Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024


In this what not to wear in the Netherlands guide we will round up everything that should be left at home for your visit to this beautiful country alongside the best alternatives to include.

How do People Dress in The Netherlands

The first thing I want to say in this what not to wear in the Netherlands guide is that there is really very little you can wear in the Netherlands that will cause offence or will be a problem.

The Netherlands is a very liberal country and this is often reflected in their dress code. So why do you need a what not to wear guide in the NEtherlands? Well that is because there are thing that you could wear that would either be:

  • a safety hazard in a city like Amsterdam or Haarlem with its canals and cycling.
  • impractical or
  • Would make you stand out from how local Dutch people dress.

However that is not to say you definitely can’t. If you feel good and there won’t be a safety issue then do it.

What Not to Wear in the Netherlands

Stilettos and Thin Heels

We are ex-Amsterdammers and can say that stilettos and thin heels are a big no no.

Many Dutch cities are full of beautiful cobbled streets. Cobbled streets and thin heels are a disaster waiting to happen.

If you want to wear shoes with heels we recommend going for something with a thicker heel so they won’t get caught in cobbles. Thick but smaller heels are also a more practical choice for cycling so you will see many locals wearing things like low heeled thick ankle boots.


Formal wear

If I had to define Dutch style I would define it as three things

    • Practical
    • Casual
    • Stylish

Everything about the Dutch to me is practical. Their clothing choices are the same. So unless you are going to an event that specifically requests that you wear formal wear I would leave yours at home.

Instead opt for more smart casual looks.

Long Skirts

I love a Maxi Skirt but not in the Netherlands. Why? Cycling.

If you plan on cycling on your visit to the Netherlands then leave long skirts at home. Long skirts can get caught very easily in your bicycle chain and can cause accidents.

A knee length skirt is much more practical for visiting the Netherlands.

Short Skirts

Now it isn’t that short skirts aren’t worn by the Dutch but again if you plan to cycle (which I definitely recommend you do – no trip to the Netherlands is complete without a cycle ride in my opinion), a short skirt can be uncomfortable to ride in.

Instead if you want to wear something shorter because you are visiting the Netherlands in summer opt for shorts or a short playsuit instead.


The Netherlands is a rainy country. Add to that all the canals and activities on the canals there are plenty of opportunities for your suede to be ruined.

If you have alternatives I would definitely leave the suede at home.

Bright Colors

Again, it is not that you can’t wear bright colors but you will definitely stand out more as a tourist in bright colors. The Dutch tend to wear muted color schemes such as black, white and tan so bright colors do tend to stand out.

However the obvious exception is the Dutch and their love of Orange. If the football team is playing or you are visiting Amsterdam in April you will see a lot, A LOT of orange.

Kings Day is celebrated in the Netherlands in April where it is almost mandatory to wear orange.

Swimwear (sometimes)

Now I add sometimes to this. If your hotel has a swimming pool then by all means bring a swimming costume with you. But if not and you are visiting in Winter then you won’t need swimwear.


However it is worth saying that Dutch cities such as Amsterdam and the Hague are close to some amazing beaches. So if you visit in summer and plan to put a beach on your itinerary then do pack one.


Speaking from experience I can tell you that clogs are uncomfortable and definitely aren’t worn in Dutch cities.

In fact even though I lived in the Netherlands for several years I never saw anyone weating clogs. People may wear them in more rural areas while quickly nipping outside into the garden but they will not be seen in the cities. My advice is steer clear of clogs!

What not to pack for the Netherlands (Non Clothing)

Haarlem Street scene - what not to wear in the Netherlands
Haarlem Street scene – what not to wear in the Netherlands

A Flimsy Umbrella

It surprised me when we moved to the Netherlands how strong the wind is especially on the coast. And as a rainy place oyu will need an umbrella. Just be sure you don’t pack a flimsy one as it is likely to be destroyed.

Credit Cards

Now I always say travel with at least one credit card but if you are traveling around the NEtherlands be sure to pack a payment method other than just a credit card. We advise having some cash with you – Euros specifically, to pay for things in places that don’t accept cards.

May shops in the Netherlands including the big supermarkets such as Albert Heijn do not accept certain credit cards. I found this out to my embarrassment the first day we moved to Amsterdam trying to pay for a cart load of shopping.  Be sure you have some cash and also a debit card with you also.

Smoking Paraphernalia

While the Netherlands does have certain types of cafes we advise you to leave your smoking paraphernalia at home. This can get you in trouble in lots of places around the world so it is best never to travel with it.


Much to many travel bloggers chagrin drones are completely banned from flying in Amsterdam and other cities around both Holland and the rest of the netherlands.

It is a waste of time to pack a drone for the Netherlands in my opinion so be sure to leave this at home and just bring your regular cameras.

FAQs About what to wear in the Netherlands

Can I wear heels in the Netherlands?

In answer to can I wear heels in the Netherlands the answer is that you certainly can but there are a few provisos.

Many Dutch cities are cobbled so thin heels are a big no no and can be quite dangerous.

Also you want find locals wearing very high and thin heels because a most people cycle and you can’t cycle in high heels and secondly the Dutch `re naturally tall so don’t feel the need to wear very high heels.

Have you been to the NEtherlands? What would you add to the what not to wear in the Netherlands guide? What would you leave at home next time

Source: https://wearwhenwhatwhy.com/


By Lala