Best Netherlands SIM Cards for Tourists: Updated Prices & Where to Buy 2024

Staying connected is one of the crucial decisions when you plan on traveling to the Netherlands or any other country. In this article, we will discuss the conveniences of Netherlands SIM cards when compared to alternatives like relying on free Wifi, international roaming with your local carrier, or utilizing pocket Wifi. By reading further, more information will be acquired, such as the best options for tourists, data costs, leading network operators, and more.

Netherlands SIM card for tourists

I. Should You Get The Netherlands SIM Card?

Yes, of course.

There are various reasons why you should get a SIM card; which is crucial, such as finding directions, checking for transportation, booking hotel reservations online, or more importantly, keeping in touch with your family and relatives while enjoying a trip.

Tourists will have plenty of options to get Internet data when traveling to the Netherlands, including Public Wifi, Roaming Internet, Pocket Wifi, or a SIM card. However, obtaining a SIM card is considered the most convenient and cost-effective solution for maintaining connectivity.

Let’s see our comparison about each connectivity option:

1. Public Wi-Fi

Pros: Widely available in urban areas, often free, and convenient for light internet usage.

Cons: Security concerns, limited coverage in remote areas, and potential speed issues during peak times.

2. Roaming

Pros: Convenient as it allows you to use your home country’s mobile network.

Cons: Expensive, especially for data usage; may not be cost-effective for extended stays; potential for slower speeds.

3. Pocket Wi-Fi (Portable Wi-Fi Router)

Pros: Offers a dedicated, secure connection for multiple devices; generally faster and more reliable than public Wi-Fi; cost-effective for groups or longer stays.

Cons: Initial setup and rental fees; the need to carry an extra device; limited battery life; potential signal issues in remote areas.

4. Local SIM Card

Pros: Cost-effective for data usage; easy to set up; allows you to use your own device.

Cons: Requires a compatible, unlocked phone; limited to the coverage of the local network provider; potential language barrier during the purchase process.

► Our recommendation: among options to get Internet access while traveling Netherlands, getting a prepaid SIM is easy to set up for tourists.

II. Netherlands SIM Card Types for Tourists – Which One is the Best?

Based on the form, there are 2 main types of SIM cards for tourists who want to travel to the Netherlands:

  • Netherlands prepaid physical SIM card.
  • Netherlands prepaid travel eSIM.

In this section, what we mention will be about international use. Here are the types of international SIM cards for tourists in detail:

Prepaid physical SIM card in the Netherlands

Features:

  • Pre-loaded with set amounts of data, calls and texts
  • Easy to find and purchase at airport shops, convenience stores, and mobile operator stores/ retailers.
  • Ready for immediate activation upon arrival
  • Affordable data-cost usage

Plan:

2 types of plans for tourists, which are data-only plans and data + voice and text plans

Where to buy:

  • Airports: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Ameland Airport, Terlet Airfield, …
  • Major convenience store chains: Albert Heijn, Jumbo, …
  • Mobile Operator stores/ retailers: KPN, Vodafone, T-Mobile, …

Suitable for:

  • Workers who go on business trips
  • Tourists making short visits or transit
Data Package: Ulimited
Days of usage: 8, 15
Coverage: United States
Network: AT&T/T-mobile
Plan type: prepaid data only
eSIM number: no
Speed: 4G/LTE
Delivery time: immediate, via email, after purchase
Installation: Scan a QR code
Activation: Automatic
Validity start: when eSIM connects to a supported network
Hotspot/Tethering: Yes
Top-up options: available

Prepaid Tourist Netherlands eSIM

A prepaid eSIM is a digital SIM card stored in a secure data chip inserted in the mainboard of an eSIM-supported device. A physical SIM card is not required.

Features:

  • Buy online anywhere, anytime
  • Use the QR code to download & install the eSIM profile
  • One eSIM card can store multiple profiles
  • Works on eSIM-supported mobile phones
  • Remote activation from home country
  • Pre-loaded data allowance and validity period

Plans: 2 types of plans for tourists, which are data-only plans and data + voice and text plans.

Where to buy: 

  • Buy online directly from eSIM provider websites, especially a prestigious provider like Gigago!

Suitable for:

  • Frequent Netherlands travelers
  • Business travelers with short trips
  • Device limited to one physical SIM card
  • Those wanting to activate SIM before arrival
  • People with eSIM-compatible phones

Requirements: A passport is not required when buying online, only an eSIM-compatible phone.

►Our recommendations:

  • When visiting the Netherlands, tourists will prefer to buy a SIM card to stay connected. However, with the rise of technology, many phones are now SIM-locked. Therefore, tourists should carefully consider whether a physical or an eSIM card is suitable for users' needs.
  • Choose an INTERNATIONAL PREPAID DATA ESIM card if your phone supports eSIM, it is highly recommended to use due to its convenience, security, and flexible plan options.

NOTE: To use eSIM, your phone needs to be unlocked and have an eSIM port equipped. You should check if your phone supports eSIM. If you want to check quickly, go to Gigago to check our list of eSIM-compatible mobile devices.

III. Best Prepaid Netherlands SIM Card Plans for Tourists (+ Prices)

Which SIm card is the best in the Netherlands?

Good to know: For reference (official since Feb 2024)

1EUR = 1.09$

03 main mobile operators are widely used in the Netherlands: KPN, Vodafone, and T-Mobile.

These network carriers offer all affordable SIM card plans specially catered toward both locals and visitors. Below is a summary of some of their most used competitive tourist plans, through specific plan names, prices, and features may be changed over time.

1. Best Netherlands KPN SIM Card Plans and Price

Bundles:

  • Bundle12GB: 12GB data, unlimited calls/texts or 150 minutes/texts = 18,50 EUR ~ 20,16$
  • Bundel6GB: 6GB data, unlimited calls/texts or 150 minutes/texts = 16 EUR ~ 17,44$
  • Bundel0GB: without mobile internet. Online, can share via Wi-Fi or MBs, unlimited calls/texts or 150  minutes/texts = 12,50 EUR ~ 13,62$

2. Best Netherlands Vodafone SIM Card Plans and Price

For SIM cards: There are various prepaid SIM card packs:

  • 2GB = 10 EUR
  • 4GB = 15 EUR
  • 6GB = 20 EUR
  • 10GB = 30 EUR

You will also get a 5 EUR  bonus credit after registering your SIM card on My Vodafone app.

Normal bundles:

  • 1 day of unlimited Internet data = 4 EUR
  • 3 days of unlimited Internet data = 9 EUR
  • 1 week of unlimited Internet data = 14 EUR

Best recommended data bundles:

  • 2GB monthly call/texts + data = 9 EUR
  • 4GB monthly call/texts + data = 14 EUR
  • 6GB monthly call/texts + data = 19 EUR
  • 10Gb monthly call/texts + data = 29 EUR

3. Best T-Mobile Netherlands SIM Card Plans and Price

In 2024, T-Mobile Netherlands will be changed into Odido, there will be lots of good and affordable bundles per month:

  • 2GB data, 300Mbs speed, Internet +calling foreign country = 14 EUR ~ $15,26
  • 10Gb data, 300Mbs speed, Internet + calling foreign country = 15 EUR ~ $16,35
  • 15GB data, 300Mbs speed, Foreign country Internet + calling = 17,50 EUR ~ $18,92

Unlimited bundles:

  • Start: Unlimited Internet + calling both local and foreign country, 10Mbs speed = 27,50 EUR ~ $24,43
  • Basis: Unlimited Internet + calling with 300Mbs speed = 32,50 EUR ~ $35,42
  • Plus: 1 Extra data hotspot share devices, unlimited Internet + calling with 600Mbs speed = 37,50 EUR ~ $40,85
  • Premium: 3 Extra data hotspot share devices, unlimited Internet + calling with 1GB/s speed = 45 EUR ~ $47,50

IV. Where to Buy a Tourist SIM Card in the Netherlands?

1. Buy a physical Netherlands SIM card online, before departure

You can buy a prepaid Netherlands SIM card from travel SIM retailer’s websites and have it delivered to your accommodation before your trip, or you can purchase it directly at the airport after arrival (depending on the SIM provider’s policy)

  • Pros: Lower prices, be active for a trip, have Internet access right upon arrival
  • Cons: Have to wait for SIM delivery or need to arrange pickup in the Netherlands

2. Buy physical SIM cards at Netherlands airports

Tourists can purchase prepaid tourist SIM cards at all Netherlands airports like Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Ameland Airport, Terlet Airfield, and other major harbors/airports in the Netherlands.

  • Pros: Instant-buy before arrival, convenient pickup at the airport
  • Cons: Requires passport, low data, high price, and fewer data plan options.

3. Buy physical prepaid travel SIM in Netherlands’ cities

You can purchase prepaid SIM cards simply from many convenience stores, electronic shops, or retail store chains around the Netherlands.

T-Mobile, KPN, and Vodafone also have stores in many large cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, Groningen, etc. 

  • Pros: The best option is cheap and easy to get local advice
  • Cons: Need to find stores, show passport and/or personal information. Need help communicating with staff for SIM card information. 

4. Buy virtual Netherlands eSIM online

You can purchase prepaid eSIM cards for the Netherlands online from providers like Gigago before ready for your journey. These eSIM cards offer flexible data-only plans without any contracts.

  • Pros: Convenient in all ways before travel.
  • Cons: eSIM-compatible phones only

Our recommendation:

Here are some great advice when choosing where to buy Netherlands eSIM:

  • If you need immediate connectivity but don’t mind paying a premium or limited options: you can buy at the airport.
  • If you prioritize preparation and flexibility: go buy SIM cards online before departure. The downside is that there will be potentially higher costs for short stays.
  • If you seek the best value and don’t mind looking for stores: Buy from a store in cities after arrival. 
  • For all aspects: convenience, preparation, adaptability, and cost-effectiveness: consider buying an eSIM in advance (of course, eSIM-supported mobile phones required). 

V. How Much Data Is Enough for a Prepaid Tourist SIM Card in the Netherlands?

Most data plans from 3 major retailers start at 2GB of data, so you can:

  • Check emails
  • Using basic web browsing and Maps for directions
  • Use some messaging apps like WhatsApp or Messenger
  • Use social media lightly
  • Listen to some music on Spotify (around 1-2 hours)

To decide how much data to buy when choosing data bundles for traveling to the Netherlands, you need to consider which category of Internet users you are.

VI. Gigago eSIM – Alternative to Physical SIM Cards to Get Internet in the Netherlands

Gigago's Netherlands eSIM website

As you can see, our Netherlands eSIM has many advantages over traditional ones when it comes to staying connected.

It saves you money on roaming charges, functions similarly to a physical SIM card, provides dependable services, and is easy to use. Our customizable plans suit various journey durations, Internet users’ habits, and requirements.

For the Netherlands, GIGAGO offers multiple plan options with different dates, starting from 1GB/3 days for $3.50 . What is great about Gigago’s Netherlands eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diverse, varying between $3.50$125.98 . Moreover, it does not matter how Internet user you are and how long your trip is in the Netherlands, there will always be a suitable option for you in Gigago.

What eSIM Gigago for the Netherlands can do:

  • With an eSIM, you do not need to change or remove your regular SIM card. This is more convenient than handling multiple physical SIMs.
  • Hotspot/tethering is allowed, so you can share your data connection with your friends or devices. This is useful when traveling in a group.
  • Gigago provides quick and easy installation – just by scanning a QR code. You don’t need to wait to insert a new card. The eSIM will activate once you arrive. 

To see more details, visit Gigago Netherlands eSIM

VII. Which Netherlands Mobile Networks Are The Best for Tourists?

There are currently 3 major mobile networks in the Netherlands: KPN, Vodafone, and Odidio (formed from T-Mobile Netherlands in 2024)

KPN

  • Rank: 1st largest mobile operator in the Netherlands
  • 5G Network: KPN offers nationwide 5G coverage to all cities in the Netherlands
  • Average speed: With an average speed of 177,6 Mbps in most cities in the NetherlandsPlans data: KPN offers some affordable prepaid plans with many promotions such as 6GB/month for 17 EUR. Pretty good for medium Internet users.
KPN's Internet Coverage (sources npref)
KPN coverage map in the Netherlands (source: nperf)

Vodafone

  • Rank: 2nd largest network operator in the Netherlands
  • 5G network: Vodafone also has a wide variety of 5G coverage in all cities as in rural areas
  • Average speed: Users will experience a decent average speed of 97.3Mbps
  • Plans data: Vodafone has lots of SIM card data packs with multiple bundles locally and internationally starting with 9 EUR for a 2GB monthly bundle.
Vodafone's Internet Coverage
Vodafone coverage map in the Netherlands (source: nperf)

Odido

  • Rank: 3rd largest network operator in the Netherlands
  • 5G network: Odido has more 5G coverage than the 2 other operators
  • Average speed: Its average speed reached 139.8 Mbps, which is quite faster than Vodafone
  • Plans data: Odido has lots of data bundles suitable for both light and heavy Internet users with lots of features and promotions.
Odido coverage map in the Netherlands (source: nperf)

Our recommendations: Due to its vast network coverage and fastest average Internet speed, KPN is the best option for both residents and tourists. When purchasing KPN, there will be lots of data and promos available. Odido, however, can be a good choice, particularly when traveling to rural locations despite being the 2nd fastest Internet speed.

VIII. How to Use Netherlands Prepaid SIM Cards and eSIM

1. Using prepaid Netherlands tourist SIM Cards

Here are steps to use a Netherlands SIM card:

  • Find and purchase a prepaid SIM card from major carriers, store chains or even in airports upon arrival.
  • Follow the instructions to activate the card. Insert SIM card into the phone
  • The SIM card will have its temporary number. Note it for the next step
  • Top-up the balance at retailers or convenience store chains. Give the staff phone number and ask them the amount you want to top-up
  • Download the provider’s app or use code syntax to check the balance.

Pro tip: Some tips on using prepaid tourist SIM card during your trip to the Netherlands:

  • Carry some cash for top-ups
  • Use Wifi when possible to avoid data costs
  • You can top-up through e-wallets
  • Choose the right data limits to avoid wasting data usage

2. Setting up and activating Netherlands eSIM

To use a Netherlands eSIM for your trip, follow these steps:

  • Buy an eSIM online from a prestigious eSIM provider (Gigago) or every mobile operator store chain before departure or upon arrival at the airport
  • Scan a QR code or enter the activation code, and link to activate eSIM online
  • Once activated, the eSIM will be installed directly on your device. Make sure you use a compatible phone

Pro tip: Depending on the plan’s policy about activation time, oftentimes, you are recommended to activate the eSIM one day before departure to save the validity period.

How much is data SIM in the Netherlands?

KPN: You will pay 4,99 EUR for a SIM card first, then you can buy bundles from 12,50 EUR to 18,50 EUR
Vodafone: Vodafone sells SIM cards with available data from 2GB for 10EUR to 10GB for 30EUR. Moreover, there will be lots of bundles to choose from, from limited data to unlimited with the starting price of 4 EUR for 1-day unlimited data.
T-Mobile: Depending on the users will have different prices, the cheapest bundle will have 2GB with 300 MB of speed for only 14 EUR.

Why is mobile data so expensive in the Netherlands?

The effect of infrastructures, Net Neutrality Laws, high competition with market dynamics, and even consumer behavior affect data cost prices while you are traveling in the Netherlands.

Can I buy a SIM card in convenience stores in the Netherlands?

Yes, you can easily buy SIM cards in convenience stores in the Netherlands like Albert Hejin or Jumbo. They are located everywhere in all cities in the Netherlands.

X. Conclusion

In conclusion, buying a prepaid Netherlands SIM card is a concern for most travelers as it is convenient for staying connected while on a trip to the Netherlands, which is better than relying on international roaming. However, if your mobile device has an eSIM function, buying a prepaid eSIM bundle would be better. With eSIM, you won’t have to be worried about carrying around SIM cards, which makes eSIM the best option for keeping in touch with people while traveling in the Netherlands.