What Is Best VPN for the Netherlands in 2018?
NordVPN is the best choice to protect and enhance your internet usage while you’re inside the Netherlands.
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
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:
Freedom House does not report an online freedom score for the Netherlands.
Top 5 Best VPNs for Use in the Netherlands
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Avg. DL Speed
Avg. DL Speed
The Best VPNs to Use in the Netherlands
#1 - NordVPN
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.