Of course, all EU/EAA citizens are exempt from visa requirements to visit the Netherlands. The other nationalities that are exempt can be found on the IND website (Immigration and Naturalisation Department) with this link: no Schengen visa necessary.
If you are not on any of these lists, then please read on.
Transit Visa Type A
For some nationalities, you need a transit visa if you make a stopover at the airport in the Netherlands (Type A visa). With this visa you may only change to another plane to a destination outside the Schengen area. You are not permitted to leave the airport.
The nationalities that require Type A visa in the Netherlands are: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, and South Sudan. (It is always important to check the IND site for the latest updates regarding changes to the list.)
Transit Visa Type B
The Type B visa is for travellers planning to travel through different Schengen countries by car, or travel through different Schengen airports to a non-Schengen country as a final destination. With this transit visa, one is allowed in the Schengen area for a maximum of five days only.
The list of nationalities is the same as above. (It is always important to check the IND site for the latest updates regarding changes to the list.)
Schengen Visa Type C
With the Type C visa you can stay in the Netherlands for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-days period. If you intend to travel in more than one country in the Schengen area, you must apply for a visa at the mission of the Schengen country where you intend to stay longest. If you intend to stay in each Schengen country for the same length of time, you must apply for the visa at the mission of the Schengen country to which you will travel to first when entering the Schengen Area.
Where and How to Apply for a Schengen Visa
You will have to apply for a Schengen visa at one of the Consulates on the Netherlands. In general, you must apply at the Consulate in the country where you legally reside, unless such a Consulate is not available and there are no visa representation arrangements with other Schengen consulates, then apply at a Consulate of the Netherlands in a country nearby.
An application for a Schengen visa must be submitted to the Consulate at least 15 working days before the intended visit. In general, an application cannot be lodged earlier than 3 months before the start of the intended journey.
You Need More Than a Schengen Visa
Even with your Schengen visa, you may still need to prove your means of sustenance if asked during border controls. In the Netherlands, you need to prove that you can support yourself financially—the bare minimum being 34 euros per person per day. You may also need to prove how long you intend to stay and the purpose of your visit.
It is therefore recommended that you carry with you copies of the documents that you presented when you applied for the visa (for example letters of invitation, travel confirmations, medical health insurance, other documents stating the purpose of your stay). This will help to make the border control procedure easier and avoid delays at the border, or refusal of entry.
Samir Rawas Sarayji