10 essential apps to have in The Netherlands
Once you arrive in the Netherlands, there are a few things you need to know, especially if you’ve never been here. On the first place, the weather is a little bit crazy. Second, you’ll need your phone more than you think.
I will try to make your life a little easier with this post. Of course, we can do little about the weather, but I think you’ll get the most of it after reading.
Once you have your BSN (your social security number in The Netherlands), it is crucial that you install the DigiD app. This is almost a mandatory app here. It’s the default way to ensure that you’re you digitally. You will need to use it to authenticate on government web applications and other applications linked to the government somehow.
It will take some time to set it up. So make sure to sign up as soon as you have your BSN. When you sign up on it, you will receive the instructions to complete your registration via postal mail. One important thing to mention, it will ask to configure a PIN of 5 numeric digits, so assign one that you’ll remember (or store it in a safe place).
So, you want to get around the city (or come to the WAES office), and you don’t know where or when the bus or train departs. I have an easy solution for you. Go to the App Store from your smartphone and install the 9292 app right away!
9292 is a free app (it also has pro features) that tells you how to get from point A to point B using any means of transport you choose. If you want to start with a bike and end up walking, it’s all up to you!
One important feature in the app is that you can even set an arrival time. Punctuality is taken seriously in The Netherlands, so make sure you are on time for your appointments. For that, you just need to set the arrival time on 9292 and it will tell you what time you should pick up the bus or train to get to your appointments on time!
By now, you may be wondering if you can go out and enjoy the day, right? Although your default weather application tells you that you’re good to go, it’s better to ask for a second opinion. For that, go and install Buienradar.
Buienradar can either be for free, or you can purchase it and get rid of ads. It is the best way to check the weather here. It shows a map of the region and a forecast of 3, 8, 24, and 48 hours in advance. Together with it, also shows how much it will rain so you can plan your outfit before going out.
I told you I would help with the weather! 😉
As it turns out, the weather is not that good, and you don’t feel like going out getting wet just for a meal. Instead, you decide to stay in, but you realize that you have nothing to eat! No worries, I have a solution for you!
In Thuisbezorgd, you’ll find lots of foods from all over the world! If you’d like to make your meal instead, you can order your groceries from Gorillas, and — as they claim — in less than 10 minutes, you’ll have a delivery right at your doorstep.
You’ll get familiar with the expression “send me a Tikkie”. There are few places where you can pay with cash, and splitting the bill can be problematic. So I have that covered too!
Tikkie allows you to easily split the bill and share a link with your contacts. It also lets you know when someone paid and how much people are left to pay. The app is so common in The Netherlands that even banking apps have integration with it. Also, if you have issues setting the price to be paid back, you have the option to let your friends decide how much to pay.
Everything without hassle!
In the Netherlands, the cities are planned thinking of bicycles first. So it’s pretty easy to move around with your bike. For that reason, you must have one. Here, you can either buy one or, like everything nowadays, have it as a service. If you prefer to have the bike as a service, then Swapfiets is your app.
In Swapfiets, they have different types of bikes, starting from a simple bike up to a fancy electric one. They work with a monthly subscription where the amount you pay will depend on the kind of bike you decide to have. It starts from €16,90 up to €74,90 on a long-range electric bike. It is important to mention that the type of bike available is dependent on the city you live in.
After you decided on your bike and make your subscription, they will deliver your bike to your doorstep. Also, if you have any problems with your bike, you can just schedule an appointment to fix it. They will come to you and repair it, or replace it with a new one if the fix takes too long!
7. Donkey Republic
If, on the other hand, you are an occasional rider, Donkey Republic is the app to go. They have a one-size-fits-all kind of bike. Still, if you’re an occasional biker or want a quick ride, this app is quite handy.
You search for a nearby bike with the app, unlock it with your phone via Bluetooth and start riding it. You only pay for the time you spend on the bike, and the more you use it, the less you pay.
TIER lets you rent an electric bike, scooter, or moped. For just €0,15 the minute for the electric bike, it makes an outstanding option to move within larger distances with no effort. In case you want to rent the moped, you’ll need to scan your driver’s license. The only downside of this app is that you can only park at designated places.
As easy and pleasant as it might be to move around with a bike, there are times when a car comes at hand. The problem might be to find a place to park! Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with this one too!
ParkMobile offers functionalities like finding parking places and their rates, starting and ending parking within your phone, and monthly subscriptions. The subscription allows you to save on the park action (it charges for that), so you get that for free.
Finally, it’s time for some beers! With Untappd, you’ll find reviews of beers and find local bars that sell them. It also allows you to have a list of beers that you like.
The app takes the form of a social network so you can follow friends and see what they’re enjoying and get news about local events and meet-ups. I’m going with a Lagunitas IPA, what about you?
So, here is my list of 10 essential apps to have when living in the Netherlands. Some are practical, some are mandatory, and some are for fun. I hope this post has been helpful and makes you feel more prepared for your new life in the Netherlands.
This article is written by Rodrigo Tato Rothamel, for the WAES Medium blog.
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