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Countries Information & Lifestyle
 Netherlands Netherlands

Country Information & Lifestyle

 There's No Place like the Netherlands

There's No Place like the Netherlands

The Netherlands is located in north-west Europe with land in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders with Belgium, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

About half the country's area is below sea level making the famous Dutch dykes a requisite for efficient land use. There aren't many countries with so much land below sea level, with so much water and wind; there are more than 4,400 km of navigable rivers, canals and lakes.

There aren't many countries with so many boats, bikes, bridges, windmills, cafes, cheese, flowers, dykes tall people, in fact there is simply no place like the Netherlands.

Some facts about Holland. There are 1048 windmills, with still around a thousand old-fashioned working windmills, and 108 water mills. Every person has a bike, there are as many as there are cars. The tallest lighthouse in Europe is located in Huisduinen. Its nickname is Tall Jaap, and the famous painters Vincent Van Gough and Rembrandt came from Holland.

The Dutch are famous for their dairy products and especially for their cheese. Famous cheese includes Edam, Gouda, spiced Leyden and Leerdammer. Soused herring is eaten raw or on a bun with onions and the best snack when sitting on a terrace with a drink is Bitterballen, small fried balls of beef ragout.

Dutch cuisine is renowned for its rich pastries, soups, stews and vegetables. In the winter Snert, pea soup with sausages, will warm you up or maybe the uniquely "Dutch Mustard Soup" or "Zaansemosterdsoep, followed by Stamppot: vegetables, potatoes and meat mashed together in one stew.

There are varieties with kale, sauerkraut, onions, carrots, sausages and bacon, and sometimes curry powder, raisins or slices of banana or pineapple is added to give the stamppot an exotic touch.

Try Hete Bliksem(literally Hot Lightning!), boiled potatoes and green apples, served with syrup or tossed with diced pork. 'Boerenkool met worst' is one of the oldest and most popular Dutch dishes, a dish for cold winter days, or pannenkoeken, another Dutch dinner dish, which comes in several varieties.

Pastries are rich with cream or custard filling and often served with coffee and nowhere in the world do they eat as much liquorice as in the Netherlands.

There's no place like the Netherlands. But don't take our word for it; come join the Dutch in their gezellig ways - you won't be disappointed.

The Netherlands has twelve provinces: Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Zeeland, Noord-Brabant, Utrecht, Flevoland, Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe, Overijssel, Gelderland and Limburg. A Dutch province fulfils responsibilities of regional importance and is the connection between the national government and the local municipalities.

From the most northern tip of North-Holland to the most southern stretch of beach in South-Holland there are excellent cycling and walking paths. The coast of Noord-Holland has no less than 100 km of sandy beaches. The dunes behind them are of outstanding natural beauty and great for a refreshing walk.

The province has numerous characteristic villages along the enormous freshwater lake Ijsselmeer. Besides water sports and fishing you can cycle along the coastline, which is one of the most stunning cycling routes of the Netherlands. You will pass picturesque trading towns that date back to 1602, the year the Dutch East India Shipping Company was formed.

The isolated island community of Marken was only joined to the mainland in 1957, when the dyke was built. Most people still wear traditional dress and many of the old houses have been built on raised parts of land to protect them against floods.

For a relaxing day soaking up typical Dutch scenery, visit Monnickendam. The neighboring Broek in Waterland is a charming 17th-century town surrounded by stunning landscapes.

The folklore of Volendam is as alive as ever! Some of the main attractions here are the town's displays of traditional costumes and the fresh fish, which can be eaten near the picturesque harbour. The town's unusual houses are built in any which way. Neighbouring Edam also has a rich nautical history, but of course is most famous for its Edam cheese, where you can visit the cheese market.

The Zuiderzeemuseum relives the history of Enkhuizen, which can be reached by water or by foot. Houses, shops and workplaces typical of the Zuiderzee town have been recreated. The Beemster is the first so-called polder in the Netherlands and added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Beautiful villages in this area are Graft and De Rijp.

The eastern part of the Netherlands holds many castles, mansions, squares and other imposing structures that date from a prosperous medieval period. The rural landscape make it one of the most attractive areas of the Netherlands and very popular among cyclists and walkers.

To get an impression of the history and culture of this area you should visit the ancient cities, castles and estates, or one of the many museums. Elburg is one of the oldest cities of the Netherlands and boasts at least 250 monuments. Surrounded by the nature you can find peace and quiet in Nijkerk. The old university town Wageningen has many historic buildings.

The biggest city in the area of National Park De Hoge Veluwe is Arnhem. The quarter Klarendel and the Artez Fashion Academy Arnhem gave this city the label of fashion city. Besides shopping there are numerous museums and zoos.

Between Den Helder in the Netherlands and Esbjerg in Denmark lies an area of natural importance that has no equal anywhere in the world. The Wadden Sea is a world in itself, a world with two faces, ruled in turn by ebb and flood, by sand and water.

Like pearls on a necklace, about fifty islands and islets protect the shallow Wadden Sea. The necklace begins with the five Dutch Wadden islands, pearls that each has their own atmosphere and their own character.

The Wadden Sea is teeming with life. Twice a day, the current of the flood tide brings water from the North Sea. The five Wadden islands are teeming with life. There is wildlife aplenty, but they are also alive with culture, sport and pleasant terraces.

On all the islands, you will find quiet and open spaces, beaches and dunes, marvellous flora and fauna, open skies and views extending for miles across the North Sea and the Wadden Sea.

But in addition, Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog each have their own sights and specialities. Island hop and experience how life is different on each of the islands. Texel is the largest and you will find eighteen miles of sandy beaches here.

The island has an extensive network of walking and cycling paths, museums, bars with terraces, bird areas, festivals and many sporty activities. On the other islands the beaches are splendid and the family activities are plentiful.

Who hasn't heard of Amsterdam, the capital of culture, coffee shops, canals, bridges and bicycles? Its mesmerising beauty is hard to overestimate. The old joke says that if you were to walk into a crowded square in Amsterdam and yell, "Hey, that's my bike!" about three people would jump off their bikes and run away. The Dutch are famous for cycling. With an estimated more than 17 million bicycles in Holland, the country has more bikes than people.

Discover the Venice of the North. A visit to Amsterdam isn't complete without enjoying the canals. They are a symbol of Amsterdam and of great cultural and historical value. In 2010 the World Heritage Committee decided to submit the 17th century canal ring area in Amsterdam to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The canals of Amsterdam, the former island of Schokland, the fortifications around Amsterdam and the windmills of Kinderdijk-Elshout, the Beemster Polder, the Wadden Islands, D.F. Wouda Steam Pumping Station and the Rietveld-Schroderhuis are all on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

Amsterdam has beer cafes, brown cafes, coffee shops, grand cafes, tasting houses. whatever you fancy, Amsterdam's got the cafe to suit. Try one of the delicious pastries with your coffee, you will be sure to come back for more!

Admire the vivid swirls of a tortured genius at the Vincent van Gogh museum, see Anne Frank's original diary along with some of her other notebooks in her house which is a permanent exhibition, visit one of the many parks and green spaces, the Museumplein is a good spot for a picnic or after a visit to the Rijksmuseum and in winter is great for skating or wander the Jordaan's charming lanes or the lush Vondelpark, now as magical as centuries ago.

Amsterdam is a delight to visit any time of the year. Though every canal is beautiful and unique in itself the Golden Bend has the most beautiful and magnificent stretch of canal houses, and the bridge on the corner of Reguliersgracht and Herengraht has a unique view over fifteen bridges. The most picturesque bridge, the Magere Brug, is romantically illuminated at night.

Just a short drive to the north of Amsterdam brings you to the some of the most authentic places of Holland. Here you can visit the first industrial site in the world, Zaanse Schans, but also feel the authentic vibe of many remarkable villages along the IJsselmeer.

Here at the Zaanse Schans you can leave the 21st century behind. The traditional 17th and 18th century wooden houses are mostly all painted green and white, the streets are tree-lined and cobbled; windmills flank the river and picturesque hump-backed bridges cross tiny drainage canals. The atmosphere is one of peace and tranquillity. It is more than just an open air museum however; it is a real community; a living and working village.

The Zaanse Schans boasts many activities and cultural highlights, such as the pewter foundry set in a charming 18th century tea house, clock museum, grocer's shop, wealthy merchant's house with an overview of traditional costumes, cheese farm, wooden shoe shop and some windmills. All together the Zaanse Schans represents an authentic piece of Holland.

The province of Zuid-Holland is a cultural paradise. Rotterdam, home to one of the largest ports in the world, has an abundance of monuments, palaces, stately mansions and numerous squares giving the city an unprecedented sense of history. The Hague, the political heart of the Netherlands, and the home of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, is a modern world city.

The historical city of Delft is famous for its blue earthenware seen at the Royal Delft factory; you can visit the cheese market of Gouda, the miniature park at Madurodam, the world famous mills of Kinderdijk and the world famous Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, an unforgettable experience.

The province of Zeeland is in fact one big river delta of the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt. Zeeland is well known for its fantastic beaches, water sport activities and Delta Works. The beautiful cities of Middlelburg, Vlisingen and Zierikzee are home to a few hundred unique monuments.

With 650 kilometers of coastline Zeeland is a beach lover's paradise with many popular beach resorts. The flood barrier near Hoek van Holland is the only one of its kind in the world.

De Grevelingen estuary is a salt-water lake and the largest estuary in Europe. The three-mile long Zeeland Bridge takes you to the other side of the to the other side of the Oosterschelde.

Wander through the old city centre of Zeeland's historical towns and villages and you might come across a lady in regional costume. Ask any Dutchman what is typically Zeeuws and he would probably say boterbabbelaars. This world-famous type of butterscotch and the tasty bolussen(sticky sweet cakes) are typical Zeeland sweets.

The province of Noord-Brabant is located in the south of the Netherlands. It has a reputation for being a province with friendly people who know how to enjoy the Burgundian way of life. More than that, it has a wealth of history and culture, theme parks, nature, shopping and nightlife.

Explore the maze of medieval alleys in Den Bosch by foot and marvel at picturesque bridges and perfectly preserved historic buildings on a canal tour. Breda has great historical monuments, including cathedrals, city walls and beguinages.

The night life is the towns is rich and varied with numerous bars and restaurants and the longest nightlife street of the Benelux in Eindhoven. To escape the crowds flee to the Loonse and Drunense Dunes (the Brabant Sahara).

The countryside of the province of Utrecht offer marvelous castles and palaces, such as Slot Zeist and the Soestdijk Palace. The flourishing landscape of Utrecht includes the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, a chain of hills with pines, the river Vecht and the lakes Vinkeveense Plassen, with its 12 islands, and Loosdrechtse Plassen. The latter offers splendid water sport facilities and activities.

Utrecht may be the smallest province of the Netherlands, but as you can tell it has much to offer. Besides the lively capital Utrecht there are some beautiful neighbouring villages, all within easy reach by car or by public transport. Zeist, for instance, is popular for its chic boutiques and haute couture.

Between Utrecht and Amsterdam lies one of the natural treasures of the Netherlands. The beautiful nature of the Vechtstreek has attracted people for centuries. You can sail or cycle along the river Vecht, which stretches from the province of Utrecht to Noord-Holland.

The Vechtstreek boasts castles, stately mansions, parks and tea houses. One of the country's most famous medieval castles is the Rijksmuseum Muiderslot in Muiden. This stronghold on the estuary of the Vecht was built around 1280 and is open to visitors. One of the hidden gems is the 19th century English style garden of the Zuylen Castle, which was built around 1520 on medieval remains.

Another great feature of this area is the many fruit orchards in the Vechtstreek. For just a small price you can buy the most delicious apples, pears, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, red berries and plums.

The province of Flevoland has some extraordinary nature reserves and many recreational activities. Shopping addicts should visit Bataviastad, the largest fashion outlet in the Netherlands.

Friesland is a province that distinguishes itself by its own typical culture. The Frisian language is one of the main characteristics of this culture. The famous black and white cows and the well known Friesian horse originated from here.

The landscape is unique and it is mainly an agriculture province. It has the largest chain of connected inland lakes in Europe and is perfect for water sport enthusiasts. The province is also famous for its ice skaters, with mass participation in cross-country skating when weather conditions permit. The forests, beaches and pasture lands, however, make Friesland a perfect place for cycling and walking as well.

If the Frisian Islands, in the Wadden Sea, were given personalities, Ameland would be the one sitting on the fence. Its four peaceful villages, Buren, Nes, Ballum and Hollum, are less developed than those on Terschelling and Texel, but they provide enough social structure for the majority of tourists.

Its large swaths of untouched natural splendour offer places to escape the crowds, but Mother Nature doesn't rule the roost as on Schiermonnikoog or Vlieland. The Frisian nature is likely to steal your heart and take your breath away.

Groningen is the north easternmost province of the Netherlands. Green, natural surroundings, the bustling University City of Groningen, ideal for shopping, culture and an exciting nightlife. Here you can enjoy a large variety of museums, monuments and especially shops.

To say that the nightlife of this University City is lively would be an understatement. Fortress Bourtange gives you an impression of the historical importance of Groningen.

Groningen has a magnificent and varied countryside, ideal for cycling and walking. The most famous Dutch walking track, Het Pieterpad, starts in Pieterburen. This town is also known for its Seal Rehabilitation and Research Centre Lenie't Hart. The nature areas of the most northeastern province of the Netherlands are well worth a visit.

To the north of Groningen lie the Wadden islands Rottumeroog and Rottumerplaat. Though these are two uninhabited and protected islands you can find information about the possibility of visiting the unique flora and fauna at the tourist information office.

Drenthe, one of the greenest provinces, has always been a sparsely populated rural area. The natural landscape is best explored by bike, since Drenthe has 1,400 kilometres of cycling paths. Time seems to stand still as you cycle along the numerous trails through the vast areas of natural beauty with heath, sand dunes, marshes, forests and swamps.

The province of Drenthe is inextricably linked with "Hunebedden". Drenthe has no less than 54 of these 5000 year old passage graves. The Borger Hunebed Centre explains to you how these tombs were made with stones weighing up to 40 tons each. Other highlights of the province are the zoo Dierenpark Emmen and former concentration camp Westerbork.

No matter what time of the year you visit Overijssel it is always beautiful. The river Ijssel has played an important role for centuries. Giethoom, the Venice of the North, is a must. Experience the glorious past of Hanseatic towns such as Deventer and Zwolle and if you are visiting in the fall Overijssel is renowned for its incredible game dishes.

Gelderland is the largest province in the Netherlands. The province owes it wealthy Hanseatic past to the river. If you're looking for culture and attractions head to the cities of Arnhem and Nijmegen, where there are numerous highlights to make your visit worth while.

Visit the National Park De Hoge Veluwe and the Achterhoek region, in the east. Here you will find quiet roads, a varied landscape and dozens of country houses scattered in the landscape of the former nobility of Gelderland. If you are in Achterhoek in the fall sample the culinary delights of the game dishes.

The southernmost province Limburg has its own distinctive character. Unlike the rest of the Netherlands Limburg has hilly countryside and the mostly Catholic population talk their own dialect Limburgs. Due to its charm it is almost impossible not to fall in love with this green and Burgundian province. Time seems to go a bit slower here as the people know how to live the Burgundian way of life.

Between the hills of Limburg and the green forests and heath-lands of Noord-Brabant you can visit beautiful cities, like Maastricht and Den Bosch. There's a wide range of culinary highlights and the medieval towns boast churches and museums.

In and around Maastricht you can visit mines, casemates, basilicas, museums, Mount St. Pieter and numerous shops and restaurants. The province is famous for its many brands of beer.

The south of the province is remarkable when compared to the rest of the country, as it is one of the few regions that has hills. The highest point in the Netherlands, the Vaalserberg, is situated in Limburg. This is also an important geographical point as it is the tri-point between Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

Zuiderdee is the youngest of Holland's provinces, created on January 1, 1986. The decision to transform the Zuiderzee into a lake and reclaim land for food production was taken after a flood in 1916.

The project took half a century to complete and gave densely populated Holland enough space for large scale agriculture and modern towns and villages, such as Lelystad, Almere, Dronten, and Zeewolde.

As we've already said, there's no place like Holland. But don't take our word for it; come join the Dutch in their gezellig ways - you won't be disappointed.

The Dutch saying "Act normally, that's crazy enough" fits the Dutch like a glove?

Purchasing a Property

Property may be freehold (vrij leen) or leasehold (erfpacht). Many city apartments are leasehold. The terms of the ground rent may put limitations on the amount that can be raised as a mortgage to purchase such properties.

Having seen a potential property advertised the next step is to view it. It is very likely that the prospective buyer will have to make an appointment with the agent to view the house. Be very clear that you are not engaging their services to find a home (unless this is what you want) but simply enquiring about a specific property or properties.

It is common to work with an estate agent (makelaar) and to let them do all the legwork. This has advantages such as saving time and getting to see properties before they are officially on the market. But it does mean paying a fee equivalent to one or two percent of the eventual purchase price (plus BTW, Dutch Value Added Tax).

If looking for property without an agent, be vigilant with apartments. Some are under the control of a housing authority with its own regulations. They must give permission before the property can be occupied even if you own it!

Many properties are advertised with the words kosten te koper attached to the price. This means that the buyer pays the costs.

New build properties may be advertised vrij op naam which means that the price includes costs.

Once the buyer has found a property that suits them, the first step is to make an offer. Since a change in the law in September 2003, a verbal offer is no longer binding. Under Dutch law anyone who later withdraws an offer because of an inability to organise funds could be liable to a penalty of ten percent of the offer price. Therefore any offer, verbal or otherwise, should be made with the proviso "subject to raising the finance".

A written offer in the form of a Pre Sale Agreement or Contract of Sale(koopovereenkomst) is a purchase agreement drawn up by a lawyer and must be signed by both parties. Buyer and vendor will normally use the same lawyer (notary's) which saves on cost and paperwork. A three-day cooling-off period is allowed for withdrawal without penalty. Once this three-day period has passed, the lawyer will be passed the contract of sale and will then set a date for completion.

If completion is likely to take more than two months the buyer may be asked to pay a ten percent deposit at the time that the purchase agreement is signed.

The purchaser (or their representative) is expected to consult development plans and possible other public restrictions.

A Transfer Contract (akte van levering) is signed by both parties on completion. The lawyer registers the details with the relevant authorities.

On the day of completion the estate agent can (if required) supervise a final inspection of the property by the buyer which may include taking meter readings. The agent normally accompanies the vendor to the lawyer's office for the signing of the transfer deed. As soon as this deed is signed the ownership of the property transfers to the buyer. The lawyer registers the change of ownership with the Land Registry.

Estate Agents (makelaars) are generally involved in both the sale and purchase and can be engaged by a purchaser or a vendor for a fee. They have a trade association The Dutch Association of Estate Agents (Nederlandse Vereniging voor Makelaars NVM).

Fees & Taxes

There are a number of costs involved in the property purchase process:

Valuation (taxierapport): Around 0.2% of the purchase price (plus BTW (Value-Added Tax)). The rate is negotiable and the cost may be tax deductible depending on circumstances.

Pre-sale Agreement (koopovereenkomst): Around 0.3% (plus BTW) of the purchase price. Not normally negotiable.

Transfer (akte van levering): Around 0.3% (plus BTW) of the purchase price. Not normally negotiable.

Mortgage (hypotheekakte): 0.15% (plus BTW) of the purchase price. Tax deductible in some circumstances.

Mortgage arranging cost (afsluitprovisie): 1% of the mortgage amount. Tax deductible in some circumstances.

Transfer Tax (overdrachtsbelasting): 6% of the purchase price. Not negotiable.

Estate Agent's Fees (makelaarscourtage): 2% of the purchase price (plus BTW). Definitely negotiable, but only payable if you have asked the agent to find a property for you.

Each year local authorities will also levy Property Tax based on the market value or square footage of the property. The tax has two parts: the occupant's part and the owner's part. Owner-occupiers pay both parts.

If a property is not sold when leaving the Netherlands (for example it is rented out), tax deductions normally disappear.

Be aware that the cost of buying property is about eight percent of the purchase price.


A valid passport is usually all you need to enter Holland. Check with the Dutch Embassy or Consulate in your own country whether you need a visa. Candidates wishing to obtain a Netherlands Working Holiday Visa should also contact the Royal Netherlands Embassy.

When flying from a country which is not a Schengen country, your passport will be checked at the arrival airport in Holland. In the Netherlands, the rules and regulations for visitors from abroad are contained in the Aliens Law.

Whether a prospective visitor requires a visa depends on his nationality and how long he intends to stay in the Netherlands. Nationals of many countries require a visa for an uninterrupted stay of up to three months.

Countries whose nationals need a visa for a stay of under three months:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Botswana, Burma (see Myanmar), Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, China (People's Republic), Colombia, Comoros, Congo (Democratic Republic), Congo (Brazzaville), Cote deIvoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), Fiji Islands, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgystan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldavia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Marianas (Islands), North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Palestinian Authority, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Salomon Islands, Sao Tomo and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Taiwan*, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, West Samoa, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

* The Kingdom of the Netherlands does not recognise Taiwan as a sovereign state and recognises Taiwanese passports as travel documents only.

Countries whose nationals do not require a visa for a stay of three months or less:
Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany (Federal Republic), Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, (FYR) Macedonia *, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro *, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia **, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela.

* The visa exemption applies only to holders of biometric passports.

** Except for holders of a Serbian passport issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (Koordinaciona
Nationals of certain countries also require an airport transit visa to change aircraft at a Dutch airport, even though they do not actually enter Dutch territory.
Countries whose nationals need an airport transit visa:
Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Colombia, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana**, Guinea *, Guinea Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Nepal, Nigeria**, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria.

* Nationals of Guinea do not need an airport transit visa for Belgium provided they are in possession of a valid visa for one of the EER-countries, Andorra, Canada, Japan, Monaco, San Marino, United States of America or Switzerland.
** As from 1 May 2008 nationals of Ghana and Nigeria do not need an airport transit visa for Benelux, Germany, Italy and Spain provided they are in possession of a valid visa for for the United States or Canada.

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