Usually when traveling abroad, you want to exchange a bit of currency at the airport to have local funds readily available. Even so, I also tend to rely on my credit card which, while incurring some fees, is a useful fall back. And yes, your credit card will work in Amsterdam, Delft, Rotterdam and other busy tourist areas.
That’s not where I live.
As a new resident of Holland who chose not to live right in The Hague, I had a rude awakening. Grocery cart filled I discovered my CC (i.e. credit card) was not accepted by the store. Most the cash my husband insisted I carry was duly handed over. Lesson learned.
So should an expat rush out for a Dutch credit card? Not unless you’re ready to pay that sucker off at the end of every month. Why did the Netherlands survive the last recession better than any country in Europe? No revolving credit. Zip. Zero.
Also, Dutch thrift is a national institution. Where the average American has accumulated less than $4000 by their 25th birthday, the Dutch saved an average of about 20,000 euro per person in one year alone. Living within their means is part and parcel. So how do you afford that new iPhone 6? The store has you covered–not with another credit card offer but–with a built in system whereby you pay for the phone each month of your contract as part of the service. It’s an inclusive (non-itemized) deal with mobile service.
So say goodbye to your credit cards (unless visiting tourist centers).
Hello cash-based living.
Kristin King is an author, publisher and new US expat living in the Netherlands. Her top sellers are “Unsinkable Vampire” and “Cain’s Coven,” and her latest novel in the Begotten Bloods Series is Death Taint.