Since I haven’t been in the Netherlands too long yet, I do not have a bank account. Now that I am registered as a legal resident, I technically can get one at any point, however. One thing that I find a bit strange with the Netherlands is the apparent passivity to receiving and spending large denominations of euros – particularly €50. Especially when you consider that right now €50 is closer to $60.
Oddity #1: Dutch ATMs prefer to give you a €50 bill at all costs. If you ask for €60, you will get a €50 bill and a €10 bill back. In the US, you always get back $20s. Of course, I could ask for €20 each time, but I am still using my American debit card (tied to my Chase account) to withdraw money, and there’s a $5 fee for use in foreign ATMs. That’s fair, but it does mean that I will always try to withdraw €100 to reduce how many times I have to pay the fee. I might withdraw even more (like €200), but considering my luck, the machine would probably give me two €100 bills!
Oddity #2: Most stores seem oddly nonplussed about accepting €50 bills. Of course, this is limited to the stores I have frequented so far, but half the time I expect an alarm to go off and the police to swoop in an arrest me for trying to hand over a €50 bill for a €15 purchase. (I’m joking, but I did have to break a €50 for a €15 purchase today.) I have memories of the hometown Burger King refusing to accept $50 bills even for a purchase around twenty five dollars. So I had it ingrained in me as a child that you just don’t do that. If you can help it. Exceptions: buying clothes, etc, where the total tends to be higher by default.
Oddity #3: Dutch banks will look at you funny if you ask for smaller change. This one I only know from asking questions, but I don’t doubt it. I am used to the US where I had to ride the bus back and forth daily. It wasn’t that far of a ride, so I only needed $1 bills (about $4 a day), but… My routine was to go to the bank every week and break a twenty dollar bill into singles. The bank tellers knew me by name, and sometimes even started counting out singles before I was at the desk. (Useful except when I was really there to withdraw a rent.)
I did see a sign in Xenos (a thrift-ish store) saying no €100 bills or higher, though I do know they will accept €50s (even if your purchase is less than €8…!). Hmm.