Shipping from the US to the Netherlands: Costs, Delivery, and Customs

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Shipping To The Netherlands From USA

The Netherlands, with its rich cultural heritage and bustling economy, is a prime destination for international shipments from the United States. Whether you're a business expanding your market reach or an individual sending gifts to loved ones, understanding the nuances of shipping between these two countries is crucial for a seamless experience. This guide covers everything you need to know about shipping from the US to the Netherlands, from choosing the right carrier to navigating customs regulations.

Shipping from the US to the Netherlands

When it comes to shipping from the United States to the Netherlands, selecting the right carrier is pivotal for ensuring your package arrives on time, intact, and within budget. Beyond the global giants like USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL, it's essential to consider how local carriers, specifically PostNL, factor into the final leg of the delivery process. Here’s a closer look at each option and what they offer in terms of service, pricing, and delivery timelines.


  • Service Options: USPS provides several international shipping services, including First-Class Package International Service for lightweight shipments, Priority Mail International for more urgent needs, and Priority Mail Express International for the fastest service.

  • Delivery Times: Delivery times can vary, with First-Class Package International taking anywhere from 1-4 weeks, Priority Mail International usually within 6-10 business days, and Priority Mail Express International within 3-5 business days.

  • Pricing: USPS is often the most cost-effective option for smaller, less urgent shipments. Prices vary based on weight and size, but its economy services are competitive.


  • Service Options: UPS offers a range of international shipping services, including UPS Worldwide Express, UPS Worldwide Saver, and UPS Standard to Europe. Each option caters to different speed and budget requirements.

  • Delivery Times: UPS Worldwide Express guarantees delivery by the end of the next business day to many European destinations, including the Netherlands. Saver and Standard options provide more economical solutions with slightly longer transit times.

  • Pricing: UPS is known for its reliability and speed, with prices reflecting the premium service. Rates depend on package dimensions, weight, and selected shipping speed.


  • Service Options: FedEx’s portfolio includes FedEx International Priority, FedEx International Economy, and FedEx International First for urgent deliveries.

  • Delivery Times: FedEx International Priority and Economy services offer delivery to the Netherlands in 1-3 business days and 4-6 business days, respectively. International First will get your shipment to its destination as early as the next business day.

  • Pricing: FedEx pricing is competitive for the level of service provided, particularly for time-sensitive shipments. Prices vary based on shipment specifics.


  • Service Options: Specializing in international shipping, DHL offers DHL Express Worldwide for urgent deliveries and DHL Economy Select for less urgent shipments within Europe.

  • Delivery Times: DHL Express Worldwide can deliver packages from the US to the Netherlands within 2-4 business days. Economy Select offers a more cost-effective solution for non-urgent shipments with slightly longer delivery times.

  • Pricing: DHL's prices are competitive, especially for express services. They offer reliable, expedited shipping at various price points depending on the service level and package details.


As the primary postal operator in the Netherlands, PostNL often handles the final delivery of packages shipped from the US, especially for services like USPS where the final leg is managed by the local postal service.

  • Service Options: While international shippers can’t directly choose PostNL for shipments from the US, understanding its domestic services, like standard parcel delivery and registered mail, is useful. These services offer reliability and comprehensive coverage within the Netherlands.

  • Delivery Times: Once a package enters the PostNL system, standard delivery within the Netherlands typically takes 1-2 business days.

  • Pricing: For shipments handed off to PostNL, the initial carrier’s rates apply. However, PostNL’s domestic rates for additional services, if needed, are competitive within the Dutch market.

Shipping Costs and Customs When Sending Packages to the Netherlands

Shipping from the United States to the Netherlands encompasses more than just handing off a package to a courier service. It involves understanding the nuances of international shipping costs, navigating the maze of customs regulations, and being aware of prohibited and restricted items to ensure your shipment arrives without unnecessary delays or additional costs. Here's an in-depth exploration to guide you through these aspects comprehensively.

Deciphering Shipping Costs

The journey of your package from the US to the Netherlands is influenced by various factors that together determine the shipping cost. Understanding these can help you make cost-effective choices without compromising on service quality.

Factors Affecting Shipping Costs:

  • Package Weight and Size: Heavier and larger packages typically cost more to ship. Couriers often use dimensional weight to calculate shipping fees, considering both size and weight to determine cost.

  • Service Level: Economy shipping options are wallet-friendly but slower, making them suitable for non-urgent shipments. On the other hand, express shipping services ensure faster delivery at a premium price.

  • Additional Services: Options like package tracking, insurance, and delivery confirmation may increase shipping costs but provide peace of mind.

Getting the Best Rates:

  • Compare Carriers: Utilize online calculators from carriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL to compare rates based on your package's specifics.

  • Package Optimization: Consider repackaging items into smaller or lighter configurations if possible, to take advantage of lower rates.

  • Carrier Discounts: Some carriers offer discounted rates for businesses or frequent shippers, which can significantly reduce costs.

Navigating Customs and Import Taxes in the Netherlands

Customs clearance is a critical step for international shipments entering the Netherlands. Being prepared with the right documentation and understanding the Dutch customs process can streamline this phase.

Essential Customs Documentation:

  • Customs Declaration Form: A comprehensive form detailing the package's contents, value, and purpose (gift, sale, return, etc.) is mandatory for all international shipments.

  • Commercial Invoice: Required for commercial shipments, this document should list the items being shipped, their value, and information about the sender and recipient.

Import Taxes and Duties:

  • Value-Added Tax (VAT): The Netherlands imposes VAT on most imported goods, which is typically a percentage of the total value of the items plus shipping and insurance costs.

  • Customs Duties: Items over a certain value may incur customs duties, depending on their category and origin. The rate varies and is calculated based on the item's value, shipping costs, and insurance.

Prohibited and Restricted Items:

Understanding what items are prohibited or restricted is crucial to avoid confiscations or legal issues.

  • Prohibited Items: These include, but are not limited to, illegal drugs, weapons and ammunition, counterfeit products, and certain food products.

  • Restricted Items: Items like alcohol, tobacco, certain medications, and food products may be subject to restrictions and require special permits or documentation.

Tips for a Smooth Customs Experience:

  • Accurate Documentation: Ensure all paperwork is accurately filled out and attached to your package. Inaccuracies can lead to delays or additional inspections.

  • Recipient Information: Provide clear and detailed recipient information, including contact details, to facilitate smooth customs clearance.

  • Stay Informed: Customs regulations can change, so it's essential to stay updated on the latest rules by checking official resources or consulting with your shipping carrier.

Packing and Tracking Strategies for International Shipments to the Netherlands

Navigating the complexities of international shipping demands more than just selecting the right carrier and understanding customs regulations. The success of your shipment also hinges on meticulous packing and leveraging tracking technology to ensure your items not only reach the Netherlands safely but also allow you and the recipient to monitor the journey every step of the way. Here’s how to refine your approach to packing and tracking for an optimal shipping experience.

Advanced Packing Tips for International Shipments

The way you pack your items can significantly impact their condition upon arrival. Here's how to elevate your packing strategy:

Selecting the Right Packing Materials:

  • Boxes: Choose high-quality, corrugated cardboard boxes that are new or lightly used. The box should be sturdy enough to withstand stacking and handling during transit.

  • Cushioning Materials: Utilize bubble wrap, foam inserts, packing peanuts, or crumpled paper to protect items from shocks and vibrations. Ensure delicate items are wrapped individually and that there is enough cushioning to prevent movement inside the box.

  • Sealing Tape: Use heavy-duty packing tape to securely seal your box. Tape all seams and flaps, including the bottom, to reinforce the box’s structure.

Packing Your Items Like a Pro:

  • Layering: Place a layer of cushioning material at the bottom of your box before adding your items. This acts as a shock absorber.

  • Filling Gaps: Ensure there are no empty spaces within the box. Fill these with additional cushioning materials to prevent items from shifting.

  • Waterproofing: For items susceptible to water damage, consider placing them in waterproof bags before boxing. This is particularly important for shipments during rainy seasons.

  • Final Check: Before sealing, give your box a gentle shake to check for movement. If you hear items shifting, add more cushioning.

Mastering Tracking and Ensuring Seamless Delivery

Leveraging the full capabilities of tracking services not only provides peace of mind but also enhances the delivery experience for your recipient in the Netherlands.

Opting for Comprehensive Tracking Services:

  • Carrier Tracking: When selecting your shipping service, choose options that include detailed tracking capabilities. This allows you to monitor your shipment’s progress from pickup to delivery.

  • Notifications: Many carriers offer email or SMS notifications. Opt-in for these updates to receive real-time alerts about your shipment’s status.

Understanding the Role of Local Carriers:

  • Local Delivery Partners: In many cases, international shipments are handed over to local carriers for final delivery. In the Netherlands, this is often PostNL. Familiarize yourself with the local carrier's tracking system to continue monitoring your package once it enters the Dutch postal system.

  • Communicating with Recipients: Share the tracking number and carrier details with your recipient so they can also keep tabs on the shipment. This is particularly helpful if they need to coordinate delivery times or pickup.

Troubleshooting Delivery Issues:

  • Stay Proactive: Keep an eye on your tracking information. If you notice any delays or issues, contact the carrier as soon as possible. Early intervention can help resolve potential problems before they escalate.

  • Recipient Coordination: Encourage your recipient to report any delivery issues from their end. This can include delays or concerns about the package’s condition upon arrival.

Reship: Bridging the Shopping Gap Between the US and the Netherlands

In today's global marketplace, geographical boundaries are becoming increasingly irrelevant, except when it comes to shipping. Many U.S.-based retailers offer unique products and competitive pricing but don’t ship internationally, leaving consumers in the Netherlands at a disadvantage. This is where Reship comes into play, a service designed to overcome these barriers, enabling Dutch shoppers to purchase products from the US that would otherwise be inaccessible due to shipping limitations.

How Does Reship Work?

Reship revolutionizes the international shopping experience by providing customers in the Netherlands with a US-based shipping address. This simple yet effective solution consists of three key steps:

Step 1: Sign Up and Get a US Address

Upon registering with Reship, you're assigned a personal US address at Reship's warehouse. This address enables you to shop online at US retailers as if you were based in the United States.

Step 2: Shop Your Favorite US Brands

With your new US address, you can explore and purchase from a vast array of US online stores, taking advantage of domestic shipping rates, exclusive deals, and products not available in the Netherlands. When checking out, use your Reship address as the delivery location.

Step 3: Reship Forwards Your Purchases

Once your orders arrive at the Reship warehouse, you’ll receive a notification. You can then log into your Reship account to manage your shipments. This includes consolidating multiple purchases into a single package to save on shipping costs. Reship then forwards your package from the US to your actual address in the Netherlands.

The Advantages of Using Reship

Reship offers several benefits that make it an attractive option for Dutch consumers looking to shop from US stores:

  • Access to US Markets: Gain entry to products and brands that don’t directly ship to the Netherlands, broadening your shopping options significantly.

  • Cost Savings: Reship’s package consolidation service can lead to substantial savings on shipping costs. Additionally, customers benefit from domestic US shipping rates when sending items to Reship’s warehouse.

  • Customs Handling: Reship provides guidance on managing customs and import taxes, making the process smoother and less daunting for international shoppers.

  • Enhanced Tracking and Security: With options for insurance and advanced tracking, Reship ensures that your purchases are monitored and protected from the moment they leave the US until they arrive at your doorstep.

Reship offers a seamless solution for Dutch shoppers aiming to access the vast and varied market of US-based online retailers. By eliminating the common obstacles associated with international shipping, Reship not only opens up a world of shopping possibilities but also ensures a hassle-free delivery process, from the US to your doorstep in the Netherlands. Whether you’re eyeing the latest fashion, electronics, or exclusive merchandise, Reship transforms your global shopping experience, making it more accessible, affordable, and enjoyable.


Shipping from the US to the Netherlands is a straightforward process when you're equipped with the right information and choose a reliable carrier. By understanding the intricacies of international shipping, including costs, customs procedures, and packing best practices, you can ensure your package arrives safely and efficiently at its Dutch destination. Whether sending a token of affection or conducting cross-border business, mastering the art of international shipping opens up a world of possibilities.

(FAQs) Shipping to the Netherlands from the US

1. What is the average cost of shipping from the US to the Netherlands?

The cost varies widely based on the carrier, package size, weight, and service level chosen. Prices can range from around $20 for a small, lightweight package via economy services to several hundred dollars for expedited shipping of heavier items.

2. How much does shipping from the Netherlands to the USA cost?

Similar to shipping from the US to the Netherlands, costs depend on various factors including the shipping carrier, package dimensions, weight, and speed of delivery. Economy options might start at approximately €20-€30 for smaller packages, with prices increasing for larger shipments or faster delivery options.

3. What is the cheapest way to ship from the USA to the Netherlands?

The USPS offers competitive rates for smaller packages with their First-Class Package International Service, which is typically the most cost-effective option for parcels under 4 lbs (1.8 kg). For larger packages, consolidating shipments and comparing carrier rates is advised to find the cheapest solution.

4. How long does shipping take from the USA to the Netherlands?

Shipping times can vary. Economy services can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks, while express shipping options can deliver within 2-5 business days. Factors such as customs processing can also affect delivery times.

5. What are the most affordable shipping options from the US to the Netherlands?

For lightweight items, USPS First-Class International is often the most affordable. For heavier shipments, services like UPS Worldwide Expedited and FedEx International Economy can offer cost-effective solutions when booked online or through shipping consolidators.

6. How does international shipping from the US to the Netherlands work?

International shipping involves selecting a carrier that offers international services, preparing your package with correct labeling and customs documentation, and choosing a service that balances cost with delivery speed. Upon arrival in the Netherlands, packages go through customs clearance before being delivered by the local postal service or carrier.

7. What is the cheapest shipping method to the Netherlands?

For small parcels and documents, USPS First-Class Package International Service typically offers the lowest rates. For larger items, comparing rates from various carriers and using shipping calculators will help identify the cheapest option.

8. What should I know about USPS shipping to the Netherlands?

USPS offers several international shipping services to the Netherlands, including First-Class International, Priority Mail International, and Priority Mail Express International. While being one of the most cost-effective options, delivery times can be longer compared to private carriers, and tracking may not be as detailed. It's important to accurately complete all customs documentation to avoid delays.

Additional Tips for Shipping to the Netherlands from the US:

  • Check Prohibited Items: Ensure your shipment does not contain items restricted or prohibited by Dutch customs. This can include certain food items, plants, and more.

  • Customs Documentation: Properly filling out customs forms and including invoices or receipts is crucial to prevent delays during the customs process.

  • Insurance: Consider purchasing additional insurance for valuable items to protect against loss or damage during transit.

  • Local Delivery Partners: Be aware that once in the Netherlands, your package may be handed over to a local delivery partner, such as PostNL, for final delivery.

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