Depending on your nationality you might need a visa to cross the border into the Netherlands or into Schengen area (which comprises of many European countries).
Schengen visa (short term visa)
This is a visa which allows you to stay for a maximum of 90 days. It depends on your nationality if you need a visa. You can check if there is a visa requirement for you by using the visawizard. This visa is often referred to as a tourist visa. This is not entirely correct, as the visa will always be issued for a particular purpose of stay. “Tourism” is one possible purpose of stay, but so is “research” or “business”.
The Schengen visa will usually allow you to travel throughout all countries in the Schengen area. Sometimes the visa might be limited to a single country (i.e. the Netherlands). In that case, the Schengen visa will only allow you to travel to and through that particular country.
Your visa will be valid for a specific period (with a maximum of 90 days). Note that the visa can be granted for a period shorter than 90 days depending on the specific circumstances. Your stay in the Schengen area is limited to a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days. This means that once you have been in the Schengen area for 90 days you may not return until another 90 days have passed.
A Schengen visa is a sticker in your passport. The sticker will mention information such as the expiry date of the visa, the maximum number of days you are allowed to stay, and the countries you have been granted access to.
Where to apply?
You must apply for a Schengen visa in person at a Dutch embassy or consulate. It is not possible to authorize somebody else to apply on your behalf. You may visit the nearest Dutch mission in your home country. It is also possible to apply at a Dutch mission in another country, as long as you have lawful residence in that particular country. Lawful residence means that you have a valid residence permit for that country. If you hold a tourist visa, you do not qualify as a lawful resident.
Find out where the nearest Dutch embassy or consulate is located on the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.