How to Write an Address in the Netherlands: A Concise Guide

October 8, 2023

Navigating the complexities of addressing mail in various countries can be a daunting task, especially when each country has its own specific formatting rules. The Netherlands is no exception, with its own unique address structure that may differ from what you're accustomed to in your home country. By gaining an understanding of how to properly write an address in the Netherlands, you can ensure that your mail reaches its intended recipient without any hitches.

This article aims to educate you on the essentials of Dutch address formatting, as well as the variations in address formats that exist. Additionally, we'll explore the guidelines for sending mail internationally to the Netherlands. By becoming familiar with these aspects, you will not only improve the efficiency of your correspondence but also reduce the likelihood of undeliverable items and incorrect addresses, making your international mailing experience hassle-free.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn the unique structure of Dutch postal addresses to ensure your mail is delivered properly
  • Understand the variations in Dutch address formats for different types of properties
  • Abide by international mailing guidelines to successfully send mail to the Netherlands

Understanding the Address Structure in the Netherlands

Writing an address in the Netherlands is an important skill to master. The format is quite specific and failing to follow it correctly may result in mail not reaching its intended destination. This section will discuss the structure and key components of Dutch addresses to help ensure your letters and packages are properly delivered.

Dutch addresses generally consist of five main components: street name, house number, postal code, city, and province. You can find the following format often used for single addresses in the Netherlands:

Street Name House Number
Postal Code City
Province (Optional)

The house number comes after the street name and is crucial for accurate mail delivery. It may also include a letter or combination of letters and numbers. For example, "Willemsparkweg 10A".

The postal code in Dutch addresses is a combination of four digits followed by two uppercase letters, separated by a space. This helps to refine the mail delivery process as it provides more specific information about the delivery location. An example of a Dutch postal code would be "1071 NA".

When writing the city in the address, ensure you use the official Dutch name. Some cities may have alternative names in different languages, but the Dutch name should always be used for addressing mail.

Including the province is optional and not as commonly used, as postal codes often provide enough information for mail delivery. However, it can be useful for providing context and clarity when sending mail to smaller towns or rural areas. For instance, "Gelderland" or "Noord-Holland".

Here's a brief overview of how to properly write a Netherlands address using the provided format:

  • Street name: Followed by the house number
  • House number: Can include a letter or a combination of letters and numbers
  • Postal code: Four digits followed by a space and two uppercase letters
  • City: Use the official Dutch name
  • Province: Optional, but can provide context for smaller towns or rural areas

By following these guidelines and understanding the Dutch address structure, you can ensure your mail correctly reaches its intended recipient in the Netherlands, making your communication more efficient and reliable.

Properly Structuring Dutch Postal Addresses

When sending mail within the Netherlands or from abroad, ensuring a properly structured address is key for a successful delivery. Here are essential aspects to consider when formatting addresses on envelopes or packaging.

Dutch addresses generally follow a particular format: recipient name, street name and house number, postal code (in uppercase letters), and city name. It's crucial to include these components in the correct order and format.


Jan Jansen
Lange Voorhout 128
2594 BC Den Haag

In the Netherlands, postal codes consist of four digits followed by a space and two uppercase letters. The first two digits represent the regional postal area, while the letters indicate specific delivery routes used by PostNL, the national postal service company.

When sending mail to a Post Office Box, substitute the street name and house number with the word "Postbus" and the Post Office Box number:

Jan Jansen
Postbus 12345
2594 BC Den Haag

In case a return address is necessary, it should be placed on the top left corner on the front of the envelope, formatted similarly to the recipient address.

Choosing an appropriate font size and type is essential for printed addresses. Dutch postal services recommend using a sans-serif font such as Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, or Verdana. The font size should be between 10 and 12 points to ensure readability. When handwriting the address, make sure it's legible and clear.

By adhering to these addressing guidelines, you can enhance the accuracy and efficiency of mail delivery within the Netherlands, ensuring a smoother process for both sender and recipient.

Variations in Dutch Address Formats

In the Netherlands, addresses are written with specific formats and components, including street name, house number, and postal code. This section explores the variations typically found in Dutch addresses.

Firstly, street names can take various forms, often ending with descriptors like straat (street), laan (lane), or plein (square). For example, a Dutch address may contain a street name like Keizersgracht or Damstraat. It's essential to ensure that these components are correctly written for an accurate and easily understood address.

Dutch addresses also include house numbers, which can be written as a standalone number or combined with a letter or letters. For example:

  • 14
  • 14A
  • 14B

These combinations are essential in correctly identifying specific residences within a street. When writing a Dutch address, make sure to include the appropriate house number format for the location in question.

The Dutch postal code is another vital component in proper address formatting. Consisting of four digits followed by two letters, the postal code is separated from the house number by a space. For example:

  • 1234 AB

In some cases, the house numbers may include an additional suffix known as the "toevoeging" that further specifies a residence within a building. Examples of these suffixes include:

  • 14-1 (first floor)
  • 14-2 (second floor)

In summary, a complete Dutch address format should include the street name, house number, and postal code, accounting for variations in street descriptors, house number combinations, and additional suffixes where applicable. A correctly formatted Dutch address may look like this:

Damstraat 14A, 1234 AB Amsterdam

Ensuring the accuracy and completeness of these elements results in easily identifiable and understandable addresses, fostering smooth postal delivery and communication within the Netherlands.

Essentials for Sending Mail Internationally to the Netherlands

When sending international mail to the Netherlands, it is crucial to follow specific guidelines to ensure your mail is delivered promptly and accurately. Understanding the nuances of postage, stamps, and address formatting is vital for a smooth delivery process.

First and foremost, determine the required postage for your mail. This cost depends on the mail's size, weight, and destination. Visit your local postal service or their online platform to accurately calculate the postage fees. Not providing sufficient postage may result in delayed or undelivered mail.

Next, acquire the appropriate stamps for your mail. Stamps can be purchased at post offices or online through their websites. When affixing stamps, place them in the top right corner of your envelope or package, ensuring the stamps remain unobstructed and easily visible.

Address formatting is an essential aspect of sending mail to the Netherlands. A typical Dutch address consists of:

  • Recipient's name
  • Street name and house number (including any additions, such as floor or apartment numbers)
  • Postal code (four digits followed by two capital letters), and city or town name

For example:

John Doe
Kerkstraat 12B
1234 AB Amsterdam

Lastly, include the country name, "The Netherlands," in uppercase, below the postal code and city. For international mail, it is recommended to write addresses in English characters.

To enhance the readability of the recipient's address, you can use the following formatting guidelines:

  • Write the recipient's name in bold text
  • Separate each line of the address with a single empty line
  • Use capital letters for the postal code, and city or town name

In summary, when sending international mail to the Netherlands, consider the postage fees, appropriate stamps, and correct address formatting. By adhering to these essentials, you can increase the likelihood of a timely and accurate delivery.

Handling Undeliverable Items and Incorrect Addresses

In the Netherlands, it is crucial to write addresses correctly to ensure that your mail reaches its intended recipient. However, situations may arise where items become undeliverable due to incorrect addresses or other issues. This section discusses how to handle undeliverable items and incorrect addresses.

When dealing with an incorrect address, postal codes play a significant role. A postal code is a sequence of letters and/or numbers, which aids in identifying a particular address. In the Netherlands, postal codes consist of four digits followed by two uppercase letters, e.g., 1234 AB. The first two digits refer to the city district, and the last two digits, along with the two letters, represent the street or part of the street. Ensuring that the postal code is accurate will significantly reduce the likelihood of undeliverable items.

When sending mail, it is essential to double-check the address's accuracy, including the street name, house number, postal code, and city. If you are unsure of the complete address, the Dutch postal company, PostNL, maintains an online address finder tool that allows you to search for the correct postal code based on the recipient's details.

However, if your mail becomes undeliverable for any reason, it is likely to end up at one of the Netherlands' post offices. PostNL is responsible for dealing with undeliverable items and will attempt to return the item to the sender. To facilitate this, it is recommended to include your return address on the envelopes or parcels you send.

Following these best practices will help you avoid and handle undeliverable items effectively:

  • Ensure the accuracy of the recipient's address by double-checking it before sending your mail.
  • Utilize the online address finder tool provided by PostNL if you are unsure about the correct postal code.
  • Include your return address on the mail, which enables the post office to return undeliverable items.

By sticking to these guidelines, you can minimize the occurrences of undeliverable items and incorrect addresses in the Netherlands, ensuring that your mail reaches its intended destination.

Provinces in Netherlands

The Netherlands is divided into 12 provinces, each with its unique features and characteristics. These provinces play a significant role in determining the layout and format of postal addresses. In this section, we will cover essential information about provinces in the Netherlands, which will help you write addresses correctly.

Each province has its capital city, and they serve as regional hubs for governance, commerce, and transport. The provinces vary in size and population density; for instance, South Holland, the most densely populated province, is home to major cities such as Rotterdam and The Hague. Alternatively, Friesland in the north is recognized for its beautiful, expansive landscapes and sparse population.

When writing an address in the Netherlands, it is crucial to include the name of the province, as it provides a context for the postal code and city. Here is a list of the 12 provinces, along with their abbreviations:

  • Drenthe (DR)
  • Flevoland (FL)
  • Friesland (FR)
  • Gelderland (GE)
  • Groningen (GR)
  • Limburg (LI)
  • North Brabant (NB)
  • North Holland (NH)
  • Overijssel (OV)
  • South Holland (ZH)
  • Utrecht (UT)
  • Zeeland (ZL)

In addition to provinces, Dutch addresses also include municipalities, a subdivision within the province. While it is not always necessary to include the municipality in the address, doing so can provide additional clarity for the postal service.

When it comes to writing the full address, the general format is as follows:

[Recipient's Name]
[Street name and house number]
[Postal code and City]
[Province abbreviation]
[Country (if mailing internationally)]

By including the province abbreviation and other essential components in the address, you can ensure your mail reaches its destination accurately and efficiently. A comprehensive understanding of provinces in the Netherlands will indeed simplify the address-writing process.

Guidelines for Writing Addresses in the Netherlands

When addressing mail in the Netherlands, it's crucial to adhere to specific guidelines to ensure successful delivery. The following instructions will provide a clear and concise understanding of how to write addresses in the Netherlands correctly.

Start by writing the recipient's name, which should be placed on the first line of the address. Next, proceed with the street name and house number, followed by a space and any required suffix (e.g., John Doe, Mainstraat 123A). Traditionally, Dutch addresses place the house number after the street name.

The third line should include the postal code and city or town. The Dutch postal code consists of four digits followed by two capital letters (e.g., 1234 AB). It is crucial to maintain a space between the digits and letters, as well as a space between the postal code and town or city.


Mr. John Doe
Mainstraat 123A
1234 AB Amsterdam

When sending mail internationally, a fourth line is necessary, indicating "THE NETHERLANDS" in capital letters. This country identifier helps to ensure the proper handling of mail by international postal services.

International Example:

Mr. John Doe
Mainstraat 123A
1234 AB Amsterdam

Additional guidelines for addressing mail in the Netherlands include:

  • Use a legible font or clear handwriting.
  • Avoid using punctuation marks, such as periods or commas.
  • Place the sender's address on the back of the envelope, enclosed in the top left corner or on a label.
  • If mailing within the Netherlands, it is customary to write the entire address in capital letters.

Following these guidelines will ensure that your mail is correctly addressed and promptly delivered in the Netherlands. Remember to always double-check the recipient's details before sending any correspondence, as errors can lead to delays or misdelivery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the proper format for a Dutch address?

The proper format for a Dutch address consists of the following elements: recipient's name, street name and house number, postal code, town or city, and finally, the country name if mailing from outside the Netherlands. It looks like this:

Recipient Name
Street Name and House Number
Postal Code and Town/City
The Netherlands (when mailing from abroad)

How do postal codes work in the Netherlands?

Postal codes in the Netherlands consist of four digits followed by a space and two uppercase letters. For example, "1011 AB". The four digits represent a specific area, while the two letters further pinpoint a particular street or building.

What is the envelope format for sending mail to the Netherlands?

When sending mail to the Netherlands, place the recipient's address on the right side of the envelope and the sender's address on the left side or as a return address on the back. The recipient's address should be in the proper Dutch format mentioned earlier.

How do I address a post to the Netherlands from the US?

When sending mail from the US to the Netherlands, use the proper Dutch address format and add "THE NETHERLANDS" on the last line of the address. Make sure postage is appropriate for international mailing and consider using airmail for faster delivery.

How does an Amsterdam address differ from other cities?

Amsterdam addresses follow the same format as other Dutch cities. The only difference is that you would use "Amsterdam" as the town or city name in the address.

How should I use 'the Netherlands' in an address?

When mailing to a Dutch address from outside the Netherlands, it's important to add "The Netherlands" on the last line of the address. This ensures that the mail is routed correctly to the destination country.

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Written by

Leo van den Berg
As a Dutchman I am extremely proud of the beautiful country in which I live. My goal is to convey my passion and love for the Netherlands to as many people as possible.

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