When ordering from department stores in the United States, an important point to remember is that because it is not part of the EU, merchandise purchased online to be delivered to you in the Netherlands, will be subject to both import duties and VAT tax. Most American retailers that offer international shipping work with a 3rd party which handles some portion of the checkout process.
For example, they may work with a company like Fifty One, which specializes in the duty structure of foreign countries by merchandise category such that they are able to calculate and build in all charges related to the purchase, such that when it arrives, it is delivered without any further C.O.D. costs. By charging the VAT and duty at the point of checkout, they are able to apply the amount to the import invoice when it goes through customs in the destination country, so the assessed charge is handled before it gets deliverd to you.
Another example is a 3rd party like MyUS.com. In this case, they are what is referred to as a freight forwarder. Many retailers which won't offer foreign delivery for whatever reason (liability, high return costs, etc), partner with a company like MyUS.com. MyUS.com provides an American address located at one of its warehouses in Florida. The retailer is more than willing to ship to that domestic address, as it creates no additional issues for them than any other domestic order. MyUS.com will then forward the package from its Florida warehouse to you in the Netherlands. In this case, import duty and VAT will need to be paid at the time the order gets delivered to you. The delivery service will usually require that the amount due is paid in cash, so remember to have the approximate amount on hand around the time you expect the package to be delivered.
Knowing the differences between 3rd-party processes, will give you a better understanding of what your final cost is likely to be. From there you can decide whether if it is still worth it, or if you should search for a similar product locally.
In the chart below, retailers which deliver to the Netherlands without having charged Dutch import taxes are coded with "YES" (meaning you should expect a an additional C.O.D. fee when the package arrives). Those which have used a 3rd party checkout which includes the Dutch import taxes are coded with a "NO" (meaning no additional costs should be expected when the package arrives).
If you're asking yourself whether it would even be worth ordering merchandise from an American store and having it shipped to the Netherlands, there is no definite answer. If you happen to find a great sale item at an American online retailer which is not available here in the Netherlands (or it is available but still at full-price), than it could be worth buying the item. Not only are you getting the upfront discount, but with the value of the Euro being higher than the American dollar, the starting price is also lower than it would be here in the Netherlands. In this case, even with the added VAT (which you would have to pay anyway here in the Netherlands) and import tax (duty charges vary by product category, so certain goods are at a higher import duty % and others at lower ones), you should still end up with a good deal on the item.
As for those British retailers which will deliver to the Netherlands, because the UK is a member of the EU, there are no additional fees at the time of delivery.
|STORE NAME||TYPE||COUNTRY||EXPECT ADDITIONAL C.O.D. CHARGES|
|Barnes & Noble||Specialty Retailer||USA||Yes|
|BH Cosmetics||Specialty Retailer||USA||Yes|
|Forever 21 UK||Specialty Retailer||UK||No|
|Heidi Klein||Specialty Retailer||UK||No|
|His Room||Specialty Retailer||USA||No|
|House of Fraser||Department Store||UK||No|
|Liberty London||Department Store||UK||No|
|Lord & Taylor||Department Store||USA||No|
|Oliver Sweeney||Specialty Retailer||UK||No|
|Planet Shoes||Specialty Retailer||USA||No|
|Puma UK||Specialty Retailer||UK||No|
|Route One||Specialty Retailer||UK||No|
|Saks Fifth Avenue||Department Store||USA||No|
|Urban Outfitters||Specialty Retailer||UK||No|