For new expats in the Netherlands, a food shopping overview and insight about Dutch supermarkets…
Supermarkets and grocery stores (‘winkels’) in the Netherlands are laid out and operate much the same as those elsewhere in Europe and the west, with dedicated areas for produce, bread/bakery, meats, dairy products, frozen foods and dry goods. The selection is typically not as broad as that found in American supermarkets. This is especially true for city center grocery stores which will be smaller than those found in suburban areas and shopping centers.
General notes about grocery shopping in Holland…
– Shopping bags are not free. As of 2016 all retail stores in the Netherlands must charge customers for shopping bags, including supermarkets. Shoppers should bring their own bags with them or purchase them at the checkout counter (typical cost is €.10 per bag).
– Cash and PIN (bank cards) are accepted for payment; foreign credit cards usually are not.
– The €.01 coin is commonly not used anymore; the cost of an order ending in 8, 9, 1 or 2 will be rounded to 0 and orders with a cost ending in 3,4, 6 or 7 will be rounded to 5. For example, if your purchase comes to €23.28, and you are paying with cash, you are expected to pay €23.30. If your purchase comes to €10.02, you are expected to pay €10.00.
– Be aware that during busy times, additional checkout lanes may be opened. These usually only accept PIN card for payment (not cash).
– Deposits are charged on larger bottles. These can be returned to the store when they are empty. This is usually done at an automated machine where you place each bottle inside one by one. After the last one, push the finished button to receive a slip which you can bring to the checkout counter and exchange for cash or use as a credit toward your current purchase.
– Shopping baskets are usually stacked by the entrance.
– Shopping carts are usually chained together and require inserting a coin (usually a €.50 coin) or token to release the chain. When the cart is returned and the chain is re-inserted, the coin/token slot will pop open so you can remove it.
– Shoppers are expected to bag their own groceries.
– Several larger supermarket chains have an online ordering service; delivery is made to the home on the selected day/time period (usually a 2-4 hour window). More popular delivery times will have a higher cost. In general, delivery charges range from €4.50-9.
– Some supermarket chains offer the option to order online and pickup the order in store.
– Supermarket webshops are usually only in Dutch.