FAQ2022-10-18T16:12:47+02:00

Frequently Asked Questions

For answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions, see below. Is your question not there? Send us an email and we will get back to you within 24 hours to be of service. For more detailed info about our separate cities, please visit our Free Walking Tour FAQ webpages:
DO complain about the weather2022-10-28T13:33:47+02:00

The #1 topic of the day in the Netherlands is the weather. With 130 days of rain in the year, strong winds due to the flat land and hot, humid days in summer, we always find something to complain about. Here are some ways to express your discontent with today’s forecast:

  • Wat een hondenweer! (What dog weather!) | Exclaimed during heavy rains and storms.
  • Het regent pijpenstelen (It’s raining pipe stems) | Also said when it’s raining heavily.
  • De mussen vallen dood van het dak (The sparrows are falling dead off the roof) | Used on particularly hot days, indicating that even the birds find the heat hard to process.
  • Ik waai uit mijn verschoning (I’m blown out of my clean diaper) | Applies when strong winds take over.

 

DON’T turn up unannounced2022-10-28T13:04:40+02:00

Hospitality is very important to the Dutch, although it doesn’t compare to cultures from around the world. Since we run busy schedules, visiting a friend unannounced usually ends up in an awkward conversation on the doorstep.

Make sure to call or message your friend when you are in the neighborhood, when they are prepared you will receive a warm welcome.

DON’T buy drugs on the street2022-10-28T13:01:23+02:00

The Netherlands have a very liberal approach towards drugs. For this reason, it is safely monitored and there are rarely casualties that involve drug abuse.

By buying drugs off the street, you don’t just risk ending up with a very dangerous product – but you also support a network that goes against everything we believe in: Regulated and well-educated use of substances.

DO accept the Dutch directness2022-10-28T12:55:47+02:00

Us Dutchies are infamous for our straightforward approach. When you ask us whether a particular piece of clothing makes you look well-rounded – well, expect an honest answer. This doesn’t mean being polite isn’t important to us, in fact we believe being truthful is the kindest thing to do! Here are some topics we speak very openly about:

  • How much you paid for a service, personal purchase (like clothing or a haircut) or even your house and car.
  • Going to the bathroom. We don’t excuse ourselves to ‘powder our noses’ or ‘visit the lady’s/gent’s room’. We simply say where we are going and probably what we will be doing there.
  • Political views. When you discuss your thoughts on politics with a Dutchman or -woman, prepare to agree to disagree. Then we say ‘Zand erover!’ (Bury it in sand!) and share a beer with you.
  • Hierarchy is a very discharged concept in the Netherlands. Our bosses are more like friends and entitled behavior is heavily frowned upon. If we notice a division in class, we will speak up about it.

Conversely, we are quite reserved about our income. It is not custom to ask how much someone earns at their job in the Netherlands.

DO rent a bike2022-10-28T12:38:58+02:00

If you are feeling confident enough to defy the red path (the color of the Dutch bicycle lanes), renting a bike is the way to go! It gives you much more mobility inside the city than a car and is much more cost-effective; free parking and no petrol costs.

Bike rental companies can be found at the major transport hubs, like central train stations and bus stations.

Do you also organize museum trips?2022-10-28T12:31:56+02:00

No. Our tours take place in the open-air museum of the city, out on the streets!

When you book a Guided Tour in one of our cities, we can definitely advise you on what museums to visit. At the larger museums, group tours and/or audio tours are often offered.

Do you also organize boat trips and bus trips?2022-10-28T12:32:32+02:00

No. We exclusively offer Walking Tours, Running Tours and Bike Tours.

To organize itineraries on the city canals, or bus tours between and around cities you are in need of a Travel Agency. We are a Tour Operator and specialize in guided tours by foot or by bicycle (bicycle tours in Amsterdam only).

Can we choose our own date & time for the tour?2022-10-27T13:11:54+02:00

You can request a tour on any time & date. We will schedule our guides and confirm with you.

  • If you want to book on a Saturday, we advise you book more than a month in advance. We can’t guarantee availability on Saturdays on short notice, especially not in Amsterdam.
  • In the rare case that your requested date & time is unavailable, we will suggest multiple alternative options.
Can we end the tour at a restaurant or bar (or any other place)?2022-10-27T13:07:29+02:00

Of course! Tell us what you want to plan after the tour and we can adjust the tour, if it is within acceptable range of the itineraries.

For some great tips of what to do in the city when you’re not with us on a tour, click the city of your choice for our guide’s personal recommendations:

Amsterdam • Rotterdam • The Hague • Utrecht • Haarlem • Delft

Can I cancel the tour after booking?2022-10-27T13:04:16+02:00

After your tour is confirmed and paid from your side, we accept cancellations:

  • Until 7 before the tour: Free of charge, we will refund the full amount.
  • Between 7 days & 48 hours before the tour: We charge 50% of the paid amount. You will receive a refund of the remaining 50%.
  • After 48 hours before the tour: We charge the full amount and no money is refunded.
Where does the tour start?2022-10-27T13:00:06+02:00

In every city, all tours start and end at the same point. Below are the designated meeting points of our tours, in case you wish to start or end in a different spot please notify us.

Amsterdam (all tours) | Dam square, in front of the National Monument
Rotterdam | Front entrance of the Markthal, on Blaak square
The Hague | In front of the Mauritshuis, next to Plein square
Haarlem | Grote Markt square, at the statue of Laurens Janszoon Coster
Utrecht | In front of the Dom Tower, on Dom square
Delft | Markt square, in front of the Hugo de Groot statue

Is it the Netherlands or Holland?2022-10-18T15:29:18+02:00

Great question!

  • The correct name of the nation is ‘The Netherlands‘. This comprises the whole country and its 12 provinces.
  • The name Holland is originally used exclusively for the two provinces in which most of our major cities are, North-Holland & South-Holland. However, more recently people use both Holland and the Netherlands exchangeably and we aren’t mad. In fact, our company’s name is based off of the easier way to say it. We don’t like to fuss.
  • When something is from the Netherlands, it is Dutch. The Dutch language, Dutch weather and yes, even going Dutch is a thing here. This is a bit confusing, since the German demonym is ‘Deutsch’. We aren’t Deutsch, though. Keep it Dutch and you will enjoy it very much!
Where to get money & how to spend it2022-10-18T15:57:52+02:00
  • Currency | The Dutch valuta is the euro, assigned with the € character. Before the euro became in effect in 1999, we paid with the Dutch guilder.
  • ATM | Bank machines are widespread, however it is possible to pay with credit/debit card everywhere. Taking cash from the ATM is usually quite expensive with added transaction fees, so best to carry around your plastic at all times.
  • Cost of life | Life in the Netherlands isn’t cheap, especially not in the cities. A cup of coffee costs around €3, a beer around €3,50 and a basic main course in a restaurant costs around €15. Accommodation is offered in wide ranges, an overnight stay in a basic hotel is around €80.
  • Tipping | Regardless of what the guidebooks say, Dutch tip is not included in the price and highly appreciated! A custom restaurant tip is around 10%, tour guides usually enjoy between €5 to €10 per person and a taxi driver will be happy if you round up the amount.
  • Splitting the bill | Most commonly, the Dutch will split the bill according to what each person has consumed. In an informal setting, rounds are also given and sometimes even picking up the whole check. It is handy to have a downloaded application like PayPal or from your own bank, with the possibility to send & receive small transactions. It will save you the cost of having to collect money at an ATM and you will never pay a cent too much.
Getting around in the Netherlands2022-10-18T15:03:33+02:00

The country has a comprehensible road connection, that is well-supported by Google Maps and most smartphone applications. Here are the most common ways to travel between and through cities:

  • Rental car | Most rentals will come fully equipped with a GPS system, although an old-fashioned road map will also do the trick. Get one at the local VVV (tourist information office) or at any petrol station.
  • Public transport | There is hardly any place you can’t reach in the Netherlands with its extensive public transport connection. Trains, buses, trams and even ferries are sure to bring you to your destination. Plan your trip here.
  • Rental bicycle | Bikes can be rented in any city center, usually around major train & bus stations. Make sure to always lock your bike when you leave it, one of our safe country’s most committed crimes is bike theft!
  • By foot | Of course, walking is the way to go. Most Dutch tourist sites are easy to explore by foot and the city’s usually have all places of relevance within walking distance.
Drugs in the Netherlands2022-10-18T14:52:11+02:00

Marijuana & Hashish

Despite what you may think, cannabis is not really legal in the Netherlands, but tolerated. This means that coffeeshops are allowed to sell it but they are not allowed to buy or produce it themselves. On the tour we explain in detail how it works. For now: the possession and purchase of small amounts of different soft drugs like Marijuana, Hashish, Spacecake (hash or marijuana baked in a cake on a low temperature) and mushroom, that we call truffles, is allowed. Users won’t be prosecuted for smoking or carrying it.

Most cannabis products that were sold in the Netherlands used to be imported, but today the country has a high-grade home product, so-called Nederwiet. Please be careful, it can be quite strong. The most potent varieties contain 15% THC. Dutch weed will literally blow your mind, perhaps even to an extent that you won’t like. This is why many local smokers have sworn off the Nederwiet.

If you are not used to it, please be careful. Start small, take the time for it. Space cakes and cookies are an option for the non-smokers. However, it’s difficult to say how much you should eat of it. Please ask the guy behind the counter, take his advice seriously.

Magic Truffles

For a more eccentric experience, the psilocybin of truffles is the way to go. They are found in the smart shops around the city, aside from various herbal extracts in the form of pills or liquids. Make sure to ask for guidance when you decide to go on a trip, for instance alcohol can be a very dangerous enhancer and certain sugars will have an adverse effect on the substance.

Do’s and Don’ts with Drugs

  • Do visit a coffeeshop, even if you only go for a coffee. It is a must see on your visit to Amsterdam
  • Don’t be foolish with drugs, it’s tolerated and we are happy with that. Don’t abuse it.
  • Don’t drink a lot of alcohol and decide at that moment that it is a good idea to smoke weed.
  • Do ask the seller how and where to use it. Especially if it’s your first time.
  • Don’t think they may have hard drugs in a coffeeshop, they don’t.
  • Do be careful with the mushrooms and space cakes, it’s different. This means that you should not use it on the top floor of your hotel.
  • Do enjoy it! Responsibly!
  • Don’t buy anything from street dealers.

During our Alternative Tour we discuss this topic in-depth. It is very important that you understand, even with legal marijuana, it is still dangerous to buy drugs on the streets. If you want to try drugs, rather discuss this with us, and we will send you in a safe direction.

The weather in the Netherlands2022-10-28T13:21:56+02:00

Weather is the number one conversation topic in the Netherlands. Ask any Dutchmen about the weather forecast and there is a very big chance he can tell you in detail. This is because in the Netherlands we have about 145 days of rain a year.

The weather in Holland varies much and nothing is for sure except one thing: there is always a chance of rain. Best is to visit Amsterdam in spring, but it is also good in summer. The temperatures are mild in spring and can be warm in summer. The average temperature in summer is around 20-28 degrees Celsius (68° Fahrenheit). In winter it can be cold and windy. Most years there are only a few days with snowfall, more often the sloshy kind and not the powdery substance to sleigh across.

What is the best time to visit the country? Here are some weather facts:

  • The months July and August are warmest.
  • Generally the wettest month is October, with its autumn rains.
  • The coldest month is January.
  • We have mild winters and mild summers, or rather: shitty winters and shitty summers 🙂
  • April has the least rain and is great for watching tulips.
  • Take a bottle of water and suncream when it is hot! And for the cold and rainy days, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Our guides wear thermopants if they have to work a whole day outside, so you might consider doing so as well.

Our motto is: Rain or snow we always go!

National Holidays in the Netherlands2022-10-18T14:40:49+02:00

These are the Dutch bank holidays. Note that public transport, museums and restaurants run a different schedule on these days, while most shops are closed.

  • New Year’s Day | 1st of January
  • Good Friday | A Saturday in March or April, preceding the Easter weekend
  • 1st Day Of Easter & 2nd Day Of Easter | A Sunday & Monday in March or April
  • King’s Day | 27th of April
  • Liberation Day | 5th of May
  • Ascension Day | On a Thursday, 40 days after Easter Sunday
  • Pinksteren (Pentecost) | 7 weeks after Easter Sunday
  • Christmas | 25th & 26th of December
Is it safe in the Netherlands?2022-10-18T14:32:40+02:00

The Netherlands is one of the safest countries in Europe and apart from some petty crimes, you can generally enjoy being out on the streets at any time of day. The Safe City Index 2015 Amsterdam granted it the 5th position in the list of safest cities in the world. Though you can buy marijuana and truffles (underground mushrooms) freely in coffeeshops and smartshops and prostitution is legal, Amsterdam and our other cities are in no way dangerous. The city is managed especially well in regards to traffic. Most get around by bike, there are not many traffic accidents and pollution is fairly well contained throughout the country.

Here are some tips to make sure you can get around safely:

  • Don’t buy drugs off the streets. Marijuana is widely available at the designated ‘coffeeshops’, magic truffles can be bought at the ‘smart shops’. These places employ knowledgeable people that give you well-tested substance and guidance with use.
  • Pickpockets are present on busy squares, public transport stations and in shops. Carry your bag in front of you in these places, don’t leave wallets and cash in back pockets and don’t leave your bag or coat unattended.
  • Traffic in the city is busy, but manageable. The biggest surprise to many visitors is how prominent the bicycle lanes are, even though their red paint clearly distinguishing them from the pedestrian & car lanes. Use your common sense, follow the general traffic rules and remember to look left-right-left before crossing.
  • Although the roads are in great condition, the Dutch strong winds and rain can make road travel tricky. Check the weather before you venture out onto the Dutch highway.
  • Avoid areas outside of the tourist district, unless invited or brought along by a knowledgeable guide. There isn’t any serious danger to encounter in most Dutch neighborhoods, but getting lost in the labyrinth of our cities isn’t how you want to spend your holiday!
  • The alarm number in the Netherlands is 112.
Can I bring my dog on the tour?2022-10-27T12:44:07+02:00

We love dogs! Your furry friend is very welcome on all of our tours, you will find that the country is very dog-friendly. Make sure to prepare yourself when going out and joining our tour:

  • Bring sanitary bags to clean up after your pooch.
  • Keep your dog on the leash at all times.
  • Ask people around you if they are okay with dogs, sometimes a little distance is desired.
  • Bring water and a small bowl to keep your dog hydrated.
  • On hot days, the heated city concrete can be harmful to the paws. Consider booking early or finding a doggy day care to save your beloved pet from overheating.
How long are the tours?2022-10-28T12:26:50+02:00

Our walking tours are around 2 hours long, although we advise to schedule an extra half an hour after the tour if you want to plan a full day. This leaves room for people to chat with their guide after the tour and possible questions.

The tour time can be extended at request, just let us know if there are certain things you would like to add to your tour. It is not possible to cut the tour short. In order to give a substantial tour, we need these two hours to give you the quality that we warrant.

Do we visit the Red Light District on the Amsterdam tours?2022-10-27T12:46:54+02:00

In 2020, Amsterdam council has implemented a law prohibiting tours and groups from entering the Red Light District. If you want to learn more about the area, we advise the Alternative Tour. This tour focuses on legislation of prostitution in the Netherlands and our guide can drop you off at the border of the district, with tips where to go!

Are the tours only about history?2022-10-28T12:25:49+02:00

No tour is history only. We always explain more about culture, lifestyle and modern day life in Amsterdam. We try to give you an experience of how history needles like a thread into current day culture, without losing the knot by telling you what you can find on Wikipedia.

On top of telling you the story from a local’s viewpoint, there is also room for questions and interaction. Join us and find out what sets us apart from a robotic voice-over on a pre-recorded tour.

Can I join two (or more) tours in one day?2022-10-27T12:47:28+02:00

Of course, that is no problem! If you have the good legs and the energy for it, you can even join three tours. More than three isn’t advisable, however.

Make sure you have lunch or water with you, so you don’t have to do shopping in the time between the tours.

How long is the tour in distance?2022-10-28T12:26:22+02:00
  • The standard Guided Tours of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Haarlem, Utrecht & Delft are a little over 5 kilometres long, or around 3 miles.
  • The Alternative Tour Amsterdam covers a little under 5 kilometres, or around 2.7 miles.
  • The Dark Side Tour Amsterdam is a little over 5 km, or around 3 miles.
  • The Food Tour Amsterdam is the shortest due to its many taste-stops with only 2,3 km or 1.5 miles to conquer.
  • The Educational Tour Amsterdam is the same distance as the standard Historical Tour Amsterdam, a little over 5 km or 3 miles.
What languages are the tours given in?2022-10-27T12:47:56+02:00
  • In Amsterdam, we offer tours in English, Spanish, German and in Dutch. When you make a request, specify the desired language you would like your tour to be given in.
  • In Rotterdam, The Hague, Haarlem, Utrecht and Delft we generally offer tours in English & Dutch. We do have Spanish-speaking guides in Rotterdam and upon special request, we can always try to find one in the cities that speak Spanish or even German.
Are the tours suitable to all ages?2022-10-28T12:33:58+02:00

Our classic tours in each city are suitable for all ages, please notify us about the ages of the children that join the tour. We can adjust the tour a bit to make it interesting for every age. For the themed tours, we have different rules:

  • Guided Tour Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Haarlem & Delft | Suitable for all ages.
  • Historical Tour Amsterdam | Suitable for all ages, although the Educational Tour is designed to fit the student’s interest.
  • Alternative Tour Amsterdam | For 18 years and older, or younger adults under parental supervision. Note that the Alternative Tour focuses on the Red Light story, soft drugs legislation and the underground culture of Amsterdam.
  • Dark Side Tour Amsterdam | For 18 years and older. This tour covers quite graphic stories of the violent Middle-Ages and has some spooky storytelling about the places we visit on the tour.
  • Food Tour Amsterdam | Suitable for all ages.
  • Educational Tour Amsterdam | Best for students between the age of 10 and 16 years old, but customizable to any age category.
Why do I pay an extra €1,50 entertainment tax in Amsterdam?2022-10-18T13:34:45+02:00

As of the 1st of January 2020, Amsterdam legislation requires our guides to charge an additional fee of €1,50. An extra €0,05 transaction fee is charged, which adds up to €1,55 per person. For more info, check the Entertainment Tax page of Amsterdam municipality.

The entertainment tax doesn’t apply to Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Haarlem & Delft.

DON’T smoke weed everywhere2022-10-18T13:29:34+02:00

Although we have an open mind, we also value respect in public places. As of 2002, smoking cigarettes in the Netherlands is only allowed in designated areas or on outdoor terraces. Smoking while walking on the streets isn’t prohibited, but you risk a serious fine if you don’t toss your cigarette butt in the widely placed ashtrays.

Smoking marijuana isn’t allowed in the streets or in parks, although it is often done. Even in the aforementioned designated smoking areas, it isn’t custom to smoke marijuana. Nor is it to light up a blunt at any party.

Speak to your host/the people surrounding you and ensure you are not bothering anyone with your fumes and possibly annoying giggles.

DO put mayonnaise on your fries2022-10-18T13:21:03+02:00

A 100% fact, made famous in the car conversation between John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in Tarantino’s 1994 ‘Pulp Fiction’. When it comes to mayo, the Dutch like to dip deep. A portion of fries is not just a side order in the Netherlands, but rather considered honest and simple street food from a patatzaak (fries shop). Here are some variations to top your portions of golden potato nibbles with:

  • Met (Literally: ‘with’, a ‘patatje met’ adds the most elementary condiment of mayonnaise)
  • Speciaal (Lit.: ‘special’, a serving of mayonnaise and ketchup or curry gewürz, topped off with onion sprinkle)
  • Oorlog (Lit.: ‘war’, a bit colonial in its approach, nonetheless a tasty mix of brown peanut sauce and, you guessed it, mayonnaise)

 

DON’T be late2022-10-18T13:30:55+02:00

The Dutch are notorious for their punctuality, yes, we like things on time. Whether it’s gathering for a tour, catching the bus or even meeting with friends, turning up past the appointed time is taken as a serious insult. Our time is valuable and we tend to have busy schedules, making planning essential. Take these rules of thumb and you will never find yourself standing in the rain, while the others have gone off to the party without you:

  • Don’t be way too early. The Dutch usually run busy schedules, so your friends probably have something planned before.
  • On time is actually 5 minutes before time, at Guided Walking Tour Holland we even ask you to arrive 10 minutes before time.
  • Dutch traffic is well-organized, but it is always susceptible to extreme weather conditions and great events. Plan your public transport trip ahead or car ride before you head off to your appointment.
DO give each other 3 kisses on the cheeks2022-10-18T13:31:02+02:00

Between friends, the Dutch give kisses on the cheek upon greeting and when saying goodbye. While most countries greet each other with two kisses (one on each cheek), the Dutch will go that extra affectionate mile with a third smooch. Here’s how to properly greet any friend in an informal setting:

  1. Grab their hand, as if you were to shake it.
  2. Lean into them and quickly read whether to start on the left or right cheek. The usual way is: left-right-left.
  3. Give them a heartfelt kiss on each cheek, don’t forget to add that special third one!
  4. Drink beer and eat bitterballen with your newly kissed friends.
How do I pay for the tour?2022-10-11T17:43:44+02:00

After you have submitted a tour request in the booking form, you will receive a confirmation with a payment link.

Our system support the following payment methods:

  • iDeal
  • Credit card
  • PayPal
  • SOFORT Banking
  • Bancontact

After payment, you will receive a confirmation with an automated invoice.

If you prefer to pay per invoice, please request it in the form with the required details. Payment per invoice is offered with an additional administrative fee of €4,50.

How do I know if my booking is confirmed?2022-10-11T17:37:11+02:00

Fill in the form and it will be sent to us. We aim to answer your request within 24 hours.

  1. We will find the perfect guide(s) for your specific group and process your requests.
  2. You receive a confirmation of the details and a link for payment.
  3. After payment, your booking is secured and you will receive an automated invoice and confirmation.
How many people per guide?2022-10-28T12:29:31+02:00

For Amsterdam tours, local regulations state limit us to a maximum of 15 people per guide in Amsterdam. For a group of more than 15 people, we schedule multiple guides. The restrictions are strictly monitored by the municipality, exceeding the maximum per guide may result in a fine and us losing our license.

The other cities have no legal restrictions. However, we feel we can offer our best service with groups up to 20 people per guide in Rotterdam, The Hague, Haarlem, Utrecht & Delft. For a group larger than 20 people, we schedule multiple guides.

This way we can maintain the quality that our visitors deserve!

Can I change/cancel my reservation after booking?2022-10-11T17:21:05+02:00

You can cancel your reservation up to 14 days before your reservation free of charge. If you want minor changes for the tour, like the meeting point or number of people, just send us an email.

Where can I see the tour’s itinerary?2022-10-28T12:28:45+02:00

We don’t give out itineraries of our tours, we would be out of work in no time!

We will touch some of the greater landmarks of the city, but overall our goal is to surprise our visitors with an insight of places and stories that reach beyond the beaten track. If there are certain sights you want to include on your trip, you can tell us when you request a tour.

Below are the designated meeting points for each city. This is where we both start and end each tour:

Amsterdam (all tours) | Dam square, in front of the National Monument
Rotterdam | Front entrance of the Markthal, on Blaak square
The Hague | In front of the Mauritshuis, next to Plein square
Haarlem | Grote Markt square, at the statue of Laurens Janszoon Coster
Utrecht | In front of the Dom Tower, on Dom square
Delft | Markt square, in front of the Hugo de Groot statue

Why is there a maximum of people per tour?2022-10-11T17:14:07+02:00

Amsterdam regulations determine that a tour group consists of no more than 15 people. In the other cities, there is no legal maximum. However, we want to maintain the quality of our tours and offer our guide’s full attention!

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