Don't expect to rely on U.S. dollars in Amsterdam: as a member of the eurozone, the Netherlands is one of 19 countries in the European Union that's adopted the euro as its official currency. The value of the euro has fluctuated considerably since it was first introduced in 2002 - from parity with the dollar in 2002, to $1.60 2008, and back to near-parity in 2015. But no matter the relative value of the euro to the dollar, it's wise to seek out the best conversion rate ahead of time.
Recommended Amsterdam Currency Exchange
ATM machines typically offer the most favorable rates for travelers who want to convert their dollars to euros. In this case, the card holder's bank sets the conversion rate; certain fees may or may not apply. Some U.S. banks don't levy conversion fees for international withdrawals, whereas others do (usually 3% or less); be sure to check with your bank beforehand. While the majority of Dutch banks do not levy ATM fees, some U.S. banks deduct several dollars for each transaction outside their network, and possibly extra for international withdrawals.
Some credit card companies also allow cardholders to withdraw cash advances from ATMs, but cash advance fees usually apply. ATMs, or geldautomaten in Dutch, are widely available across the Netherlands as well as at Schiphol Airport. (Note that not every ATM accepts international cards, so don't panic if your card is rejected - but do have a Plan B lined up just in case; see below for advice.)
Currency exchange services are another option, but their rates are usually less favorable than ATMs. The best currency exchange service in Amsterdam is not a widespread chain, but a business with just one conveniently located office: Pott Change, at Damrak 95. Just steps from Dam Square and minutes on foot from Amsterdam Central Station, Pott Change consistently offers the best exchange rates in town.
While GWK Travelex offices are situated at convenient points across the country, the company has a reputation for unfavorable rates - the worst of which are to be found at the company's several Schiphol Airport locations. Beside Schiphol, GWK Travelex has offices at Eindhoven Airport, Rotterdam Airport, and almost every major railway station in the country, and their services are widely used out of sheer accessibility.
Nevertheless, most visitors would do best to withdraw money directly from an ATM (provided that their banks levy only modest fees or none at all), or at least wait to convert their currency for a better rate at Pott Change.
More Money Tips for Amsterdam Visitors
How to Claim VAT Refunds in the Netherlands: VAT is a consumption tax on products that are set at a substantial 21% in the Netherlands - and non-EU residents don't necessarily have to pay it. Find out how to claim a VAT refund on your purchases in the Netherlands.
Amsterdam Tourist Discount Cards: This trio of tourist discount cards - the I Amsterdam City Card, Amsterdam Holland Pass, and Museumkaart - helps visitors save on (often pricey) attractions and activities in Amsterdam and the Netherlands.
Discount All-Day Train Passes for Intercity Travel: Find discounts on the country's extensive inter-city rail network at some of the country's major chain retailers - sometimes in conjunction with special bonuses such as free meals or admission fees.