We are wandering around the Netherlands (on foot, hitch hiking, bicycle). We don't sleep in camping site, we put our tent anywhere "in the bush".

We are used to travel this way in Southern Europe but in the Netherlands we have trouble finding water (public water tap, public wc / street fountain so we could get water for showering / laundry / cooking.

Until now we only found water tap in cemetery which are not the best place to shower, (especially in "remote" conservative areas!).

Until now we could get enough water to cook by asking bars or restaurant but not enough for the laundry and a real shower.

If you live there, you might know some trick to find those precious water tap. Any other trick than laundry-bathing in smelly/polluted rivers, will be highly appreciated!

For instance in Southern Europe we find water to shower and laundry near churches (often there is tap), public fountain in parks, downtowns, cemeteries, free WC (street, train station). And when we can't manage to find anything we find a way (last option) in public WC, in library toilet or bigger supermarket.

Notice : we know about warmshowers and couchsurfing websites we just like to be independent, and spontaneous interaction and without taking into account that planning in advance would require quite a lot of organization / time / battery (because finding a plug is also quite a challenge: we fund one in a parking today!)

P.s: we know about the app "hoge nood" but it's not available on ios6.

  • 1
    There is a good reason to not allow wild camping. Too many people and not enough nature. And almost no public toilets.
    – Willeke
    Oct 6, 2022 at 14:51

4 Answers 4


First of all, in the Netherlands camping in the wild is prohibited, and they really don't like it.

Now you're in need for some water, first the good news, tapwater in the Netherlands is filtered and ready to drink, but like you said, you won't find much public water because of the expenses that are needed to get the water to a fountain (you have no water towers and the land is indeed very flat), so they'd need to put up pumps and everything. So I'd say the solution here is a large water sack to carry around. You'll have to get drinking water from restaurants, bars, cemetaries (watch out, water in cemetaries or the like shouldn't be drank because the water stands a lot and this can make you sick), farmers etc.

I always carry around 3 litres of drinking water, and for showering and washing my clothes, I'd use a river, lake etc. also you could need a douchebag, I got a 20l douchebag from Ortlieb which, so far, never disappointed me.

Just to stress it out a little bit more, if you get caught camping in the wild, the police can be a real hassle, and most likely they will. Better ask someone for permission to sleep on private property.

  • 1
    Thanks Jeredpp. Camping around towns and villages was a bit tough as it isn't easy to hide to the few people who saw us didn't say anything.
    – MagTun
    Oct 2, 2014 at 15:54
  • 1
    It is/was not the cost of water but the cost of having to prevent freezing of outdoor taps and public fountains when the winter turns cold. Now most places have a 'fill your bottle' tap but those will be taken out in winter.
    – Willeke
    Oct 6, 2022 at 14:47

There is a website which has a map listing all public fountains, some examples of how the fountains look can be found here. But most Dutch people tend to be friendly, so if you ask them if you can "borrow" a few liters of water, they tend to laugh and be very helpful.


I've wild-camped a few times in NL without problems. I guess it all depends on how well you hide and where you are.

Can't really help for rural area's. But in less rural areas:

Laundry: I'd expect laundry facilities for a few euro's in the poorer neighborhood of cities. Where students or immigrants live.

Water/shower: some truck stops/gasoline stations near highways may have these facilities.

  • Thanks Sdry for this reply. I forgot to mention in the question, that I was looking for "free" ways. Cemetery was the solution.
    – MagTun
    Oct 2, 2014 at 15:52
  • Thanks Sdry for this reply. I forgot to mention in the question, that I was looking for "free" ways. We ended up sleeping just outside cemeteries (easy to find in any villages where we were dropped and usually surrounded by bush), where we could get water. We also hear about "paalkamperen", it could have been a really good way but it's a bite complicated to get there by hitchhiking! paalkamperen
    – MagTun
    Oct 8, 2014 at 12:13

About water, I cannot say that much. As long as the water is flowing, mostly it is good, however if there are agriculture lands around the river (which is very often the case), it might be filled with pesticides or other chemicals making you sick.

Except for bars etc, I'm sure most people want to give some water as water from the taps is really cheap. So far, only in the Biesbos (an area called this way), which is quite a remote area people didn't want to give water since they did not have connection to the water system (which is very rare in the Netherlands).

About camping in the wild, yes it is prohibited, so don't get caught. In a forest this should not be a problem. I used to camp every year a few days in the winter time, and we got caught once. Luckily not by police. As far as I know, you have to hand over your camping gear and can expect a fine. But we had a forest watcher who caught us. He was in a good mood because he saw we did not make a mess. He said we had to leave within 20 minutes and leaving no traces behind, so that was ok. Probably because he liked there were still people enjoying the nature (which is rare these days).

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