VPNs in The Netherlands: A Guide to Secure Browsing

Sofia Van Dirk

No Comments

This article provides a practical and clear guide on VPNs in the Netherlands, why they’re essential, which ones to consider, and how to make the most of them while ensuring top-notch internet security. Welcome to a safer and more accessible Dutch digital experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • VPNs enhance your online security, privacy, and accessibility in the Netherlands.
  • Free VPNs often come with hidden risks, potentially compromising your data.
  • Selecting a top-quality VPN is crucial, with features catering to your specific needs.
  • Setting up a VPN is straightforward, ensuring a secure browsing experience.
  • VPNs can help navigate local Dutch websites, breaking language and geo-restriction barriers.

Why You Need a VPN in the Netherlands

The picturesque canals and historic architecture of the Netherlands might seem a world away from digital concerns, but just like anywhere else, the online realm here has its peculiarities. For expats, students, and long-term tourists in the country, a VPN becomes more than just another tech tool; it’s a gateway to a seamless digital life. Let’s delve into the reasons:

Accessing Content from Your Home Country

One of the most immediate feelings of disconnect expatriates often encounter is when their favorite websites or streaming platforms become unavailable abroad. This is due to geo-restrictions, which block content based on your location. A VPN allows you to ‘virtually’ place your device in your home country or any other country of your choice, enabling access to familiar content and platforms.

Enhancing Privacy in an Age of Digital Surveillance

While the Netherlands is known for its liberal stance on many issues, digital privacy is something that everyone, regardless of their location, should be conscious of. Browsing without a VPN means your online actions can be more easily tracked, be it by advertisers, websites, or even potential hackers. A VPN encrypts your data, making your online footprint much harder to decipher.

Bypassing Geo-blocked Services

Beyond streaming, there are other services, like certain online banking platforms or shopping sites, that may restrict access outside of certain regions. A VPN helps circumvent these blocks, ensuring you have access to essential services no matter where you’re based.

Protecting Your Data over Public Wi-Fi Networks

The Netherlands boasts numerous cozy cafes and public spaces offering free Wi-Fi. As tempting as it might be to connect, public networks can be a hotspot for cyber threats. A VPN provides an added layer of protection, encrypting your data and making it significantly harder for malicious entities to intercept.

Top Recommended VPNs for Expats in the Netherlands

vpns in the netherlands

Finding the right VPN service amidst the plethora of choices can be a daunting task. Expats, students, and long-term tourists need a service that’s not only secure but also reliable and easy to use. Here’s a clear and practical rundown of the top recommended VPNs for those navigating the digital landscape of the Netherlands:

VPN ServiceBest ForStandout Feature
ExpressVPNStreaming and general browsingSplit tunneling for selective VPN routing
NordVPNHigh-security tasks (banking, shopping)Double VPN for enhanced protection
CyberGhostNew VPN users and task-specific browsingAutomatic kill switch for uninterrupted security
SurfsharkFamilies or groups with multiple devicesWhitelister for selective app/website bypassing of the VPN


Renowned for its speed and security, ExpressVPN is a favorite among many global users. With servers in over 90 countries, it guarantees fast and reliable connections. Its no-log policy and top-tier encryption mean you’re browsing safely every time.

Best for: Streaming content from your home country and general browsing.

Standout Feature: Split tunneling, which allows you to route some of your device traffic through the VPN while letting the rest access the internet directly.


With a high server count and robust encryption, NordVPN ensures both flexibility and security. The service boasts a user-friendly interface and a strict no-log policy.

Best for: High-security tasks, such as online banking or shopping.

Standout Feature: Double VPN, which routes your traffic through two VPN servers for an extra layer of protection.


Particularly user-friendly, CyberGhost offers dedicated profiles for different tasks like browsing, streaming, or torrenting. With a wide range of servers and strong security features, it’s a great choice for those who want simplicity without compromising on performance.

Best for: Those new to VPNs or those who want task-specific browsing options.

Standout Feature: Automatic kill switch, which ensures your data is safe even if the VPN connection drops.


Known for its competitive pricing and reliable performance, Surfshark is an excellent choice for those on a budget but still seeking quality. It offers a clean interface, unlimited device connections, and a robust set of security features.

Best for: Families or groups, thanks to its unlimited connections feature.

Standout Feature: Whitelister, which allows apps or websites of your choice to bypass the VPN.

Setting up a VPN

Venturing into the world of VPNs might seem like diving deep into a tech rabbit hole, especially if you’re new to the concept. But fret not! The process is more straightforward than you might think. Here’s a practical, step-by-step guide to setting up your VPN, ensuring you’re securely connected in no time:

1. Choose a VPN Service: Start by selecting one of the recommended VPNs mentioned earlier or another reputable service that caters to your needs. Consider factors like security features, server locations, and user reviews.

2. Sign Up and Purchase: Visit the chosen VPN’s official website. Create an account and select a subscription plan. Most VPNs offer various durations – monthly, annually, or even longer. Often, longer subscription plans come with bigger discounts.

3. Download the Application: Once you’ve signed up, you’ll usually be directed to a download page. Choose the version that corresponds to your device (e.g., Windows, Mac, iOS, Android) and download the application.

4. Install the VPN: Open the downloaded file and follow the installation prompts. These are typically intuitive and designed to guide you through the process without any hiccups.

5. Log In and Connect: Once installed, open the VPN application and sign in using the credentials you set up during registration. After logging in, you’ll usually see a ‘connect’ button or something similar. Click on it to establish a secure VPN connection. Some VPNs also allow you to choose specific server locations before connecting.

6. Configuration (Optional): If you have particular preferences, delve into the settings or preferences section of the application. Here, you can often adjust features like auto-connect on startup, kill switches, or even change the VPN protocol. For most users, the default settings will suffice, but it’s good to know customization options exist.

7. Enjoy a Secure Connection: With your VPN connected, all your online activities are now encrypted and funneled through a secure server. Whether you’re browsing, streaming, or shopping, you can do so with the peace of mind that your data is protected.

Tips for Seamless Use:

  • Should you experience slow speeds, try switching to another server. Most VPN apps allow you to select servers from different regions.
  • Remember to activate your VPN, especially when using public Wi-Fi networks in cafes or airports.
  • Some websites might detect VPN traffic and block access. If you’re having trouble accessing a particular site, consider momentarily disconnecting or switching to a different server.

Related: Electronic Stores in The Netherlands: The 5 Biggest Stores

Features to Look for in a Good VPN

Navigating the world of VPNs can sometimes feel like wandering through a dense forest without a map. With so many options available, all touting a variety of features, how do you determine which is the right one for your needs in the Netherlands? Here’s a practical, straightforward guide to the essential features you should prioritize:

Strong Encryption: At its core, a VPN is about security. Look for services that offer AES-256 encryption. It’s a top-tier security standard that ensures your data is scrambled effectively, keeping it out of the hands of prying eyes.

No-log Policy: Your online activities should remain your private concern. A reliable VPN will have a strict no-log policy, meaning it doesn’t store records of your browsing history. This feature is vital for those who prioritize privacy.

Speed and Reliability: It’s not enough for a VPN to just work; it should work efficiently. Opt for services known for consistent and fast connection speeds. This ensures your browsing, streaming, or any online activity remains smooth, without frustrating lags or interruptions.

Wide Server Availability: The more server locations a VPN offers, the better the flexibility. A good mix of local and international servers allows you to switch your digital location based on your needs, be it accessing content from home or ensuring faster browsing speeds within the Netherlands.

User-friendly Interface and Easy Setup: Technology should simplify, not complicate. Choose a VPN that offers a clear, intuitive interface, especially if you’re not particularly tech-savvy. A straightforward setup means you spend less time fiddling with settings and more time browsing securely.

Risks of Using Free VPNs in the Netherlands

The allure of free services is undeniable. After all, who doesn’t love a good bargain, especially when you’re managing expenses in a new country? But when it comes to VPNs, the age-old adage often rings true: You get what you pay for. Opting for a free VPN might seem like a quick fix, but it can come with hidden costs and risks. Here’s a clear-eyed look at why caution is necessary:

Data Limits and Throttling: Most free VPNs impose restrictions on how much data you can use or deliberately slow down your connection speed after a certain point. This can prove particularly frustrating if you’re streaming content or engaged in activities that demand a stable, high-speed connection.

Possible Sale of Your Data to Third Parties: One of the primary purposes of a VPN is to protect your data. Ironically, some free VPN services monetize by selling user data to advertisers or third parties. This not only breaches your privacy but can also expose you to targeted ads and potential security threats.

Inadequate Protection against Online Threats: A free VPN might not offer the same level of encryption and security as its paid counterparts. This could leave you vulnerable to cyberattacks, data breaches, and other online threats, defeating the primary purpose of using a VPN.

Annoying Ads and Pop-ups: Many free VPNs generate revenue through advertisements. This could mean having to deal with a barrage of unsolicited ads every time you connect, diminishing your browsing experience.

Limited Server Options: With a restricted number of servers, free VPNs can’t offer the flexibility and speed that a paid VPN can. This limitation can impede your ability to bypass geo-blocks or achieve optimal connection speeds.

Local Dutch Websites and VPN Usage

Navigating local Dutch websites as an expat, student, or long-term tourist can sometimes pose unexpected challenges. Whether it’s understanding content primarily presented in Dutch or dealing with location-based restrictions, a VPN can be a game-changer. Here’s a clear and practical look at how VPNs can benefit you when accessing local Dutch sites:

Language Barriers

Many local Dutch websites may primarily cater to native speakers. While some of them might offer an English version, others might not.

By using a VPN:

  • You can access translation tools or services which might be restricted or limited in the region.
  • Some websites auto-translate based on your perceived location. By setting your VPN server to an English-speaking country, the site might default to English, if available.

Local Content Access from Abroad

Some Dutch websites, especially media streaming platforms, might be geo-restricted if you’re a student or expat traveling outside the Netherlands. A VPN allows you to access these sites by connecting to a server within the Netherlands, giving the impression you’re browsing from within the country.

Enhanced Privacy on Dutch Platforms

Whether you’re engaging in online shopping on Dutch platforms or using local online services, A VPN provides an added layer of security, ensuring that your personal and financial details are encrypted and less susceptible to any potential data breaches.

Avoiding Localized Ad Targeting

Nobody enjoys being bombarded with ads, especially if they’re not relevant. By using a VPN, you can avoid local Dutch targeted advertisements. Instead, you’ll receive ads from the region your VPN is set to, which can sometimes be more general and less intrusive.

Access to Local Deals

Occasionally, some services or products might be offered at special rates for local residents. Using a VPN server located in the Netherlands, you might gain access to local deals or offers targeted specifically at Dutch IPs.

Bypass Potential Throttling

Sometimes, local ISPs might throttle certain websites, especially during peak times. A VPN can mask your browsing activities, potentially bypassing any throttling efforts and ensuring a smooth browsing experience.

While VPNs offer numerous advantages, it’s also essential to be aware of potential pitfalls. Always ensure you’re not breaching the terms of service of the website you’re accessing. Some websites might restrict or penalize users accessing their content through a VPN, so always be informed and cautious.

Related: Prepaid Simcards

ABOUT Sofia Van Dirk

Sofia van Dijk is our resident Relocation Expert at NetherlandsExpat.nl. Born and raised in the Netherlands, Sofia possesses extensive knowledge of Dutch culture, local customs, and the practicalities of living in this unique country. She studied International Relations at the University of Amsterdam and spent several years working for an international relocation company before joining our team.

Leave a Comment