Although we wish for your stay in the Netherlands to be as pleasurable as possible, you may occasionally face the need for some ibuprofen or hygiene products.
Therefore, we prepared a guide to help you understand how pharmacies in the Netherlands work. We also introduce to you the most reliable Dutch drugstore chains.
Pharmacy vs Drugstore
Once you have the chance to wander on the streets in the Netherlands, you may or may not be shocked to realise that here the pharmacy (apotheek) and the drugstores (drogist) are not really two synonymous terms.
The Pharmacy (Apotheek)
Unless you’re looking for a premium brand or have a prescription that requires a specific medicine, you will hardly need to go to the pharmacy in the Netherlands.
Furthermore, they often work within a limited time frame from Monday to Saturday, typically until 17:00.
However, they do have a certified pharmacist among the staff willing to provide you with specialised medical advice or information about the products you intend to buy.
If you want to visit the pharmacy, search online for the nearest one and make sure to check if you’ll need to make an appointment in advance.
The Drugstore (Drogist)
Dutch drugstores are more consumerist-oriented and usually sell pretty much everything you may need for minor health problems without a prescription.
They also have the advantage of longer opening hours, some are even open up to 20:00, and they often sell other products such as cosmetics, cleaning products, and even some snacks.
The only downside you may find is that, like most stores in the Netherlands, payment cannot be made using foreign credit cards. So if you don’t own a Dutch bank account yet, make sure to bring some cash with you.
Popular Drugstores in the Netherlands
The Dutch company Etos has one of the best selections of beauty and health products.
You can get anything you may need from oral hygiene products and health supplement pills to beauty products and perfumes.
Additionally, their own line of products is surprisingly cheap and value for money, so there is no doubt why many Dutch people like going to Etos.
In terms of the price, Etos products are generally considered mid-range.
If you are on a tighter budget, you will love Kruidvat. They are undoubtedly the champions of 1+1 or 2+1 offers, and they often have many products on sale.
Moreover, just like Etos, Kruidvat sells everything from hair conditioner and make-up to nail polish, household items and even some small electronic appliances like hairdryers.
Thanks to the various discounts throughout the store, Kruidvat products, especially those of their in-house brand, are considered very affordable by many.
If you ever visit a Trekpleister store, you will notice that, in a nutshell, it is similar to Kruidvat but smaller.
They offer a diverse range of products that features anything you may need from a drugstore such as pills, lotions, hand sanitiser, razors or sunscreen.
Just like Kruidvat, products at the Trekpleister are generally considered reasonably priced.
Holland & Barrett
Holland & Barrett is an international drugstore chain from the UK that specialises in organic products and alternative medicine.
Therefore, if you wish to include vitamins and supplements in your diet or buy cruelty-free products for your body and hair, you will love Holland & Barrett.
However, you should know that Holland & Barrett is not really the most affordable drugstore in the Netherlands. The good news is, since it is an international chain, you may be able to pay using foreign bank cards.
TIP: Given the current situation with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands, you can buy health or beauty products on the online platforms of most drugstores.