If you have been living in the Netherlands for a while, you have undoubtedly taken a slip over hondenpoep – dog poop. Rather than enjoying the beautiful architecture of the Dutch cities, you find yourself staring at the sidewalks, navigating your way around the deposits of our furry friends. How can it be that this nation of clean, hygienic, well-educated people can live with sidewalks pockmarked with hondenpoep? If we had an answer, we’d tell you. There is, however, an ongoing campaign to have dog owners train their dogs to leave their mess in the roadside gutters (watch out when stepping out of the car!) and, as you can read elsewhere in this book, dog owners pay taxes for their hounds. This tax used to be a ‘corporate’ tax, but is now levied on private dog owners, the proceeds of which are used to create areas within the cities and towns that can be considered public dog toilets or to put of dog-poop baggy dispensers at regular intervals within town and keep these well-stocked. This is the only pet-related tax there is, so maybe there is some justice after all.


Pets have a position in Dutch households that is very similar to that of the children. Some are served the best cut of the rarest beef, others are given the best chair, with the best view of the TV – and, naturally, access to the accompanying snacks. And the care provided is top-notch: the veterinary services (a vet is called a dierenarts) are excellent in the Netherlands, and include animal hospitals, ambulances and even crematoriums. There are also dog-walking services (honden uitlaat service) for those who can’t imagine life without Whoofy, but unfortunately have to spend the whole day in the office. And last but not least, the pet stores in the Netherlands offer a wonderful array of toys, cushions, cages, leashes, snacks, top-of-the-line food, and… pets, of course.


If you want to buy a dog, however, it is always better to do this via a recognized breeder rather than through a pet store. Breeders can be found through the Raad van Beheer op Kynologische Gebied in Nederland, the phone number of which you will find at the end of the chapter. For any other type of animal (other than the household rodent type – for which the pet store, or the petting farm, called kinderboerderij, will do fine) – you can best ask the local vet where you can find one. If you are looking to save an unwanted cat or dog, there are kennels, called dierenasiel, where ‘lost and found’ or otherwise homeless animals are brought. These kennels are well-run and most of the time have a good profile of the animals they are trying to place. Often, they have to find a new home for the pets of families who have to go abroad, or who have family member who is allergic to animals and find it greatly rewarding to have found such a loving pet a new home.

Side Note

Tel.: 0900 0245


To report lost animals (chip registration)

Tel.: 0900 40 40 456

Useful links
To registrate lost animals:


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