What Is Best VPN for the Netherlands in 2018?

netherlands flag

NordVPN is the best choice to protect and enhance your internet usage while you’re inside the Netherlands.

NordVPN Logo
  • Blazingly Fast Connections
  • Customer Support Gets an A+
  • Reasonably Priced
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    Total Privacy Protection

The provider boasts top-notch service in the privacy protection and customer support categories, doesn’t noticeably slow down your connection speeds and offers an excellent level of global server coverage.

Internet Freedom in the Netherlands

Internet penetration in the Netherlands as of 2016 sat at 93.7% of the total population. Average connection speeds in April 2018 in the Netherlands measured in at 15.6 Mbps.

The Netherlands currently receives a “free” status from Freedom House. The Dutch government has a strong record of protecting political and civil liberties. Dutch media is respected and protected, and are able to operate without much interference.

In recent years, the following internet-related developments have taken place in the Netherlands:

  • In December 2015, the government explored significantly expanding the surveillance capabilities and powers of security services.
  • In September 2017, Dutch ISPs were ordered by a Dutch court to once again block The Pirate Bay due to copyright infringement.

Freedom House does not report an online freedom score for the Netherlands.

Top 5 Best VPNs for Use in the Netherlands


Provider

Price

Link

1

NordVPN Logo

$6.99

per month

2

PrivateInternetAccess Logo

$3.33

per month

3

PureVPN Logo

$4.95

per month

4

IPVanish

$6.49

per month

5

ExpressVPN Logo

$8.32

per month

Why You Need a VPN in the Netherlands

Internet freedom in the Netherlands is high, and the government doesn’t engage in any widespread blocking or filtering of any websites or services. However, the government has grappled with proposals to filter certain types of pornography, as well as deal with issues related to copyright infringement.

In this section of the article, I’ll cover what types of content are allowed and what’s blocked in the country, as well as any possible civil or criminal issues users might face if they access blocked content. (TL;DR - Not many at all.)

1

Outlawed Content

Outside of filters that might be applied at the Internet Service Provider (ISP) level, filtering of websites and other types of online content are basically non-existent. The government doesn’t engage in any widespread blocking of content.

2

Voice Over IP

Voice over IP (VoIP) usage is perfectly legal in the Netherlands. Of course, the technology is subject to the same security and privacy issues that any internet service is threatened by.

3

Social Media

Social media is a popular pastime for internet users in the Netherlands, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn among the most popular social networks among users. Facebook is the most popular of the group, with over 6 million daily users.

Access to the popular services is wide open. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the most popular social networks in the country. 50% of the population is on Facebook.

4

Torrenting

For years, the downloading of copyrighted video and music content - without paying for them - was permitted by the Dutch government.

In return, a “privacy levy” was placed on the purchases of writable media, including hard drives, flash drives and other types of storage, which in turn was used to compensate the rights holders. (Note: this type of levy is completely unrelated to the levees used in the Netherlands to control flooding. Although both can be quite high.)

However, the levee had to break sometime. The system was struck down by the European Court of Justice, as it viewed the levy system a threat to the market by putting copyright holders at an unfair disadvantage. This has led the government to declare downloading of such materials as illegal.

Users caught downloading copyrighted materials do not face criminal charges, but instead may be faced with civil charges, resulting in a fine or forced restitution to rights holders.

5

Government Surveillance

In the past, Dutch government surveillance of its citizens’ internet activity has been relatively non-existent. However, in early 2017, the government passed the Wet op de inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdiensten (The Internet and Security Services Act).

The act granted the Dutch government sweeping surveillance powers, allowing them to:

  • Tap online activity in an entire neighborhood if a single suspect lived in the area.
  • Hack connected devices and share the collected data with foreign intelligence services.
  • Add citizens to a secret DNA database.

The law was due to come into effect in May 2018. However, a public advisory referendum against the new law resulted in some changes by the government, mostly in how the data collected will be shared and stored.

Internet Service Providers in the Netherlands had been required to store information about their users’ online antics for 6 months to 1 year. However, the requirement was struck down in October 2014 by the European Court of Justice and is currently in limbo.

6

Streaming Sites

YouTube, Vimeo and other popular video streaming services are accessible in the Netherlands.

Netflix is available in the Netherlands. However, it only offers content that is licensed for viewing inside Dutch borders, which can greatly differ from Netflix content in other countries.

Hulu is restricted to viewing by subscribers inside the U.S. and Japan, while BBC iPlayer content is restricted to United Kingdom residents.

7

Legality of VPNs

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are legal in the Netherlands. The usual warnings about using a VPN in the commission of a crime apply.

8

Other

While Dutch citizens are allowed to gamble in online casinos, the sites are required to be based in the Netherlands. However, at last count there were over 450 casinos accepting wagers from Dutch players.

At the time of this article, there is currently a push in the Netherlands to make online gambling completely legal and to allow outside firms to legally open their tables to Dutch wagers.

How a VPN Protects Your Internet Usage in the Netherlands

Dutch internet users who are looking for the optimal way to protect their online travels are highly recommended to investigate the benefits of a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

A VPN coats a user’s internet connection in a layer of encryption, keeping it safe from prying eyes, much like a tunnel covers the traffic inside.

A VPN also has the ability to open up access to content and services that might normally be blocked to a user inside Dutch borders. It accomplishes this by routing a user’s internet connection so that it appears that the user is situated in another location.

How to Choose the Best VPN for the Netherlands

When making a decision about which VPN is the best one for your needs while inside the Netherlands, you’ll want to consider a number of factors.

In the Netherlands, privacy and connection speed are perhaps the most important. However, other factors should also be considered.

In this area, I’ll discuss the most important categories, explain why they deserve consideration and share how well each provider performs in each category.

1

Privacy

When considering a Virtual Private Network, privacy is perhaps the most important consideration for a VPN subscription, no matter where you’re going to use it.

Since the Netherlands seems to be in a period of transition from a completely free online society to one that will possibly include much more surveillance in the near future, privacy is of utmost importance in the country.

Always look for a VPN that is based in a country where online privacy is held in high regard, keeps no logs of any kind and provides payment protection by accepting Bitcoin or other privacy-enhancing types of payment.

2

Connection Speed

The speed of your internet connection has a direct impact on your overall satisfaction level with your online experience, especially when you’re streaming music and video, gaming or conducting other high-bandwidth activities.

I tested the average VPN connection speeds shown below by doing the following:

  • I first test the connection speed delivered by my ISP.
  • I then connect to each VPN service and again test the connection speeds.
  • I repeat the process for each provider, on multiple days, at different times of the day.
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    I then calculate the average VPN speed percentage by comparing the ISP and VPN-delivered speeds.

All of my connection speed tests are performed using the Speedtest.net website.

The rankings below are listed according to the average connection speed, first to worst.


Privider

Avg. DL Speed
Before

Avg. DL Speed
After

Avg.
Speed
(US%)

Link

1

NordVPN Logo

108.63 Mbps

​100.87 Mbps

92.27%

2

PrivateInternetAccess Logo

108.63 Mbps

99.21 Mbps

90.77%

3

Vypr VPN

108.63 Mbps

96.41 Mbps

88.38%

4

IPVanish

108.63 Mbps

93.68Mbps

84.38%

5

ExpressVPN Logo

108.63 Mbps

86.84 Mbps

79.64%

6

HideMyAss VPN

108.63 Mbps

79.59 Mbps

73.73%

7

PureVPN Logo

108.63 Mbps

69.97 Mbps

63.72%

8

CyberGhost

108.63 Mbps

69 Mbps

62.66%

9

VPN Unlimited

108.63 Mbps

60.1 Mbps

55.29%

10

Tunnelbear VPN Logo

108.63 Mbps

27.27 Mbps

25.26%

The Best VPNs to Use in the Netherlands

#1 - NordVPN

NordVPN Site Features

PROS

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    Provides Excellent Privacy Protection
  • check
    Connection Speeds Are Top-Notch
  • check
    Great Customer Service

CONS

  • Global Server Coverage Is Just Average

1

Privacy

NordVPN's headquarters are located in Panama, where the government doesn’t require VPN providers to keep records of their customers’ online travels. NordVPN thinks that’s a good idea and therefore follows a strict “no logs” policy.

Bitcoin users can pay for their subscription using the privacy-friendly cryptocurrency.

2

Connection Speed

If you’re looking for the best bandwidth around, look no further. NordVPN provides average connection speeds measuring in at 92% as fast as my ISP-only connections.

3

Customer Support

NordVPN ranks highly in the customer support arena, supporting their customers via live support chat, a searchable support library and a trouble ticket system.

The provider’s support agents were always quick to reply with helpful bits of knowledge, and the support library made for a quick way to answer less-critical support questions.

4

Price

NordVPN asks $5.75 per month (payable at $69.00 annually) in return for their services, and let me tell you, the price of a good cup of coffee is a reasonable tariff when you consider what the provider gives their customers in return.

NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

5

Global Server Coverage

Global server coverage amounting to 3,348 servers in 60 countries isn’t the best coverage in the business, but NordVPN does a great job of strategically locating their servers, providing excellent content-unblocking power.

6

Multi-Platform Support

The provider has most devices covered, with apps for the Windows, iOS, Android and macOS platforms. In addition, they support DD-WRT-capable routers and provide setup instructions for Raspberry Pi, Linux, Windows Phone and other device platforms.

7

Verdict

It wasn’t difficult to decide on the top VPN provider for use in the Netherlands. NordVPN was way ahead of the 2nd-place provider. 

With top-speed connections, top-notch customer support, all-around privacy protection and above-average global server coverage, NordVPN is the best bet for Dutch VPN coverage. They don’t charge you an arm and a leg, either.


#2 - Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access Site

PROS

  • check
    Superb Privacy Protections
  • check
    Remarkable Connection Speeds - 91% as Fast as My ISP Speeds
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    Lowest Price on the List - $3.33 Per Month (Payable $39.95 Annually)

CONS

  • Global Server Coverage Worst on the List - 3,059 Servers in Just 28 Countries
  • No Live Support Chat

Verdict

Private Internet Access (PIA) makes for an attractive option for VPN users on a budget. Despite their rock-bottom price of $3.33 per month, this provider’s connection speeds challenged even the fastest on this list. 

While PIA also offers top-notch privacy protection, their global server coverage and customer support leave room for improvement.


#3 - PureVPN

PureVPN

PROS

  • check
    Comprehensive Privacy Protection
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    2nd-Cheapest Provider in the Top 5 at $4.95 Per Month (Payable Annually at $59.40)
  • check
    Total Customer Support
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    Best Global Server Coverage - Over 750 servers in 140 countries

CONS

  • Slowest Speeds on the List - 63% of My Usual ISP Speeds

Verdict

PureVPN locked up 3rd place in this competition with the best global server coverage on the list, comprehensive privacy protections and excellent customer support. Plus, their subscription price is quite reasonable. Faster connection speeds would have helped their cause.


#4 - IPVanish

IPVanish VPN

PROS

  • check
    Thorough Privacy Protections
  • check
    Speedy Connections - Over 88% of My ISP-Only Rates
  • check
    Better-Than-Average Global Server Coverage - 1,000 servers
  • check
    Located in 60 Countries

CONS

  • 2nd-Highest Price on This List - $6.49 Per Month (payable at $77.99 Annually)
  • No Live Chat Option

Verdict

IPVanish offers fast connections, above-average global server coverage and top-notch privacy protections. 

While their price is a bit higher than that of some competitors, and their customer support could be better, IPVanish should still be an attractive VPN option for some users.


#5 - ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Site Features

PROS

  • check
    Extensive Privacy Protections
  • check
    Zippy Connection Speeds - 80% as Fast as My ISP Speeds
  • check
    2nd-Best Global Server Coverage - 1,500+ Servers Stationed in 94 Countries

CONS

  • Most Expensive VPN in the Top 5 - $8.32 Per Month (Payable at $99.95 Annually)

Verdict

ExpressVPN made it into the top 5 thanks to its expansive global server coverage, comprehensive customer support and privacy protection, and “fast enough” connection speeds. 

A lower subscription price would have made ExpressVPN a more attractive option.


Optimizing Your VPN Connection in the Netherlands

Before you head onto the Information Superhighway, make a pit stop to ensure you get the best online experience.

Step #1 - Use an Ethernet Cable (Optional)

If you can connect to your local router by way of an Ethernet cable, you’ll usually see improved performance.

usb ethernet adapter

It’s true that most connected devices released in the last few years don’t have an Ethernet port as an item in their features list.

However, you can probably buy an Ethernet adapter that works with your device at your local electronics store or online at Amazon or another vendor.

Step #2 - Manually Select a VPN Server

Your VPN app’s “best connection” or similar feature does a great job of picking the best server for your needs if you’re simply looking to protect your online antics from prying eyes.

However, if you’re going to attempt to unblock video or other types of blocked content, you’ll want to take the time to select a VPN server location. Always select a VPN server located as near as possible to the content you’re longing for.

NordVPN Servers

Step #3 - Test Your Ping and Connection Speed

If you’d like to check your protected connection speeds to be sure things will run smoothly, make a quick visit to the Speedtest website.

There, you can check your ping time, download and upload speeds, and the location where it appears that you’re coming from.

VPN speed test server and ping

My Final Verdict

You’ll do well to select any of the top 5 providers in this article to protect and enhance your internet travels while inside Dutch borders. However, only one of these stands out from the rest.

NordVPN is my #1 choice for protecting you in the Netherlands due to its top-notch privacy protections, all-around customer support, blazing connections and more-than-adequate global server coverage. The provider’s reasonable pricing puts the icing on the cake.

Top 5 Best VPNs for Use in the Netherlands


Provider

Price

Link

1

NordVPN Logo

$6.99

per month

2

PrivateInternetAccess Logo

$3.33

per month

3

PureVPN Logo

$4.95

per month

4

IPVanish

$6.49

per month

5

ExpressVPN Logo

$8.32

per month