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Visitors information

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Language

Just about everyone speaks English in Amsterdam. Many people speak German and French too but not as well. A common misconception is that Dutch is similar to German. In truth they are not: Dutch people have to learn German at school, and they generally speak better English than German. The German and Dutch languages are similar in the way that French and Italian are.

   
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Weather

Typically, Dutch weather ranges from slight freezing in the dead of winter, usually with little snow, to pleasantly sunny days of 20 to 30ºC in the summer. Spring and autumn are pleasant, but can be very wet (100+ mm of rain per month).

   
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Time

Amsterdam time is one hour ahead of GMT; when daylight saving time is in operation the sun is at its highest point at around 1.40pm (which makes for long evenings: since Amsterdam is very far West in its time zone, a midsummer sky can be light as late as 11 o’clock in the evening). Amsterdam is a late city: many shops don’t open until 10am and bars and cafés stay open till 2am and some even longer.

   
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Electricity

The electricity voltage in the Netherlands was 220 volts, and then moved up at a rate of 1 volt per year to the European standard of 230 volts.

   
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Telephoning

When dialling from abroad, prefix any number you find in this site with +31 (for Holland) and the area code (Except the 0). For example, if you find a number (020) 123 45 67, from abroad you dial 0031 20 123 45 67. All public telephones in the Netherlands use phone cards. These are widely available at post-offices and tobacco shops.