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[Nettime-nl] consular information
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[Nettime-nl] consular information

The Netherlands - Consular Information Sheet
September 24, 2001 

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Netherlands is a highly-developed, stable

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. A visa is not required for
U.S. citizens for visits up to 90 days. For further information on entry
requirements for the Netherlands, travelers may contact the Embassy of
the Netherlands at 4200 Linnean Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008,
telephone (202) 244-5300, or the Dutch consulate in Chicago, Houston,
Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco. Additional information is
available at http://www.netherlands-embassy.org and the Netherlands
Bureau for Tourism in New York at http://www.goholland.com.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the
child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having
such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Prior police approval is required for public
demonstrations in the Netherlands, and police oversight is routinely
provided to ensure adequate security for participants and passers-by.
Nonetheless, situations may develop which could pose a threat to public
safety. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid areas in which public
demonstrations are taking place.

CRIME: While the rate of violent crime in the Netherlands is low,
tourists are occasionally targeted, usually in conjunction with robbery
attempts. Visitors to larger cities frequently fall prey to pickpockets,
bag snatchers, and other petty thieves. While thieves may operate
anywhere, the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam receives frequent
reports of thefts from several specific areas:

The train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Central Station is
particularly plagued by thieves, who often work in pairs. In those
instances, one thief distracts the victim, often by asking for
directions, while an accomplice moves in on the victim's momentarily
unguarded handbag, backpack, or briefcase. The thieves typically time
their thefts to coincide with train stops so they may quickly exit.

Within Amsterdam, thieves are very active in and around the Central
Train Station, the WTC/Zuid Train/Tram Station, the red light district,
in restaurants, hotels, and on public transportation, especially trams
1, 2, and 5 between the Central Station and the Museum District.

Throughout the Netherlands, thefts of bicycles and of personal
belongings (such as briefcases and computer bags) from automobiles are
very common.

The loss or theft of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to
local police and the nearest
U.S. embassy or consulate. If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen while
you are in the Netherlands, please contact the U.S. Consulate General in
Amsterdam for information about passport replacement. U.S. citizens may
refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for
ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available
by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing
Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at
http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs
home page at http://travel.state.gov.

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND INSURANCE: Good medical facilities are widely
available. The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult
with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to
confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover
emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance
plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States
unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and
Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside
the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies
offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred
overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should
consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash
prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United
States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who
require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties, whereas
travelers who have purchased overseas medical insurance have found it to
be life-saving when a medical emergency occurs. When consulting with
your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will
be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed
later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include
coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the
event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of
Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling
Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or
autofax: (202) 647-3000.

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Travelers should be aware that increasing
numbers of illegal drug users, particularly young people, experience
unanticipated serious health emergencies, including permanent brain
damage and even death, resulting from use of
Methylenedioxinmethylamphetamine (MDA), commonly known as Ecstasy or
XTC, and other illegal narcotics. Information on vaccinations and other
health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP
(1-877-394-8747, fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's
Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S.
citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from
those in the United States. The information below concerning the
Netherlands is provided for general reference only, and may not be
totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Excellent
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Excellent
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Excellent

Travel in, around, and between cities is possible through a highly
advanced national train, light rail, and tram network, by use of an
extensive system of bike paths, and by automobile and motorcycle using
the highway system. Rail is often a convenient alternative to driving,
particularly in the areas around Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam,
where road congestion is frequent. Rail network information is available
at http://www.ns.nl.

Inter-city travel by road is relatively safe, in comparison with some
other European countries. Roughly 12,000 people are hospitalized
annually in traffic accidents in the Netherlands, approximately ten
percent fatally. More than two-thirds of the fatal accidents occur
outside of urban areas.

Seat belt and child seat use is compulsory. Driving is on the right side
of the road. The maximum speed limit on highways is 120 km/h, with a
highway speed limit of 100 km/h posted in most urban areas. Secondary
roads have a speed limit of 80 km/h. The speed limit in towns and cities
is 50 km/h, with 30 km/h posted in residential areas. Drivers must yield
the right-of-way to drivers from the right at intersections or traffic
circles, unless otherwise posted. The maximum allowable blood alcohol
level in the Netherlands is 0.5. Use of cellular telephones while
driving is discouraged.

Lanes at the center of many urban two-way streets are reserved for
buses, trams, and taxis. In cities, pedestrians should be very mindful
of trams, which often cross or share bicycle and pedestrian paths.
Motorists must be especially mindful of the priority rights of
bicyclists. Pedestrians should also pay particular attention not to walk
along bicycle paths, which are often on the sidewalk and usually
designated by red pavement.

Taxi service in the Netherlands is safe, but it is expensive. Trams and
buses are both convenient and economical, but they are often frequented
by pickpockets.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to
foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of
Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
For specific information concerning the Netherlands, please contact the
Netherlands Bureau for Tourism in New York via the Internet at
http://www.goholland.com. More information is available from the
Netherlands Ministry of Transportation, Public Works, and Water
Management (Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstraat) at http://www.minvenw.nl.

EMERGENCY NUMBERS: The national emergency number (equivalent to 9-1-1)
is 1-1-2. The primary local roadside emergency service is the ANWB, web
site: http://www.anwb.nl.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of the Netherlands' Civil Aviation
Authority as Category One -- in compliance with international aviation
safety standards for the oversight of the Netherlands' air carrier

For further information, travelers may contact the Department of
Transportation in the United States at telephone 1 (800) 322-7873, or
visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The
U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air
carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For
information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may
contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Customs authorities may enforce strict regulations
concerning temporary import into the Netherlands of items such as
firearms. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of the Netherlands in
Washington, D.C. or one of the Dutch consulates in Chicago, Houston, Los
Angeles, or New York for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Dutch customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission
Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of
professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions
and fair purposes. ATA Carnet headquarters, located at the U.S. Council
for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY
10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For
additional information, please call (212) 354-4480, or send an e-mail to
atacarnet {AT} uscib.org, or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is
subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ
significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the
protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for
breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for
similar offenses. Persons violating Dutch laws, even unknowingly, may be
expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Drug possession and trafficking are
illegal in the Netherlands.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children
and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet
site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone
(202) 736-7000.

visiting the Netherlands are encouraged to register at the Consulate
General in Amsterdam and obtain updated information on travel and
security in the Netherlands. The U.S. Embassy is located in The Hague,
at Lange Voorhout 102; telephone (31)(20) 310-9209. However, all
requests for consular assistance should be directed to the Consulate
General in Amsterdam at Museumplein 19, telephone (31)(20) 664-5661,
(31)(20) 679-0321, or (31)(20) 575-5309. The after-hours emergency
telephone number is (31)(70) 310-9499. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate
General web site at http://www.usemb.nl answers many questions of
interest to Americans visiting or residing in the Netherlands.

* * *

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated March 14, 2001, to
add the section on Safety and Security.

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