Can you believe we’re almost halfway through 2023? With spring coming to an end and summer right around the corner, here are seven things expats living and working in the Netherlands need to know about this month.
1. Dutch banks raising interest rates (again)
After years of 0 percent interest rates (or less), it seems as though Dutch banks have finally gotten into the swing of things when it comes to raising interest on their accounts. May saw ING and ABN AMRO both introduce higher interest rates on savings accounts, and now they’re raising their rates once again.
At ING, from June 1, an interest rate of 1 percent will apply for accounts with up to 10.000 euros. Customers with between 10.000 and 1 million euros will receive 0,9 percent interest from this month.
Similarly, at Rabobank, an interest rate of 1 percent will apply on all accounts worth up to 5 million euros. Finally, at ABN AMRO, customers with up to 1 million euros in their accounts will receive 1 percent interest.
2. Dutch government to bring tax cuts on fuel to an end
The tax cuts on fuel introduced by the Dutch government last year will be coming to an end this summer. The reductions in excise duties are set to expire at the end of June, and the cabinet hasn’t announced an extension. This means that, from July 1, drivers in the Netherlands will have to pay more to refuel their cars.
3. Travelling by train to Germany or Belgium? You’ll have to book a seat!
At the beginning of May, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) announced a new system designed to limit crowds on international services over the summer. From June 17 through to August 18, passengers travelling via an ICE International service to Germany will be required to reserve a seat for their journey.
Similarly, those buying a ticket for an Intercity service to Antwerp or Brussels at the Early Bird rate will have to book their ticket for a specific train, instead of being able to hop on any service. NS says this system “makes train occupancy more predictable and ensures that travellers to and from Brussels remain sufficiently comfortable at all times.”
4. Changes to Dutch energy contracts
Since energy prices rose to staggering highs last year, it’s been impossible for customers to sign fixed multi-year contracts – although all that is changing from June. As of this month, major Dutch energy providers will once again offer customers the chance to sign a fixed contract with a duration of over one year. This means customers will be locked in at a set rate for 12 months or longer, without having to worry about potential changes to the market rate.
The main reason for this is that, from June 1, energy providers are increasing the cancellation fee for fixed contracts. Instead of paying a fixed rate of 100 euros (50 euros to cancel the gas and another 50 euros to cancel the electricity), customers will be required to pay the difference between the rates stated in the energy contract and the prices on the date they want to cancel – although the old rates will continue to apply to contracts signed before June 1.
5. Acceptgiro payment method to disappear
With more and more people making use of online banking and direct debits to make payments, the Netherlands is finally waving goodbye to the acceptgiro – the yellow cheque found at the bottom of invoices or pay slips that you receive in the post.
The number of people who still make use of the system has fallen significantly in recent years, meaning the cost of processing a payment made via acceptgiro is now reportedly no longer worth it. The Belastingdienst has been phasing the system out since 2021, but from June 2023 it’s official: after a whopping 46 years, acceptgiro is disappearing.
6. Final days of record-breaking Vermeer exhibit at Rijksmuseum
The Vermeer exhibition which opened at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam back in February is finally coming to an end. The past several months have seen art lovers from all over the world flock to the Dutch capital to experience the dozens of Johannes Vermeer works on display.
The exhibit is open until June 4, and the museum has announced it’ll be open until 2am on the final days of the exhibition.
7. Summer to arrive in the Netherlands
You might not know it from looking at the Dutch weather, but summer is officially almost here. According to the astronomical calendar, summer in the Netherlands starts on Wednesday, June 21 (the day of the summer solstice). Although the summer season is almost here, there are no guarantees about the weather – and the summer holidays at Dutch schools don’t start until July.
Thumb: Todamo via Shutterstock.com.