Understanding Amsterdam Restaurant Tipping Culture

Written by Jim Belt in Restaurant

When visiting Amsterdam, understanding the local restaurant tipping culture can enhance your dining experience and show appreciation for good service. This guide covers tipping etiquette at Amsterdam eateries. It tells you whether and how much to tip in various situations.

In Amsterdam, tipping at restaurants is not obligatory due to service being included in the bill. However, it's common to leave a small tip for good service, typically by rounding up the bill or leaving an extra 5-10%.

Tipping Customs

Tipping not customary


  • Tipping in Amsterdam's restaurants is customary but not obligatory, reflecting the city's laid-back service culture.
  • A tip of 5-10% of the bill is typical for good service, while exceptional service may warrant up to 10-15%.
  • Rounding up the bill to the nearest euro is also accepted as a modest way to show gratitude for the service.

Tipping in Various Amsterdam Settings

When enjoying services around Amsterdam, a modest gratuity is often appreciated. Whether you're dining out, hailing a ride, or staying at a hotel, knowing the customary tip can enhance your experience.

Service Setting Suggested Tipping Amount
Restaurants 5-10% of the total bill
Taxis and Rideshares Round up to the nearest euro
Hotel Bellhops A couple of euros per bag
Housekeeping A couple of euros daily left in the room
Concierge €1-€2 for assistance
Cafés Round up or leave small change
Bars €1 per drink

At Restaurants

In Amsterdam restaurants, tipping is viewed as a gesture of appreciation rather than an obligation. It's usual to tip 5-10% of your total bill for good service. If you're especially pleased, you can tip a little more to show your gratitude.

In Taxis and Rideshares

For taxis and rideshares such as Uber, rounding up to the nearest euro is a common practice. For example, if your fare comes to €17.20, you might give the taxi driver €18. No need for complex calculations; a simple round-up will do.

At Hotels

Hotel staff, including bellhops and housekeeping, appreciate small tips for their service. A couple of euros for the bellhop per bag and a similar amount daily for the housekeeping staff can be left in your room.

Service Staff Tips

For personal services rendered by staff such as a concierge, a small tip of €1-€2 would be considered polite for their assistance.

Cafés and Bars

When you're at cafés, tipping your barista by rounding up your bill or leaving small change is a nice way to show appreciation. At bars, you might offer bartenders around €1 for each drink they prepare for you.

Basics of Tipping in Amsterdam

Discover how tipping works in the restaurant scene of Amsterdam. Keep these essential points in mind to navigate the local tipping culture with ease.

Tipping Norms

In Amsterdam, restaurant tipping isn't mandatory, but it's certainly appreciated for good service. The typical tip amount is about 5 to 10% of your bill. If you experience exceptional service, feeling generous is welcome and understood as a kind gesture of appreciation. Tipping is more of a personal choice rather than a strict obligation.

Service Charge Inclusion

It's common for restaurants in Amsterdam to include a service charge in the bill. Always check your bill for an item labeled "servicekosten" (service costs) or similar to see if this applies. However, even if the service charge is included, you can still leave a little extra for standout service.

Cash vs. Card Tips

Both cash and card tips are acceptable in Amsterdam's restaurants. If paying in cash, you can simply leave the euros on the table or round up the bill. For card payments, you might need to tell the server the amount you'd like to add as a tip—most establishments are equipped to handle this request seamlessly.

Understanding Local Tipping Culture

When dining out in Amsterdam, it's helpful to know the local customs regarding tipping. This shows respect for the hospitality industry and the cultural practices of the Dutch.

Tipping Etiquette

In Amsterdam, tipping is seen as a gesture of appreciation rather than an obligation. Service staff receive a livable wage, and a service charge is typically included in your bill. Typically, adding 5 to 10% of the total bill is customary for good service. However, it's not unusual to round up to the nearest euro for smaller tabs.

Impact of Tipping on Service

Tipping in Amsterdam's hospitality sector can influence the service you receive. While it's not expected to tip, doing so can reflect positively on your experience, as it's a signal of your satisfaction. Restaurants and hotel staff value this acknowledgment, but rest assured, the quality of service offered is not solely dependent on the tips they might receive.

When to Tip More or Less

You might consider tipping more for exceptional service – where your experience is noticeably enhanced by the staff's efforts. Alternatively, tipping less or not at all is acceptable if the service did not meet basic expectations. In the context of hotels, you may tip housekeeping staff or leave a small amount for room service, but again, observe the situation and tip based on the level of service you feel you have received.

Practical Tips for Tippers

When visiting Amsterdam, understanding the local customs for tipping can greatly enhance your dining experience. These practical tips will help you navigate the process with ease.

Currency Tips

In Amsterdam, like the rest of Europe, the official currency is the euro. It's important to have cash on hand as some establishments may not accept cards. For tipping purposes, keep a supply of small coins, as they are convenient for rounding up the bill to the nearest euro. If your service was exceptional and you wish to tip more, feel free to do so but it's not obligatory.

Group Tipping Advisory

When dining in a group, decide in advance if you will be tipping jointly or individually to avoid confusion. Usually, rounding up the total bill or adding 5-10% as a tip for good service is appreciated. Ensure each group member contributes equally, or have one person collect the money to leave as a lump sum.

Dealing with Leftover Coins

Toward the end of your travel in Amsterdam, you might find yourself with a handful of leftover coins. These small coins can be particularly practical for minor tips in restaurants or cafes. If the tip is not included in your bill, using your leftover change to round up the bill is a convenient way to use up your spare euro cents.

Cultural Insights and Tipping

When you're dining out in Amsterdam, understanding the local tipping customs is essential. This section focuses on what you, as a diner, can expect and how to navigate the nuances of tipping.

Cultural Expectations of Tipping

In Amsterdam, tipping is seen as a gesture of appreciation rather than a mandatory practice. As Dutch culture values straightforward and practical approaches, a tip is not automatically expected but is certainly appreciated for good service. Typically, locals round up the bill or leave a small 5 to 10% tip if they're particularly pleased with the service.

International Tipping Comparison

Compared to North America, where tipping is more obligatory and can be as much as 15 to 20% of the bill, Amsterdam's tipping culture may seem relaxed. In contrast, countries like Spain and France have service charge included in the bill, making extra tips less common. When you're in Amsterdam, you're not obliged to tip as much as you might in the UK or Germany, where tipping is a bit more customary.

Social and Cultural Considerations

For tourists, being aware of tipping etiquette is important. Understand that in the Netherlands, service staff are paid a fair wage, and tipping is a bonus for exceptional service, not a supplement to a low income as it might be in some parts of Europe. So, when you receive that uniquely attentive service, showing your gratitude through a tip is a nice way to say "thank you" in a city that thrives on genuine cultural exchanges.

Special Circumstances in Tipping

When visiting Amsterdam, you may encounter situations that call for a different approach to tipping, especially when it comes to group or special services.

Tipping for Group Services

In case of group services such as those provided by tour guides or sightseeing companies, it's thoughtful to tip a bit more than usual due to the shared nature of the experience. If you're part of a group tour, a tip of €1 to €2 per person is appreciated, especially if your tour guide was engaging and informative. For private group tours, consider pooling together up to 10% of the total cost as a gratuity.

Tipping for Special Services

For special services at spas, salons, or when receiving extras at hotels, a slightly larger tip can show your gratitude for the personalized attention. At a spa or salon, tipping around 10% is common for exceptional service, like a transformative haircut or a particularly relaxing massage. If a hairdresser or beautician has gone above and beyond to accommodate you, consider showing your satisfaction through your tip. For those free walking tours, remember that your guide relies on your tips, so if you've enjoyed your stroll, €5 to €10 is a generous way to say thanks.

Tipping Best Practices

When dining out in Amsterdam, understanding the local tipping etiquette ensures that your generosity appropriately reflects the service you receive.

Tipping for Average vs. Exceptional Service

Average Service: For standard, satisfactory service, a tip is not expected but always appreciated. In Amsterdam, servers earn a minimum wage that doesn't rely on tips, so when you're given the usual good service, rounding up the bill or leaving a small tip of about 5% is a kind gesture.

Exceptional Service: If a server goes above and beyond, providing exceptional service, increasing your tip to 10-15% is a common way to show your gratitude. This reinforces the positive experience they've crafted for you and acknowledges their efforts.

When Tipping Is Optional

Bars and Cafés: Generally, in more casual settings like bars or cafés, tipping is optional. If you receive good service, you might round up to the nearest euro or leave some small change.

Payment Methods: Regardless of whether you're paying with cash or card, you can tip. If paying by card, you can ask the staff to add a specific amount for a tip, or if it’s cash, simply leave the tip on the table.

Remember, these tipping practices in Amsterdam's hospitality industry are guidelines rather than rigid rules. Your tips are always seen as a bonus and a mark of your satisfaction with the service.

Published: 17-01-2024

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