You may not bring these souvenirs from abroad

As a memory of the holiday or holiday destination, souvenirs are regularly taken home. Only some things are not allowed back with you. We list which ones they are.

Not more expensive than 430 euros

First of all, it is important to know that if you go on holiday outside the European Union (EU), you can take back goods for EUR 430.00 per person. person. If you have items of more value with you, you must submit a declaration. This can be done at the airport itself. At Schiphol, you choose the ‘goods declaration’ exit. This rule does not apply within the EU. It applies both inside and outside the EU that you are wise to avoid certain products.

Animals and plants

For example, you may not take protected animals home. Items made from this are also strictly prohibited. This includes, for example, crocodile leather handbags and ivory jewellery. Dressings made from animal skins are also not recommended, as these can be made from protected animals.

Dangerous souvenirs

Perhaps it is obvious, but you must also not bring euphoric drugs, drugs, (fake) weapons, pepper spray, ammunition and explosives from abroad. If you do, you can expect a meeting with customs.

Shells and corals

They are beautiful, but large shells and corals are best left out. It is also best not to buy jewelry made from this. Corals and some shells are protected.


Do you see a beautiful plant at your holiday destination? Do not take this or a carving of it as a souvenir. The plant can carry diseases and spread them in the Netherlands. This can have serious consequences for nature, growers and traders.

To eat

Even something innocuous like bringing food as a souvenir can get you stopped at customs. Rules apply to the import of fruit and vegetables from countries outside the EU. “This is an attempt to prevent the spread of plant diseases and pests,” explains Pascale Schreurs, press officer for the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). Meat and dairy products from countries outside the EU are also not allowed to travel to prevent outbreaks of infectious animal diseases. Do you still want to bring animal products to yourself? This list tells you what to keep in mind.

Drink and tobacco

Spirits and tobacco can be cheaper abroad than here in the Netherlands. It is good to know before you store the products that there are rules for taking them with you. You can import these products up to certain quantities. An overview of the exact amounts can be found on the Tax Authorities’ website. Did you bring more? You can then submit a declaration at Schiphol.


Do you see fake sunglasses, polo, bag or belt from an expensive brand? Then you can just take it with you. However, do not buy these souvenirs for all your friends or family, because it is not allowed. It is allowed for personal use and in small quantities. Do you own really expensive things? Always bring proof of purchase. Since June 2021, customs has been extra focused on travelers with expensive items to better tackle money laundering.

Comprehensive list

In addition to the rules for the above souvenirs, there are also rules for bringing in cash, art and medicine that you bring from your holiday. An updated overview can be found on the Tax Authorities’ website.

Check with the app

Are you now abroad and in doubt about a particular souvenir? Take a picture of it and post it on the Customs Netherlands Facebook page with the hashtag #magditmee. Skat also has a Toldrejse app. This tells you exactly what you can take back from which country in the world. The app can be downloaded for free from the App Store and Google Play Store.

Source: The state, the Tax Authorities, the MAX Today archive, Photo: Shutterstock

Leave a Comment