to 4 litres of non-sparkling wine and
- up to 16 litres of beer
- Up to 200 cigarettes or
- up to 250g smoking tobacco or
- 100 cigarillos or
- 40 cigars or
- A proportional mix of all of the above
If you bring goods in that are worth more than €430 you are liable to pay tax, but this excludes alcohol and cigarettes.
Money and liquid assets
- No more than 10,000 euros worth
You should not bring in counterfeit goods to the Netherlands. Of course, there is always an exception to the rule.
- You are allowed to bring in up to 3 watches
- 250ml perfume
- 3 video and audio media (except masters)
- 3 other goods (clothing and toys)
- No videogames
Medication: If you plan on bringing medication into the Netherlands for your own personal use, you will need a European medical passport from your doctor or GP to prove that they are only for your consumption.
Note: Some medicines are prohibited to bring into the Netherlands under the Dutch opium act. You are only allowed to travel with these if you have official documentation
Bringing an antique into the Netherlands requires an export license
Bringing in protected animals and plant species requites a CITIES license or certificate
As always, be sure to check on the Belastingdienst website
for any further information that you might need, and for an extensive list of what is, and what isn’t allowed. There is a comprehensive list with information on what you need to do if you are planning on bringing unusual items to the Netherlands, and who you would need to get in touch with as well.