There are many ways and places to change money in Amsterdam. Here's some tips to get the most from your foreign currency.
The best exchange rate is going to come via your ATM card. You'll probably be charged a couple of dollars (or whatever your equivalent) by YOUR bank in your country for the transaction. Usually you're limited to about 300 Euros per day (you can ask your bank to increase your ATM limit before you go or even while you're here!). But the good news is that is the only charge (the Dutch banks don't add a charge) and you will get the best exchange rate (although they may now be giving you slightly less than before). Getting money this way cost you less than one percent.
Another way to get this top exchange rate is to use credit cards for your purchases which will be calculated at the market rate. With credit cards, you also have less cash to carry and possibly lose. This used to cost you ZERO in terms of exchange fees, but they may be changing this and giving you a slightly lower rate now.
The next best exchange rate is from traveler's checks, and if you have American Express, you can get a good rate at their offices or any bank or currency exchange. This rate is higher (for some reason) than real money.
If you have real currency to exchange you should be very careful because the rate can vary several percent depending upon where you go. Banks are not the best because they'll charge you a commission of about 2 1/2 percent in addition to a flat fee (like 3 Euros or so). This can add up to a lot if you have a lot to change. But of course they calculate this based upon the official rate of exchange. But let's say you change $100, you'd pay $2.50 plus 3 Euros to the bank for the transaction, which would work out to about 5%!
Many money changers work the same way, charging you two fees for one transaction. They also use some deception to make you think you're getting a good deal. But their rates are never anywhere near the "official rate", so you're getting a lousy deal all around.
Thus far we have found only one change place we can recommend, and that is Lorentz change. They charge no commision or fees, so you get exactly the rate posted, which is usually a few cents below the "official rate". That's it. Sure makes it easy to figure out, AND it happens to be the best deal in town, just as their signs claim. The second best place is probably Pott Change. Avoid the Thomas Cook as these seem to be the worst and surprisingly the busiest!
Notice: As of Jan. 28, 2002 the Guilder is no longer legal tender in Holland! The conversion rate for Guilders to Euros is 2.203 guilders per Euro.