Can You Ask for Tap Water in Amsterdam?

Amid a thirsty spell or occasional heat waves in most European cities, you can order for tap water for free, however, in Amsterdam, this has often been debatable.

Can you ask for tap water in Amsterdam? Yes, you can ask for tap water in Amsterdam. In most cases, tap water is offered for free in restaurants within Amsterdam; nevertheless, there are a handful of restaurants that will insist on you purchasing bottled water instead.

If you are keen on ordering tap water exclusively, some restaurants have additional offers which may include tap water laced with lemon slices or mint depending on your preference. If bubbly water is in your list of most appealing refreshments, you can be offered carbonated water served on old-fashioned Holland soda glass bottles. All this will come at a small cost.

Asking for Tap Water in Amsterdam

You can request for tap water in most restaurants in Amsterdam. However, schools, office buildings, apartments, and government buildings will often have some restrictions on who exactly can access it.

Here are the most common questions and answers you may find helpful:

  • Is It Rude to Ask for Tap Water? No, it is not considered rude in Amsterdam. It is common practice for people to ask for tap water in many restaurants in Amsterdam.
  • Are there Specific Restaurants That Won’t Allow You to Ask for Tap Water? There are no restaurants that expressly forbid you from asking for tap water. However, some restaurants may insist that you order for water along with a meal or they may include a small charge instead.
  • Is It True That You Are More Likely to Get Tap Water in Cheaper Restaurants? Not at all, you can be given a glass of tap water in any restaurant of Amsterdam upon your request on condition that the policy of the restaurant dictates so. You can have tap water in an expensive restaurant with a favorable tap water policy, whereas you can be denied tap water in a cheaper restaurant with an unfavorable system and vice versa.
  • Where Are You More Likely to Get Tap Water; in Low-End Mom and Pop Shops or High-End Steak Restaurants? You have an equal chance of getting tap water in both low-end mom and pop shops or high-end steak restaurants.
  • How Much Does Bottled Water Cost? On average, the cost of bottled water ranges between 1.5 euros to 6 euros depending on the size and brand of the water.
  • Is Tap Water Sweeter Than Bottled Water? Yes, tap water in Amsterdam is much sweeter and tastier than bottled ones. This is mainly because Amsterdam’s tap water is not chemically disinfected by chlorine, which is responsible for the distinctive smell and taste of bottled water. There is even a new brand of bottled water derived from tap water currently in the market; Such is the proliferation in the appeal of tap water for the people of Amsterdam.


Are There Water Taps in the Streets of Amsterdam?

Yes, there are. Most taps are found in areas around parks and also places where people run, jog or exercise. You will most likely encounter one with the inscriptions “Drinkwater” on it. This water is free for the general public. It is also worth noting that water in Amsterdam city is rated as the cleanest and safest in the Netherlands as well as the more magnificent European continent.

This initiative is good for the environment as it is for the wallet, given the huge environmental pollution in the disposal of plastic water bottles. There has been an increase of water drinking fountains and taps to about 500 located within Amsterdam. All this from an ambitious project that begun a century ago in Amsterdam to avail clean and safe drinking water to the people living in the city. It is now a reliable source of clean water for the public.

The idea of increasing these water taps was informed as a solution to help fight obesity among school-going children who, it was hoped, would eventually prefer natural drinking water to soft drinks. Walking on the streets of Amsterdam, you will now find new taps fitted with a switch-like button that works to release a measure of water.

This improvement is meant to correct the deficiencies of the old fashioned taps which released a constant flow of water irrespective of whether a person was using it at the time or not. The new switch controls a valve that opens and closes depending on the volume of water that the user wishes to drink. This has significantly reduced the levels of water wasted per person.

How Do I Locate These Water Points?

Locating these water points easier said than done. Identifying these water taps might be akin to searching a needle in the proverbial haystack the moment the thirst sets in. However, this has been made simpler.

Here are the steps to locate some public water taps you can drink:

  1. Open your phone
  2. Type in your browser: “nl”
  3. This will open a map on your phone that will automatically point out the public water fountains located in Amsterdam
  4. Next you can identify the one that is nearest to you (You will have to allow location tracking to make it easier)

Their website page also comes packed with an excellent user feedback page where you can ask your most pressing questions. It is also kind enough to help you locate the “free swimming-spots” and “free pee-places” to cater to your needs while in Amsterdam.

Which Language Is Mostly Used for Communication in Amsterdam?

The common language for communication in Amsterdam is Dutch. However, nearly all Dutch people can speak the English language fluently. You will, therefore, have no problems going about the streets of Amsterdam with English as your only language of communication.

What Is the Source of the Tap water in Amsterdam?

A large proportion of the tap water that is available in Amsterdam is groundwater pumped from beneath the dunes located outside the city. The water is naturally cleaned using sand as a water filter. A small proportion is sourced from water bodies such as the Rhine and Meuse rivers.

The major water supplying company in Amsterdam is Waternet. The company has completely done away with the commonly known way of chemically disinfecting the water. Instead, they opted to adopt the use of natural gravitational infiltration carefully observing natural standards.

This is done by way of sinking water to a depth of sixty meters before pumping it back to the surface at speed for the final processes. By doing this, much of the water is thus rid free of disease-causing bacteria through natural means

There is also an alternative way comprising of a non-invasive method of filtration through sterilization by ultra-violet light. This method works to clear trace chemicals and other by-products but is also costly in comparison to chemical sterilization. As such these water companies have achieved zero levels of chlorine treatment with no recontamination levels in the water. Value and quality for cheaper!

What Are the Prices for Major Brands of Bottled Water in Amsterdam?

One popular brand of bottled water is called Sp Fruit Lemon-Cactus mineral water.

This will cost you around 2.50 dollars or 2.25 euros per liter of bottled water.

If you are cost-sensitive, consider purchasing bottled water from the regular supermarkets rather than from the more expensive small convenience stores.

Is There a Shortage of Tap Water Supply in Amsterdam?

There is no tap water shortage in Amsterdam. The water sources have continuously provided clean drinking water throughout the year. The water piping system covers a length of about 72,000 miles or 116,000 kilometers in the whole of the Netherlands.

However, in spite of the large scale of operation, they still maintain a high level of technical and operational efficiency with leakage losses a paltry 6% countrywide. The water companies have also managed to trim their workforce down to only 1 company employee to 1000 connections. Even in the face of scarcity in agricultural water in 2018, the position of drinking water has never been subjected to any real threat.

Is It Safe to Drink Bathroom Water in Amsterdam?

Yes, it is safe. The water supplied to the bathrooms in Amsterdam is the same water that the water supply companies pump from their respective sources. Some people consider it wrong or unacceptable to drink bathroom water while others are pretty comfortable with it. This is, therefore, an issue that goes down to your individual decisions and habits. Nevertheless, in the health corner, it is a go!

In conclusion, tap water remains an invaluable addition to body rehydration every once in a while. Knowledge of Drinkwater points and restaurants where you can get clean tap water is critical. You should also know the supermarkets or convenience stores where you can buy bottled water. These important aspects will significantly reduce the hustle and help smoothen out your activities as you go about your daily life in Amsterdam.


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