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eSIM in the Netherlands: The Complete Guide for Internationals [2024]

by Mavis Pereira
Updated on July 7, 2024

Welcome to the Netherlands! Moving to a new country sounds exciting. But it comes with challenges, especially when you have to stay connected. Getting a reliable phone plan is one of the first things you’ll need to sort out. Here’s where a digital SIM, also known as an eSIM, can simplify your life.

So, what exactly is an eSIM? Unlike traditional SIM cards that you have to physically insert into your phone, an eSIM (embedded SIM) is a digital SIM that lets you activate a cellular plan without a physical card. This technology is particularly beneficial for international students and graduates who need a hassle-free way to stay connected.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about using an eSIM in the Netherlands. From understanding the basics of eSIM technology to choosing the right plan and activating it on your device, we’ve got you covered. Also, we’ll introduce you to Simyo, a telecommunication provider operating on the reliable KPN network offering competitive pricing and flexible plans.

Whether you’re here for a study exchange, looking for a job, or just exploring what this beautiful country offers, having a reliable phone connection is crucial. Let’s dive into how you can make the most of your stay in the Netherlands with an eSIM!

1. Understanding eSIM Technology

What is an eSIM?

An eSIM, or an embedded SIM, is a digital alternative to the physical SIM card used in mobile phones. Unlike traditional SIM cards you physically insert into your phone, an eSIM is integrated directly into your device’s hardware. So you don’t need to handle tiny cards or worry about losing them. The eSIM is rewritable, allowing you to switch carriers or plans directly from your phone settings without a new physical SIM.

Differences Between eSIM and Traditional SIM Cards

  • Physical vs. Digital. Traditional SIM cards are physical pieces of plastic to be inserted into your device, while in eSIMs, the software is on a chip permanently attached to a device.
  • Convenience. In an eSIM, you can switch carriers or plans through your device’s settings in a few minutes. So you don’t have to wait for the delivery of a new SIM card or visit a physical store.
  • Flexibility. eSIMs allow you to keep multiple profiles on one device, so it’s easier to switch between phone numbers or carriers. This flexibility benefits internationals who may wish to keep a local and a home country number.
  • Space-saving. Mobile phone manufacturers can save space for other components or design features as an eSIM does not require a SIM card slot.

Benefits of Using an eSIM

  • Flexibility. eSIMs offer unparalleled flexibility, allowing you to keep multiple eSIM profiles on one device to switch between phone numbers and carriers. eSIMs could be particularly useful for international students who wish to maintain a number from their home country while having a local Dutch number.
  • Convenience. Setting up an eSIM is incredibly convenient. There’s no need to visit a store or wait for a SIM card to arrive in the mail. You can set up and activate your eSIM online in just a few minutes.
  • Environmental Impact. eSIMs minimize the ecological footprint of production, transportation, and disposal of traditional SIM cards, which causes significant plastic waste and carbon emissions.
  • Immediate Connectivity. With an eSIM, you can activate your mobile plan right after you land in the Netherlands. You no longer have to hunt for a store at the airport where you can buy a local SIM card or face the inconvenience of swapping SIM cards.
  • Enhanced Security. eSIMs are hard to remove and swap without your knowledge, providing an added layer of protection against phone theft and fraud.

Understanding eSIM technology can significantly enhance your mobile experience in the Netherlands. In the following sections, we will guide you through the practical steps of getting and using an eSIM, ensuring you stay connected seamlessly.

2. Why Choose an eSIM in the Netherlands?

Choosing an eSIM in the Netherlands offers several advantages, especially for international students and graduates. Here are a few reasons why an eSIM is a good choice for staying connected in your new home.

Advantages for International Students and Graduates

  • No Need to Find a Local SIM Card Shop Upon Arrival: One of the biggest hassles of moving to a new country is sorting out your mobile phone connection. With an eSIM, you can set up your plan before arriving in the Netherlands. So you can hit the ground running with a working phone as soon as you step off the plane.
  • Immediate Connectivity. Since you can activate your eSIM online, you don’t have to waste time looking for a SIM card vendor or waiting in line. This feature helps if you need to use maps, contact your accommodation, or inform your family of your safe arrival.
  • Manage Plans Online. eSIMs allow you to handle everything digitally. Need to top up your data, change your plan, or add more minutes? You can do all this through your provider’s app or website without visiting a physical store.
  • Flexibility. An eSIM allows you to switch between different carriers and plans. If you find a better deal or your needs change, you can update your plan without needing a new SIM card.

Unique Benefits of Simyo

  • Sign Up from Anywhere. With Simyo, you don’t need to be physically present in the Netherlands to sign up for an eSIM. So, you can arrange everything before your move, ensuring you’re connected right from the minute you arrive. Additionally, Simyo doesn’t require you to have a BSN (Burger Service Number) to sign up—just a Dutch address will suffice.
  • Reliable Network. Simyo operates on KPN’s network and is known for its excellent coverage and reliability across the Netherlands. Whether in a bustling city or a quiet town, you can count on its strong network performance.
  • Competitive Pricing. Simyo offers competitive pricing suitable for students and graduates on a budget. Their subscription plans are flexible, so you can choose one that fits your needs without committing to long-term contracts.

How an eSIM Can Simplify Your Life

  • Use Two Phone Numbers Simultaneously. If you want to keep your home country’s phone number active while having a local Dutch number, an eSIM makes this possible without requiring two phones.
  • Data Usage in the EU/EEA. As a non-EU citizen, managing data costs while traveling within the EU/EEA can be tricky. An eSIM from Simyo ensures competitive rates and seamless connectivity across Europe.
  • Perfect for Study Exchange Programs. If you’re in the Netherlands for a short-term study exchange, an eSIM is an ideal solution. You don’t have to worry about long-term commitments, and they offer flexible plans tailored to your duration of stay.
  • Job Hunting. Displaying a local Dutch number on your resume can significantly help your job search. Employers are more likely to respond to a local number, and with an eSIM, you can get a Dutch number.
  • Contact Dutch Organizations Before Moving. Arrange housing if you are a student, set up bank accounts, and more by having a Dutch phone number ready before you move.

Choosing an eSIM in the Netherlands, especially with Simyo, ensures a smooth, flexible, cost-effective mobile experience. In the next section, we’ll guide you through getting started with your eSIM, making the process as simple as possible.

3. Getting Started with an eSIM

Getting started with an eSIM in the Netherlands is straightforward and convenient, especially with providers like Simyo that make the process seamless. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get set up quickly.

How to Check If Your Phone Supports eSIM

Before you switch to an eSIM, you should ensure your phone is compatible. Most modern smartphones support eSIM technology. Here’s how to check:

  • iOS Devices: Go to Settings -> General -> About and look for “Digital SIM.” If it’s listed, your device supports eSIM.
  • Android Devices: Navigate through the following menus: Settings -> Network & Internet -> Mobile Network. If there’s an option for adding a carrier, it most likely means your device is eSIM capable.
  • List of Common eSIM-Compatible Devices:


  • Apple iPhones: XR, XS, XS Max, 11 series, 12 series, 13 series, 14 series, 15 series, SE 2, SE 3 or later
  • Samsung Galaxy: S20 series, S21 series, S22 series, S23 series, S24 series, Note 20 series, Fold series, Z Flip series, A series or later
  • Other Brands: Huawei P40, P40 Pro, OnePlus 11, OnePlus 12, Nokia XR21, X30, G60 5G, Vivo X90 Pro, Fairphone 4, Fairphone 5 or later


  • Apple iPads: iPad Air (3rd and 4th gen), iPad Pro (11-inch and 12.9-inch), iPad (7th, 8th, and 9th gen), iPad Mini (5th and 6th gen) or later
  • Microsoft: Surface Pro (5th gen onwards), Surface Pro X (5th gen onwards) or later


  • Various Brands: Acer Swift and TravelMate series, ASUS NovaGo and VivoBook Flip, Dell Latitude series, HP Elitebook, Probook, and Zbook series, Lenovo ThinkPad series, Microsoft Surface Pro X

Steps to Set Up an eSIM on Your Device

Once you’ve confirmed that your phone supports eSIM, activating it is quick and easy. Here’s how:

  1. Purchase an eSIM Plan from Simyo:
    • Visit Simyo’s website and choose the eSIM plan that best suits your needs.
    • Complete the registration process. Remember, you don’t need a BSN to sign up—just a Dutch address.
  2. Receive Your eSIM Activation Details:
    • Once you buy your eSIM, you will get an email that contains a QR code and the instructions for activating the eSIM.
  3. Activate Your eSIM:
    • iPhone: Navigate through Settings -> Mobile Data -> Add Data Plan. Scan the QR code provided by Simyo. Activate your eSIM by following the instructions shown on the screen. 
    • Android: Go to Settings -> Network & Internet -> Mobile Network -> Add Carrier. Scan the QR code. Go through the on-screen directions and begin using your eSIM.
  4. Set Your eSIM as Primary:
    • If you have a physical SIM and an eSIM, you can choose which one to use for data, calls, and texts by checking your phone’s settings under mobile network options.
  5. Test Your Connection:
    • Once activated, make a test call or use data to ensure your eSIM works correctly.

Effortless Setup of your eSIM

With Simyo, the entire process of purchasing and activating your eSIM takes less than 5 minutes. The user-friendly interface and clear instructions ensure you can get connected without any hassle. Whether setting up your eSIM from within the Netherlands or abroad, Simyo makes the process seamless and straightforward.

In the next section, we’ll discuss choosing the right eSIM plan that fits your needs and budget, ensuring you get the most out of your mobile experience in the Netherlands.

4. Use Cases for an eSIM in the Netherlands

An eSIM provides a host of benefits tailored to the needs of international students and graduates in the Netherlands. Here are some practical scenarios where an eSIM can significantly enhance your experience.

  1. Simultaneously Using Two Phone Numbers. An eSIM allows you to maintain your home country number while having a Dutch number. This arrangement is ideal for staying in touch with family and friends back home while managing local contacts, such as new friends, university services, and local businesses.
  2. Seamless Data Usage Across the EU/EEA. With an eSIM from Simyo, you can use your data plan across the EU/EEA without incurring extra charges. For people going on weekend trips to neighboring countries, this feature helps you stay connected to navigation, social media, and essential apps.
  3. Competitive Plans for Study Exchanges. If you’re in the Netherlands for a short-term study exchange, an eSIM offers flexible, no-commitment plans. So, you can choose a plan that matches the duration of your stay, avoiding the need for long-term contracts.
  4. Job Hunting. A Dutch phone number on your resume can significantly boost your job prospects. Employers are more likely to respond to local numbers. An eSIM makes it easy to get and use a Dutch phone number while keeping your home number active for personal use.
  5. Contact Dutch Organizations Before Moving. As soon as you arrive in the Netherlands, you can activate your eSIM without the hassle of finding and purchasing a physical SIM card, so you can immediately connect to essential services like maps, transport apps, and contacting accommodation.
  6. Reliable Network Coverage. Simyo operates on the KPN network, which is known for its reliable and extensive coverage throughout the Netherlands. So whether in a busy city or a remote town, you’ll have a strong and consistent network connection.
  7. Environmental Impact. With an eSIM, you help reduce plastic waste associated with traditional SIM cards, a small but meaningful step towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

Navigating life as an international student or graduate in the Netherlands is full of exciting opportunities and new experiences, but staying connected should be easy. By choosing an eSIM, especially with a provider like Simyo, you can simplify your mobile connectivity, ensuring you have a reliable and flexible way to stay in touch with family, friends, and local contacts.

An eSIM offers numerous advantages, from the ease of setting it up before you arrive to the flexibility of managing your plan online. Simyo’s competitive pricing, reliable network, and user-friendly service make it an excellent choice for anyone looking to stay connected in the Netherlands.

Whether you need to manage two phone numbers simultaneously, enjoy seamless data usage across the EU/EEA, or ensure you have a Dutch number for job hunting, an eSIM is a versatile solution that adapts to your needs. With the ability to sign up from anywhere without needing a BSN, Simyo makes the transition to life in the Netherlands smoother and more convenient.

We hope you found this guide helpful as we listed all the information you need to understand, choose, and activate your eSIM in the Netherlands. Stay connected with family and friends and make the most of your experience in this wonderful country.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Can I use an eSIM with any smartphone?

Using an eSIM (embedded SIM) depends on the smartphone's hardware and software capabilities.  Typically, newer and higher-end models from manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, and Google have eSIM capabilities. Additionally, your mobile carrier must support eSIM activation and management for it to work.

To determine if your specific smartphone model supports eSIM, you can look up the specifications for your phone model on the manufacturer's website. You can also check phone settings by going to Settings > Cellular or Mobile Data on iPhones. On Android phones, the path can vary but usually involves going to Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile Network.

2. How much time does it take to activate a Simyo eSIM?

Activating a Simyo eSIM is a quick process that usually takes only a few minutes. Once you've completed the necessary installation steps, which include scanning a QR code or manually entering the eSIM details, the activation should be instantaneous. If everything goes smoothly, your eSIM will be ready for use almost immediately. However, in some cases, it might take up to a few hours depending on network conditions and other factors​.

3. What if I need more data or minutes during my stay?

If you need more data or minutes during your stay with Simyo, you can easily purchase additional bundles through the Simyo app or website. Simyo offers a variety of extra data packages that can be added to your existing plan, catering to different usage needs. You can choose from several options, depending on how much more data or minutes you require. Once purchased, these extras are typically activated immediately, ensuring you stay connected without interruption​​ .

4. Can I keep my eSIM active when I travel outside the Netherlands?

You can keep your Simyo eSIM active when traveling outside the Netherlands. Simyo offers international roaming services, allowing you to use your eSIM abroad. However, the availability and cost of roaming services can vary depending on your destination. It's advisable to check Simyo's international roaming rates and coverage before you travel to ensure you have the necessary services and to avoid unexpected charges. You can usually manage your roaming settings and purchase additional roaming bundles through the Simyo app or website​.

5. Is it possible to switch back to a physical SIM card if I prefer?

Yes, it is possible to switch back to a physical SIM card if you prefer. Most mobile carriers, including Simyo, provide the option to switch between an eSIM and a physical SIM. You should contact your carrier's customer service or visit their website to request a physical SIM card. The process typically involves deactivating the eSIM profile and activating the new physical SIM card in your device. Make sure to follow the carrier's instructions carefully to ensure a smooth transition.

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