Do You Tip in Amsterdam?

By Kathryn Walsh

Tipping etiquette during your visit to the Netherlands largest city

Do You Tip in Amsterdam?

You'll no doubt feel grateful when a plate of delicious bitterballen (deep-fried meatballs) is delivered to your table – but should you tip the waiter who brings them? That's a common question for visitors to Amsterdam, because the Netherlands' largest city follows different tipping conventions than do U.S. cities. Gratuities are built into most hospitality services, so it won't be seen as rude if you don't tip at a restaurant or in a taxi. But although tipping is not necessarily expected in Amsterdam, it's customary to leave some extra cash as a thanks for great service.

How does tipping work in Amsterdam?

The Dutch government requires hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and sightseeing companies to include a service charge and taxes in their published prices, so the cost of any room you book or meal you order should already include a tip. Look on your bill for the phrase "inclusief BTW en service," which basically means “tax and service charge included."

In restaurants, the service charge is usually 15 percent, which makes a nice gratuity for wait staff and guarantees that your waiter won't give you the stink eye if you don't leave anything extra. However, it's common for people to leave a small tip anyway, assuming the waiter is friendly and attentive.

The same is true at hotels, in taxis and with other service workers. Tipping with a few euros is customary, but only when you get good service. Feel no qualms about skipping the tip if you're treated rudely or service is super slow.

Who should I tip?

Tip the same people you would tip when traveling around the United States or Canada: waiters, taxi drivers, bellhops, delivery people, tour guides, etc. However, it's customary to tip for wait service only in a restaurant or pub, not when you order at a bar or place that offers counter service.

How much should I leave?

Typically, no more than a few euros. In a restaurant or cafe, people who tip usually leave no more than 10 percent of the bill, and usually less (bringing the tip to a healthy 25 percent when you count in the 15 percent tip already included). Round up the bill by a few euros, or leave an extra one or two euros per person.

Some visitors to Amsterdam tip their taxi drivers habitually, but it's less common to tip drivers in this city than in the U.S. If you really want to thank the driver for getting you where you're going quickly, add on no more than 10 percent of the fare.

Give a bellhop about one euro per bag. You don't have to tip housekeeping staff, but may want to leave a few euros per day during a long hotel stay.

Use cash

Make every effort to give a tip directly to the person who serves you, or leave the cash on the table when you leave a restaurant. If you're paying with a credit card, pay only the exact total on the bill. Carry some cash and leave that as your tip.

About the Author

Cooking, travel and parenting are three of Kathryn Walsh's passions. She makes chicken nuggets during days nannying, whips up vegetarian feasts at night and road trips on weekends. Her work has appeared to The Syracuse Post-Standard and insider magazine. Walsh received a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.