Netherlands

Dog-Friendly Netherlands: Travelling in the Netherlands with a Dog

Dog-friendly Netherlands

The Netherlands, especially Amsterdam, is a popular destination in Europe to visit for all types of travellers. And if you’re thinking about bringing along your dog, don’t be worried, as it’s quite a dog-friendly destination. Just as long as you’re not hitting up the clubs or spending all day at the museums, because even in anything-goes Amsterdam dogs still aren’t permitted in those kinds of places. But if you’re wanting to stroll the canals of Amsterdam, visit one of the cute towns or be wowed with the annual displays of tulips, your dog will make the perfect companion. Here are my tips for travelling to the Netherlands with your dog…

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Dining Out in the Netherlands with a Dog

In the Netherlands, many restaurants will allow your dog to dine with you inside. Your best bet will be more casual bistros and cafes, as long as it’s not too busy. Check whether there a sign indicating dogs are definitely allowed (a dog symbol surrounded by a green circle) or not allowed (a dog surrounded by a red circle). Or just ask before you enter, in case the answer is no.

Alternatively, dine outside on one of the many outdoor terraces. Dogs will usually always be allowed to dine with you outside, and many terraces have a roof or awning to shelter you from the fairly frequent rain. This is the option we generally stuck to during our visit in summer (albeit a rainy summer).

Dog-friendly dining Netherlands

The many outdoor dining terraces along Witte de Withstraat in Rotterdam

And while dogs are usually welcome in most bars, I’d recommend staying away from the local “coffee houses” with your pup.

For some recommendations for dog-friendly restaurants in Amsterdam, check out the list on this post by an expat (which also lists some dog-friendly parks in Amsterdam).

Taking a Dog on Public Transport in the Netherlands

Dogs are generally allowed on all forms of public transport in the Netherlands, although the rules vary as to whether a ticket is required for dogs. In Amsterdam, where the public transport is run by GVB, the rules are quite generous. Pets travel for free, as long as they are in a bag, on your lap or on a short lead. The same rules apply on the buses, trams and metro run by RET in Rotterdam.

Dog on public transport Netherlands

Taking the bus in Rotterdam

On the domestic trains run by NS, the pet policy is that small pets travelling in a carrier bag or on your lap ride for free, while larger dogs require a “dog ticket” for the small charge of €3.10 per day. There’s a limit of one larger dog per passenger, and the dog must be on a leash.

On international trains to and from the Netherlands, the rules vary depending on the service. There are a few trains that don’t allow dogs (the Eurostar, plus the Sun Thalys and Ski Thalys), but generally small dogs in a carrier bag travel for free, while a ticket is required for larger dogs, plus a leash and muzzle. For details on each train service, see this page.

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in the Netherlands

Whether you’re wanting to stay in a hotel, an apartment or at a campground, there’s plenty of dog-friendly options in the Netherlands. Additionally, I recommend looking into the possibility of a house-boat stay in this country of canals. We stayed on a house-boat just outside of Amsterdam (to save money on accommodation costs), and were surprised by how homely it was plus how much it was like a normal house!

Here are some recommended dog-friendly hotels around the country:

Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam

The luxurious Kimpton chain is renown in the US for their very pet-friendly policy, and the Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam is just as pet-friendly. There is no charge for pets and no size restrictions, and beds, bowls and treats are provided. The hotel is highly recommended by A Bulldog Abroad, who note that “each night there is complimentary wine in the lounge area and pets are welcome to join in the fun.”

Click here to find out more and check the latest rates

Inntel Hotels Rotterdam Centre

Visit Rotterdam with a dog

The view from our room at the Inntel Hotels Rotterdam centre

While visiting Rotterdam, we enjoyed staying at the Inntel Hotels Rotterdam Centre. Our dog Schnitzel was warmly welcomed and our room was quiet, despite the hotel being busy. The hotel is located a short five minute stroll from the Erasmus Bridge waterbus stop (perfect for heading to Kinderdijk), plus it’s just a short walk from Witte de Withstraat, home to many cool restaurants and bars with outdoor terraces spilling out onto the street. Note there is an additional charge of €15 per night per pet.

Click here to find out more and check the latest rates

Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in the Netherlands

So, now that you’re got the practical aspects of a trip to the Netherlands with your dog sorted, what you should spend your time doing? Here are my top recommendations for sightseeing with your dog.

1. Wander the Canals of Amsterdam

Visit Amsterdam with a dog

One of my favourite canals in Amsterdam

The highlight of my visit to Amsterdam was spending most of a day wandering along the historic canals and laneways of the inner city. Most of the city is well preserved, and there’s many gorgeous historic buildings, usually very narrow and not always that straight! No matter what time of year it’s a must-do, and best of all it’s perfect to do with your pup on a leash.

Dog-friendly Amsterdam

And the equally cute laneways in Amsterdam

2. Visit the Tulips at Keukenhof

The Netherlands is famous for its tulips and if you’re visiting during the Springtime, don’t miss out on visiting the tulips at Keukenhof Gardens. The gardens are usually open from late March to late May, depending on the year. I was quite disappointed that I was too late by a long shot when I visited in July, especially when I found out that dogs can join you for free. For more information on visiting with a dog, check out this review on GoPetFriendly.

3. Take a Waterbus to Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk with dog

Exploring the windmills at Kinderdijk with Schnitzel

The Netherlands is also synonymous with windmills, built in bygone centuries to pump water from the low-lying lands. These days most of the windmills have been replaced by modern pumping stations, but many of the old windmills remain as landmarks, including the UNESCO-listed windmills at Kinderdijk. The windmills are easily visited from Rotterdam by taking the waterbus, with dogs allowed on both the waterbus and at Kinderdijk, except for inside the museum windmills. Read more about my trip and how to visit.

4. Visit the Cute (and Cheesy) Town of Edam

Dog-friendly Edam

Selfie time in Edam!

The Netherlands is home to many cute towns, of which my favourite was Edam. Best known for the cheese named after the town, you can still see a re-enactment of the historic cheese market on Wednesdays during the summer. Otherwise, just go for a wander around the cute streets of the town, with many delightful spots for photos with your pup. It takes about 30 minutes to get to Edam from Amsterdam by car or bus.

5. Go For a Bike Ride

Travelling to the Netherlands with a dog

Schnitzel was not impressed with bike baskets in Amsterdam

I regret not taking my dog for a bike ride while in the Netherlands! It’s easiest to bring along a small pup on your ride, as long as have a basket on the front and they’re calm enough to ride inside it. Otherwise, look into hiring a trailer for your bike or the cargo bikes, which have a large box for transporting everything from luggage to children. Just make sure you use a bike lock, as bike theft is common, especially in Amsterdam.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Jose Hernandez
    March 9, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    Nice blog! Have an excellent trip around the globe!

    • Reply
      Shandos
      March 10, 2020 at 8:39 am

      Thanks Jose!

  • Reply
    Shelly
    September 8, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    Wonderful post. We have an adorable 10 year old labradoodle called Ted who’s lived with us in 9 countries and we take him almost everywhere. So lovely to see your sweet Schnitzel travelling with you too. We are repatriating back to U.K. early October from SE Asia. We are flying into Schiphol airport early evening on Friday 3rd October 2020. We will spend the night and following day in Amsterdam, without a car, then get the Stenna line ferry from Hook of Holland on Saturday 4th October at 22:00. Have you any recommendations where we could stay with Ted please? We will have his large dog crate and 4 suitcases so quite a bit to lug around with us. Also we wanted to ask you if you knew the best way to get to the ferry port? A friend of mine told me they used a local taxi driver as quotes on line were crazy prices. Thank you so much, Shelly

    • Reply
      Shandos
      September 9, 2020 at 8:01 am

      It’s great to hear of your adventures! I’m afraid I can’t really help you with accommodation in Amsterdam. We stayed a little way outside of Amsterdam when we visited, on a house boat, which is definitely out of the question for you. There are quite a few pet-friendly hotels in Amsterdam, so look for something close to the central train station.

      To get to the port, it’s possible with just train and metro. Take an intercity train to Schiedam Centrum, on the outskirts of Rotterdam, or Rotterdam Blaak station (depending on the best connections), then the metro to Hoek van Holland Haven. It’s about 2 hours total time from Amsterdam Centraal to the port. Back when we made the journey in reverse there were replacement buses, but the metro finally opened last November. Normally you can buy a combined train and ferry ticket (Rail & Sail Ticket), but the Dutch rail company is strangely not selling this at the moment. For more information, see: https://www.stenaline.co.uk/ferry-to-holland/rail-and-sail. It’s possible to view the journey on Google Maps.

      Note that as Schiphol Airport is a little south of Amsterdam, you don’t necessarily need to stay in Amsterdam, unless you would prefer. You can catch intercity trains directly from Schiphol Airport, with a total journey time of 1.5 hour to Hook of Holland (train + metro).

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