June 5, 2023

Unbottled Truth: Can You Drink Tap Water in Amsterdam?

Introduction: Is Amsterdam Tap Water Safe To Drink?

Amsterdam, a city known for its intricate canal system and stunning art and architecture, holds an under-appreciated gem – its high-quality tap water. As we prepare to explore the depths of this often overlooked resource, we can begin by answering the primary question on your mind: Can you drink tap water in Amsterdam?

Background on Amsterdam’s Water Supply

Amsterdam canals and buildings

In short, yes, you absolutely can.

The story of Amsterdam’s tap water is as fascinating as the city itself. The tap water in Amsterdam is sourced primarily from the banks of the River Rhine, a watercourse renowned for its purity. This resource undergoes a rigorous process of filtration, purification, and quality control before it graces the taps of this bustling metropolis.

What’s more, the city boasts a water infrastructure that stands as one of the most modern and efficient in the world. Waternet, the public water company responsible for this feat, operates under stringent Dutch water quality standards, ensuring that each drop of water delivered is not only safe but of superior quality.

Purpose of the Blog: Can You Drink Tap Water in Amsterdam?

The purpose of this blog is to quench your curiosity – to dispel any myths and misconceptions you might have about drinking tap water in Amsterdam and answer the question ‘can you drink tap water in Amsterdam?’. In this journey, we aim to elucidate the quality, safety, and health implications of consuming Amsterdam’s tap water, comparing it with its bottled counterparts, and examining its environmental impact.

Whether you’re a resident, an environmentally conscious traveller, or simply someone intrigued by the nuances of urban water supply systems, this blog is for you. By the end, you’ll have gained a newfound appreciation for Amsterdam’s tap water and the intricate processes that make it a viable and sustainable drinking option.

Stay with us as we embark on this riveting exploration, unearthing the truth drop by drop.

Understanding the Tap Water Amsterdam System

As we navigate through the tap water Amsterdam system, it’s crucial to understand not just the destination (our taps), but the journey that the water takes – from its source to the intricate processes it undergoes to ensure its purity and safety.

Can you drink tap water in Amsterdam?
Can you drink tap water in Amsterdam?

Source of Amsterdam’s Tap Water

Amsterdam’s tap water begins its journey hundreds of miles away, primarily from the River Rhine. This might come as a surprise, but this river, one of the longest in Western Europe, plays a crucial role in quenching the thirst of Amsterdam’s inhabitants.

This remarkable river, once the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire, flows through Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands before reaching the North Sea. Along this journey, it collects and carries with it water from rain, melted snow, and numerous tributaries, making it a naturally replenishing source of freshwater.

Process of Water Purification

After the water is collected from the Rhine, it’s transported to the dunes along the Dutch coast. Here, the natural filtration process begins. The water is allowed to seep into these sandy dunes, and over a period of weeks to months, it trickles down through the sand, which acts as a natural filter, removing any impurities and microorganisms.

Dunes in the Netherlands
Dunes Netherlands

Post this natural filtration, the water is collected and subjected to further purification in water treatment plants. Here, it undergoes a series of processes including aeration, rapid and slow sand filtration, and disinfection to eliminate any residual impurities and ensure the water is safe for consumption.

Finally, the water is stored in clean reservoirs and distributed through an extensive network of pipes to reach the homes, businesses, and public facilities of Amsterdam. Each stage of this process is closely monitored by Waternet, the public water company of Amsterdam, ensuring the tap water adheres to the stringent Dutch water quality standards.

This intricate journey of Amsterdam’s tap water from the Rhine to your tap might seem complicated, but it’s this careful attention to detail that ensures the exceptional quality and safety of the water.

Quality of Tap Water Amsterdam

Having understood the source and purification process of Amsterdam’s tap water, let’s now turn our attention to its quality. To assess this, we will explore the regulatory standards in place and how the tap water fares in comparison to bottled water.

Can I Drink Tap Water in Amsterdam? Regulatory Standards and Compliance

A glass being filled with water of the tap whilst the water is splashing everywhere.
Can I drink tap water in Amsterdam?

The quality of tap water Amsterdam is governed by stringent Dutch and European Union (EU) water standards. These regulations stipulate the maximum permissible levels of various substances, including microbes, chemicals, and metals, to ensure the water is safe for consumption.

Waternet, Amsterdam’s public water company, adheres strictly to these standards. Regular testing is conducted to monitor the quality of the water at every stage, from the source to the tap. This high level of scrutiny ensures that Amsterdam’s tap water is not only safe but often exceeds the required standards, making it some of the best-quality tap water in the world.

Comparison to Bottled Water

When comparing Amsterdam’s tap water to bottled water, a few key factors come to light. First, tap water is subject to more rigorous and frequent testing than bottled water. Therefore, despite the common perception that bottled water is ‘purer’ or ‘safer,’ Amsterdam’s tap water is often of equal or even superior quality.

Second, tap water in Amsterdam is a much more environmentally friendly choice. While bottled water leaves behind plastic waste and has a high carbon footprint due to manufacturing and transportation, tap water produces no such waste and has a negligible carbon footprint.

Lastly, tap water is significantly more economical. The cost of bottled water can be hundreds of times more than tap water, making the latter a much more cost-effective choice for hydration.

Can you drink tap water in Amsterdam?
Bottled Water

To answer the question ‘can you drink tap water in Amsterdam?’: not only can you drink tap water in Amsterdam, but doing so also offers a range of benefits over opting for bottled water.

Can You Drink Tap Water in Amsterdam? Health Implications of Drinking Tap Water in Amsterdam

As we navigate the winding canals of information about Amsterdam’s tap water, it’s only natural to question the health implications of consuming it. This section will cover possible health concerns and the benefits associated with drinking tap water in Amsterdam.

Possible Health Concerns

Given the rigorous standards and frequent testing, the tap water in Amsterdam is generally safe for consumption and poses minimal health risks. That said, it’s important to note that like any water source, it isn’t entirely free from substances like minerals and trace elements.

However, these substances are carefully regulated and kept within safe limits according to Dutch and EU standards. These standards are designed with a wide safety margin to protect even the most vulnerable populations, such as children and pregnant women.

If you have specific health conditions or sensitivities, it’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional about your water consumption. But for the vast majority of people, Amsterdam’s tap water is completely safe to drink.

Health Benefits

Woman drinking from a glass of tap water Amsterdam
Can you drink tap water in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam’s tap water is not only safe to drink but also offers several health benefits. First and foremost, it provides essential hydration, vital for overall health and wellbeing.

Moreover, the water is rich in essential minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are beneficial for bone health, heart health, and various other bodily functions. Drinking tap water also supports oral health, as the Netherlands has a policy of fluoridation to help prevent tooth decay.

Finally, choosing tap water over sugary drinks like soda can help reduce your intake of added sugars, supporting weight management and reducing the risk of conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

In conclusion, drinking tap water in Amsterdam not only quenches your thirst but also contributes to your overall health and wellbeing.

Environmental Impact

When it comes to water consumption, the environmental impact is a key consideration. In this section, we will examine the environmental footprint of bottled water and the advantages of choosing tap water instead.

Can you drink tap water in Amsterdam?
Water Amsterdam

The Environmental Footprint of Bottled Water

Bottled water has a significant environmental footprint. To begin with, the production of plastic bottles requires large amounts of petroleum and energy. It’s estimated that for every litre of bottled water, three litres of water are used in the production process alone.

Furthermore, transportation of bottled water, often across international borders, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. And while recycling can help mitigate some of this impact, it’s estimated that a significant proportion of plastic bottles end up in landfills or the ocean, contributing to pollution and harming marine life.

The Environmental Advantages of Drinking Tap Water

In contrast, drinking tap water in Amsterdam offers several environmental advantages. Firstly, tap water requires significantly less energy to produce and distribute, resulting in lower carbon emissions.

Secondly, it eliminates the need for plastic bottles, reducing plastic waste and its associated environmental harm. Furthermore, as the water is sourced locally from the River Rhine, there’s minimal transportation involved, further reducing its carbon footprint.

Lastly, Amsterdam’s water system makes use of natural filtration methods, such as sand dune filtration, which are less energy-intensive and more sustainable than many of the processes used in bottled water production.

In summary, choosing to drink tap water in Amsterdam is not only a wise decision for your health and your wallet, but also a significant contribution towards environmental sustainability.

Practical Considerations for Tourists

Glass of water being poured on a wooden table
Can you drink tap water in Amsterdam?

Whether you’re visiting Amsterdam for its rich history, stunning canals, or vibrant nightlife, staying hydrated should always be a top priority. In this section, we’ll cover some practical considerations about accessing and drinking tap water in Amsterdam as a tourist.

Can You Drink Tap Water in Amsterdam Hotels and Can You Drink Bathroom Tap Water in Amsterdam?

Accessing tap water in Amsterdam is remarkably easy. The city’s tap water is safe to drink and can be freely consumed from any tap, whether in your in a recently renovated 5 star hotel room, on old rented apartment, or public facilities.

In addition to this, Amsterdam has several public water fountains spread across the city. These are part of an initiative by Waternet and the city council to promote the use of tap water. So, while you’re out exploring, you can refill your reusable water bottle at these fountains for free.

When dining out, you can ask for tap water at most cafes and restaurants. Some places may charge a small fee for serving tap water, particularly if you’re not ordering other items, but the cost is typically much lower than bottled water.

Cultural Norms Around Drinking Tap Water

Culturally, drinking tap water is widely accepted and normalised in Amsterdam. The locals are well aware of the high quality of their tap water and often choose it over bottled water for its superior freshness, cost-effectiveness, and environmental advantages.

However, it’s good to be aware that while it’s becoming more common, not all restaurants and cafes automatically serve tap water, and some might only do so upon request. Don’t hesitate to ask for tap water – it’s a normal part of dining out and a testament to Amsterdam’s sustainable living practices.

In conclusion, drinking tap water in Amsterdam as a tourist is not only practical and cost-effective but also aligns with the city’s environmentally conscious ethos.


Drinking tap water in Amsterdam is not just about quenching thirst – it’s a choice that reflects quality, health, and environmental sustainability. Throughout this blog, we’ve unveiled the journey of Amsterdam’s tap water, its rigorous purification processes, and the stringent standards that ensure its safety and quality.

So, can you drink tap water in Amsterdam? Absolutely. It’s not just safe, but also a healthier, more economical, and environmentally friendly choice. As you explore this magnificent city, remember that every refreshing sip of tap water represents Amsterdam’s commitment to excellence and sustainability.

Stay hydrated, and here’s to clean, sustainable water!

Your Guide to Amsterdam: We’re Here to Help!

We hope this deep dive into Amsterdam’s tap water has been insightful. If you have more practical questions about Amsterdam, whether it’s about local customs, popular attractions, or even the best activities, don’t hesitate to send us a message. We’re here to make your Amsterdam experience as enjoyable and enriching as possible. Your curiosity fuels our content, and we’d love to assist you in uncovering more about this captivating city!

Can’t get enough of the water and want to learn more about the city? Take an evening cruise on the Amsterdam canals or a party boat!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drink water from Amsterdam?

Yes, tap water in the Netherlands is of high quality and is safe to drink.

Do restaurants serve tap water in Amsterdam?

Yes, most restaurants in Amsterdam will serve tap water upon request, though it’s more customary to order bottled water.

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