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Moving from the United States to Amsterdam might be a bit expensive because of flights, visa fees, and moving costs. You’ll have to buy a whole new set of appliances and furniture to get your life started here; not to mention that Amazon* isn’t really a thing here so shopping isn’t a one-stop venture. Based on living here for three years, I’m here to make your experience of shopping in Amsterdam easier than what I went through. Here’s what appliances to buy in Amsterdam and what you can bring from home!
*Amazon NL is basically nonexistent. If you really want something from Amazon instead of local e-commerce shops, you have to shop at Amazon DE or Amazon UK. Instead of paying extra for shipping, I list local e-commerce shops that you can buy appliances from.
Quick Summary of Plugs and Voltages Between the US and the Netherlands
Before we jump into what appliances you’ll have to buy in the Netherlands and which ones you can bring from home, let’s talk about the differences in plugs and voltages between the US and the Netherlands. Both countries use different plug types and have different voltage (the rate at which the charge of electricity flows… or something like that).
The USA uses Type A (ungrounded) and Type B (grounded) plugs. The prongs that go into the wall are flat.
The standard voltage in the US is 120 V and the frequency is 60 Hz.
The Netherlands uses Type C (ungrounded) and Type F (grounded) plugs. The prongs that go into the wall are round.
The standard voltage in the Netherlands is 230V and the frequency is 50 Hz.
Nonetheless, not all appliances convert easily. Because of this, you either can’t use the appliance from home in Amsterdam, or you’ll need a heavy-duty converter/transformer to use your appliance from home.
What Appliances to Buy in Amsterdam
For the first year that Mike and I lived in Amsterdam, we tried our best to use a converter for most of our appliances from the US. We quickly found out some appliances, regardless of what type of converter we had, could not be used in Amsterdam or were just a plain hassle to use. Here are the appliances we either couldn’t use in Amsterdam or had trouble using and where we bought our current Dutch version instead.
Since we lived in New York City in a tiny 300 square foot apartment with hardwood floors, Mike and I had a junky, small vacuum. We brought it to Amsterdam and it worked with our 500-watt converter, but it was a real pain-in-the-butt.
Every time we vacuumed, not only did we have to replug the vacuum in and out of the outlets, we also had to bring around the heavy converter to each room. Eventually, a family member shorted the vacuum when they tried to vacuum our home and did not put the vacuum into the converter and only an adapter.
We finally let go of this appliance from home and got a cordless Dyson Cyclone V10 as our Amsterdam vacuum cleaner. It’s been nothing short of amazing.
It’s so easy and lightweight to use that I actually vacuum every single day now without having to worry about cords and a converter. It’s so easy to go from room to room without cords to plug and unplug. Also, as someone with severe dust mite allergies, I used to leave the vacuuming to Mike and would have to sit out on the porch or leave the house for an hour or two after, but because of the cleaning tech that the cordless Dyson has, I do the vacuuming myself.
Read my full review on the Dyson Cyclone V10 here.
Good to Know: The Dyson Cyclone V10 is their newest cordless vacuum, and as a result, is the most expensive. If you don’t have as big of a budget, you can get the V7 for basically half the price.
I have the most amazing Magimix food processor from the US that wasn’t cheap and even with a 1500 watt transformer, it went KAPUTZ when I turned it out. I am really hoping that the food processor works well when I return to US if that’s ever…
I ended up getting this food processor since I don’t cook as much as I did in the US. But if you’re looking for a better one, you may want to get this Bosch Foodprocessor (for 159 euros as of 10/19/18).
Dehumidifier, Dryer, and Air Purifier
Something you should know about Amsterdam is that because it rains a lot, it is quite humid for a long period of the year, which is generally ok unless you have bad dust mite allergies or health problems like me. You can read more about my dust mite allergies in the intro of my Dyson Cyclone V10 vacuum review.
Between the natural humidity of Amsterdam and the humidity that gets released into the air when you dry your clothes manually on a drying rack, which is very common in Amsterdam, your apartment can get quite humid. Dust mites thrive in humidity, which can make your allergies worse.
To minimize our dust mite problem, we had to get a new air purifier since ours from the US short-circuited when plugged into the heavy-duty converter, a dryer, and dehumidifier. Since getting these appliances in Amsterdam, my allergies have gotten better, and the house feels cleaner.
Heater, Steamer, and Hair Appliances (Anything That Heats Up)
Even with the best of heavy-duty converters, an appliance that heats up is doomed for failure. With our converter, we tried using a portable heater and a portable travel steamer even though they both had less wattage than the converter could handle.
However, having a portable travel steamer was of the utmost necessity for me since I travel so often. I got a small travel steamer at Bol.com.
As for a heater, you shouldn’t really need one but if you have a room that’s extra cold because your home’s heater is too small or there’s terrible installation, I recommend this inexpensive convection heater. Unlike heaters that use fans, this one is quiet and acts like a heater that your home is already installed with.
I had bought both a convection heater and one with a fan to test them out, and the convection one for only 30 euros won because of the noise factor.
For my hair appliances, I was able to bring my dual-voltage hair straightener (read more about it below) but because heating appliances don’t do well with converters, nor did I want to use a converter every time I did my hair, I got a hair dryer and this awesome automatic, self-curling iron in Amsterdam.
You Might Also Like: Buying a Used Bike in Amsterdam
What Appliances You Can Bring From Home
If you’re wondering what appliances from the US you can still use in Amsterdam, there are quite a handful! Knowing which ones you can bring will save you money while living here and also prevent your appliances from burning out with incorrect usage.
Appliances You Can Use with a Converter
If you get this converter that I have, you can use anything that runs off less than 500 watts. Here are the items that I still use with a converter after three years of living here.
I want to stress that the US appliance you are plugging into this has to use less than 500 watts (unless you buy one with a higher wattage). Even though the converter says 500 watts, it may not be able to handle a 500 watt appliance if it takes more energy to start it up. You can usually find the wattage usage directly on your appliance in the world’s smallest font size.
Juicer, Hand Blender, or Any Small Kitchen Appliance
The last appliance I fell in love with before I recently got my Dyson Cyclone V10 was my Omego J8004 masticating juicer. Lucky for me, I was able to bring this to the Netherlands and use it with a 500W converter.
If you have a hand blender or other small kitchen appliance, then you’ll be able to use this with the converter. But the conversation of always having a converter on the kitchen counter vs. just buying a new hand blender on Bol.com is something you may want to think about if you plan on using it often.
Since I sparingly use my printer, it was great being able to use it with a converter and not have to get a new one here, or inconvenience myself without having one at all and going to a local print shop.
Note that we have two converters: one that we leave permanently in the office, and one we keep in the kitchen cabinets.
Now I didn’t bring a sewing machine over, but when I was researching which converter to buy, I saw in a forum somewhere that a woman was able to use her sewing machine with this converter. As always, check the wattage of your sewing machine to see if it’s truly adaptable with the converter.
Appliances You Can Use with an Adapter
There are some appliances you only need to use with an adapter, which means you can skip going to an electronics store in Amsterdam and just be ready with an adapter before moving to Amsterdam.
As a note, do not buy adapters that are bulky and square. They will not fit easily into Amsterdam outlets because a lot of outlets are round. Get grounded adapters that are round and ungrounded adapters that are rectangular. I have ungrounded, square adapters, and they constantly fall out of outlets.
Your hair straightener will only work if it’s a dual-voltage one. I recommend if you like to travel and plan to go back to the US to invest in a dual-voltage hair straightener.
If you want to know if your current hair straightener is a dual-voltage one or which one I’ve been using for the past five years, check out this post.
Your laptop charger only needs an adapter to make the flat prong plug into a round prong plug. Get a handful of converters before you move so you don’t have to jump around to an electronic store in Amsterdam while unpacking and getting settled.
Saying this again ’cause it’s important: do not buy adapters that are bulky and square. They will not fit easily into Amsterdam outlets because a lot of outlets are round. Get grounded adapters that are round and ungrounded adapters that are rectangular. I have ungrounded, square adapters, and they constantly fall out of outlets.
Phone, Camera, etc. Chargers
Since many devices use a USB cord, you won’t even need an adapter to plug your devices. However, I do highly recommend getting a multiple-port USB plug so that you can plug multiple devices into one plug.
This has been a total game changer for me. I have my phone, Mike’s phone, camera, and portable charger plugged in at the same time. I also bring this with me on vacation, which is quite useful in the airport or hotel when there is only one outlet!
Hope this expat guide to buying appliances in Amsterdam (or not) was useful. You might also find this post on everything you need to know about buying a used bike in Amsterdam helpful too!
Thanks for stopping by! xo.
I’d love to know if you made it this far down into the post. It’d actually make me quite happy if you reached out on Instagram and said hello!