In this section you will find information about every day life in the Netherlands, including: supermarkets, drugstores, post offices, garbage and recycles.
The Netherlands has numerous supermarkets. The cheaper and more basic supermarkets are Lidl and Aldi, and the more exclusive and more expensive ones are Albert Heijn, EMTÉ and Jumbo. The latter offer a bigger product range, and more specialties. Almost every supermarket has a separate counter where they sell tobacco products, flowers and lottery tickets.
All Dutch supermarkets have weekly offers, and sometimes you need a discount card to get these special prices. For example, Albert Heijn has a bonuskaart. Ask for a bonuskaart at the counter in the supermarket. (It is for free.)
Opening hours are usually from Monday – Friday 08.00 – 21.00. Saturday 08.00 – 20.00, Sunday 12.00 – 17.00 (be aware that in smaller cities the shops and supermarkets are closed or with limited opening hours on Sunday).
The markets in the Netherlands do not take place every weekday at the same location. Instead you can visit a market every day at a different location! Dutch markets do not only sell food, but also clothes, flowers and household items. Do not be scared to try to make a good deal. The people selling their products are ready to negotiate.
Markets in the Twente Region:
- Monday: 12.00-17.00 Oldenzaal
- Tuesday: 08.00-17.00 Enschede
- Wednesday: 09.00-17.00 Hengelo – 07.00-13.00 Borne
- Thursday: 08.00-14.00 Almelo
- 08.00-17.00 Enschede
- 09.00-17.00 Hengelo
- 08.00-17.00 Almelo
- 09.00-17.00 Oldenzaal
Shops with international products
Apart from the specific sections in supermarkets, you’ll find specialised shops as well. Due to the historical connection the Netherlands has with Indonesia, you’ll find “Toko’s “ in every city. These shops sell Asian herbs and spices, typical Asian cooking utensils and other appliances. Also shops with a Northern Africa, Caribbean or Turkish background are quite common.
Drugstore or pharmacy
You do not have to register with a specific pharmacy, but it makes life easier if you do, because in most cases they will then send the bill for prescription drugs directly to your health insurance provider. The easiest time to register with a pharmacy is at the same time that you register with a doctor. Pharmacies have 24/7 coverage, based on the same system as doctors.
There are no post offices in the Netherlands. Instead there are mini-post offices located inside of certain grocery stores, and other stores (mostly book stores, for instance Bruna, Primera or the Read Shop). To mail a letter go to one of the orange mailboxes on the streets or in shopping malls. But before you put your letter in the mailbox, check the postal code of the address on your letter, and place your letter in the slot below the relevant postal codes. Also make sure that you have put the correct postage on the letter! Mailboxes will be emptied every day in the evening, and mail within the Netherlands will be delivered the next day.
Garbage and recycle
Like most countries, the Dutch are keen to lessen their impact on the environment by reducing landfill and energy use.
Several recycling (kringloop) schemes are in existence, although these may vary slightly depending on the community where you choose to live. At these “Kringloop winkels” you can bring your old (but in good condition) goods like furniture, clothing, toys and books. These items will be sold in the store for a very low price. It’s worthwhile to have a look if you want to furnish your house in a low-budget way.
In every neighbourhood there are green,orange and grey bins.
Green bin is used for biodegradable kitchen and garden waste, the grey bin for other household waste and the orange bin is used for plastics and packaging. Bottle banks for recycling glass (bottles, jars, etc.) can be found outside many supermarkets, and there are containers (white) for used clothes and shoes.
There are often bins inside stores where you can put old batteries and lamps.
When you buy most bottled beers, soft drinks and canned drinks, you will pay a small deposit, which is refundable when you return the empty containers at recycling stations in grocery stores.
Most municipalities are changing their policy on waste management and try to convince the public to recycle more and more. This is done for instance by collecting the grey bin only once a month and the orange and green bins every other week.
More information about recycling (what can I put in which bin?) can be found at this section of the website of Twente Milieu.
Larger goods like broken furniture or garden waste can be brought to the waste recycling of Twente Milieu. You can even arrange for them to collect it if you can’t bring it yourself.
Check your local Community Guide for more information about what is available in your city or visit the website of Twente Milieu.