Tourists from nearly 60 countries – including Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, the USA and most of Europe – need only a valid passport to visit the Netherlands for up to three months. EU nationals can enter for three months with just their national identity card or a passport that expired less than five years ago.
Nationals of most other countries need a so-called Schengen visa, valid within the EU member states (except the UK and Ireland), plus Norway and Iceland, for 90 days within a six-month period. Schengen visas are issued by Dutch embassies or consulates overseas and can take a while to process (up to two months). You'll need a passport that's valid until at least three months after your visit, and will have to prove you have sufficient funds for your stay and return journey.
The Netherlands Foreign Affairs Ministry (www.government.nl) lists consulates and embassies around the world. Visas and extensions are handled by the Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst (Immigration & Naturalisation Service; www.ind.nl). Study visas must be applied for via your college or university in the Netherlands.