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About Hilversum

City information | Getting around

Welcome to Hilversum, the media capital of the Netherlands. A dynamic community strategically situated in the Dutch heartland, yet with an intimate feel that will charm you. A modern centre of business, commerce and leisure that builds on layers of history. A typical Dutch town with a strong international dimension, thanks to its prominent position on the global media map.

Hilversum is a city full of possibilities for living, working and visiting. It has a lively community of 90.000 residents and is brimming with creative companies, green spaces and exciting attractions. For years now, Hilversum and the surrounding areas have ranked highly on the list of Best Places to live in the Netherlands.

Meet Tessa, an editor and translator from Dutch to English who found her family-friendly haven in Hilversum. Read her blog.

MediaCity

Hilversum is the media capital of the Netherlands. The head offices and studios of the majority of the main national broadcasters and major players in the entertainment industry (such as music and gaming) are based here in Hilversum. There are hundreds of companies specialising in the innovation, production, exploration and distribution of digital audio-visual content. You’ll also find many other creative companies such as online marketing, digital design, communication and IT solutions/software. MediaPark in Hilversum is the most well known Dutch business park for multimedia companies, with excellent connections to Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport and the rest of the world.

As the Media City of the Netherlands Hilversum is the location for many of the commercial TV stations and National Broadcasters. It also hosts creative businesses with an international reach such as Spinning Records, Unbranded and Warner Music.

International business

Hilversum is also home to many national and international companies. The head offices of Nike, Sonos, MediaMonks and Hunkemöller are all located here. Globally operating tech companies including NEP, United and Ericson have also chosen to base their businesses in Hilversum. The city is also home to several outstanding orchestras, including the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, the Netherlands Radio Choir and the Metropole Orchestra.

Leisure

The Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision is one of Hilversums' most outstanding attractions. It looks breathtaking from the outside and inside houses the historical record of all Dutch TV and radio broadcasts.

The city centre of Hilversum also remarkable, especially its architecture. The city’s architect Willem Marinus Dudok made his mark on the town in the first half of the 20th century. One of the most prominent buildings, and well worth a visit, is the Town Hall.

For fun and shopping, look no further than the centre of Hilversum which offers large department stores, high-end boutiques and buzzing restaurants and cafés.

For nature lovers, the forests and heathlands surrounding Hilversum provide the perfect environment for long walks and bike rides. The landscape is very diverse, with beautiful lakes and nature reserves.

The city boasts a wide variety of hotels, restaurants and shops, sports clubs and cultural institutions.

Getting around

Hilversum is centrally located between Amsterdam and Utrecht. You can reach the city centres of these two cities by train or car in just 20 minutes and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is just 30 minutes away. Just outside Hilversum there are plenty of places to go to enjoy nature, peace and tranquility, making it the ideal place for cycling around. You can also use your bike for transportation within the city, as most distances are short and there is an extensive network of bike paths. You can also get to some of the city’s top hotspots by bus or car.

Cycling

The philosophy behind cycling in the Netherlands can be summed up in two words: calm & assertive. Embody these two virtues and you'll get along just fine.

If you’re already living here, it won’t surprise you to hear that, in the Netherlands, there are more bicycles than people, by a large margin! With hundreds of kilometres of designated bike paths, you’ll find it not only enjoyable but also much easier to get around on two wheels.

When you’re ready to join the fun, there are many ways in which you can buy a bicycle, both online and in person. While new bikes are readily available, you could also do as the locals and find a solid used bike, also available at most bike shops. A good one will cost you about €150. But cheaper options can be found, via websites like www.marktplaats.nl (in Dutch) or on one of the Local Expat pages on Facebook.

You’ll find that most places selling bikes will fix them too. They’re called fietsenwinkels. No appointment is needed, and for minor repairs, same day service is usually possible.

There are some rules that as a cyclist you should know, but its also worth keeping in mind that not all Dutch cyclists follow the rules or traffic lights seriously enough, so always be alert. In the Netherlands no helmets are required. To keep everybody happy and safe, always signal where you’re turning by pointing the direction you are turning, or down if you’re slowing/stopping in an unexpected place. It is also good to remember that you have to yeald to the right in the Netherlands. You can find more helpful information about cycling in the Netherlands here.

Taxis

Taxis are quite expensive in the Netherlands. A regular taxi from Hilversum to Schiphol Airport could cost you about €75, - whereas a train ticket costs €7,50. If you need a taxi, please make sure the meter is running or that the price is clear before you depart. Uber is also widely used in the main cities of the Netherlands. Go to www.taxi.nl (in Dutch) for a price quote or to order a taxi online.

Driver’s License

Drivers of motor vehicles in the Netherlands must comply with certain, specific regulations. A minimum of third-party insurance is obligatory for your car or motorbike. The vehicle must be registered and the driver must hold a valid driving license (the driver must be aged 18 or above).

Should you wish to receive further information on the requirements for owning/using and driving motor vehicles in the Netherlands, please contact the Road Transport Department (RDW), on 0900-0739. The requirements of a valid driving license are explained below.

There are two categories of driving license

International driver

This is a person who does not live in the Netherlands but uses a motor vehicle in the country. This includes tourists and business use. If you reside for less than 185 days in the Netherlands, you are regarded as an international driver and you must be able to provide an international driving license if required for inspection. Your embassy can supply you with more information about this.

Residents of the Netherlands

A person is considered as living in the Netherlands when his usual place of residence is within the Netherlands. This is defined as the place where you live for at least 185 days per year.

Exchanging a foreign driver’s license

To check if a driving license issued in your country can be exchanged, visit the Road Transport Department (RDW) website for the most up to date information:

While you are settling into the Netherlands, you can use the driving license issued in your home country for a transitional period of 185 days, starting from the moment you arrive here. During the transitional period your driving license must be changed to a Dutch driving license. The conditions for changing the license are:

  • You must reside in the Netherlands and hold a valid residence permit.
  • Your own driving license must be valid when you apply.
  • Your driving license must have been issued during a period of one full year, within which you lived in your home country for at least 185 days.

The documents you need to present:

  • A valid foreign driver’s license
  • A passport photograph in colour
  • A valid residence permit Certificate of Fitness. In order to get this, you need to complete a statement of Health, which you can purchase at the Town Hall.

An application for a Dutch driving license costs around 40 euros and has to be paid in advance. The process takes approximately two weeks. Your driver’s license must be collected, in person, from the Registry Department upon notification from the RDW. If it is not possible for you to exchange your driving license, you must take a standard theory and practical driving test at the CBR. You can call the CBR on: (0900) 0210 or more information about this.

Public Transportation

Useful public transport planners

• For all public transport in Dutch cities go to: www.9292.nl/en or download the app. This handy planner give you a full itinerary from one address to another combining any number of transport systems.

•For train connections within the Netherlands go to: www.ns.nl/en or download the app. It is possible to add a 40% discount subscription to your personal OV-chipcard. More information can be found at an NS service desk.

OV-chipcard

While it is possible to purchase travel passes on a daily or weekly basis, the easiest way to get around on public transport is the ‘OV Chipkaart’. This smart card is the size of a credit card and contains an invisible chip. You can uploaded credit or travel products (Allgo trips, train tickets) onto the OV Chipcard and it can be used anywhere in the Netherlands on trains, the metro, buses and trams.

You have two options: Get an anonymous card (one that’s not tied to a specific person, useful if you plan to share it with others, for example if you have family visiting from abroad) from train stations, tobacconists or supermarkets. Alternatively, if you want to be able to benefit from the best transport deals, get a personal card, available online at www.ov-chipkaart.nl, you can subscribe to annually renewable discount offers from your favourite transport companies with one.

At the start or end of your journey, you check in or out by holding your OV-chipcard up to the chipcard symbol at the check in/out terminal. If you do not have a specific travel product on your card, a boarding fee will automatically be deducted from your credit. The actual travel costs (based on the distance travelled) will be deducted from the boarding fee and the remaining credit will be reimbursed to your card.

Disposable card

Besides the OV-chipcard you can also use a disposable card, which can be purchased via vending machines at the station. This card allows the holder to travel immediately, but it cannot be re-charged or loaded with anything other than the original travel product.