Most dutchgrub readers, like many Amsterdam visitors, are used to being welcomed by fresh and cool water on the table of a restaurant. Complimentary, of course, and a great gesture to make the guest feel welcome and given a chance to settle in and refresh. This was never the case in Amsterdam where you would have to ask the waiter for tap water.

While this seemed merely a nuisance and easily explained by cultural differences, things seem to have gotten out of hand recently. On numerous occasions restaurants have employed dubious tactics to make extra money by selling beautifully designed and ridiculously overpriced bottles of water.

The methods vary. Some restaurants outright refuse serving tap water, which often results in rather comical situations where the waiter tries to explain that the restaurant does not have tap water. Eh, excuse me?!? More often waiters directly ask the guests whether they would like some water. They obviously fail to mention that this will be charged and take advantage of the situation by overwhelming visitors the minute they sit down. While these kind of scare tactics are still rare, there are many cases of tap water being charged for, grossly overpriced bottled water, or tap water filled into what looks like a bottle of commercial water.

It’s time to do something about this! The Dutch consumer protection organization got the ball rolling by publishing research (Dutch) that shows that some restaurants charge up to € 3,75 for a glass of water. And the first Facebook group of 10.000 fans of tap water in Dutch restaurants has formed.


tap water amsterdam restaurant