One of the main questions we are being asked by our expat clients from day one of their arrival to the Netherlands is about Dutch public transportation, which is why we have compiled all the relevant information regarding public transport travelling, tickets and discounts, as well as the top practical tips for you in this complete guide. Read up on the most important things to bear in mind when travelling by public transport in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands has an excellent and reliable public transport system which can take you from A to B with no hassle. Train, bus, tram, metro, ferry and -of course- public bikes, are all at your disposal.
Are you looking for a comfortable, fast and modern means to get around in the Netherlands? Then the Dutch railway will not let you down. You can visit beautiful landscapes and explore hidden gems throughout the country by taking the train. Have you found the perfect accommodation in Amsterdam, but your work is in Rotterdam? Don’t worry! The train can take you from Amsterdam Central to Rotterdam in no more than 40 minutes. The locals are also used to travelling to neighbouring cities for work.
Wherever you are in the Netherlands, the bus services with their great connections will take you easily and affordably to your destination. The tram is the best way not only to reach your destination but also to enjoy some sightseeing along the way! Tram services usually start at 6 am and run until midnight. In Amsterdam and Rotterdam, 2 of the biggest Dutch cities, in addition to bus and tram, you can also take the metro. The metro is the fastest way to commute in the city centre and nearby areas. You can also take your bicycle with you on the train as well as the metro, usually outside peak hours, and you will need a bicycle day ticket for this. Be aware that you cannot place your bike anywhere but there are indicated areas on the train and metro with the relevant label.
In a country full of canals, it makes perfect sense that the Netherlands also provides ferry services. In Amsterdam, you can take the ferry from Central Station to Noord (North) sailing over the IJ river completely free of charge and you can take your bike or motorcycle with you! Have you ever heard of water taxis? If you find yourself in Rotterdam and you want a very fast and fun way to get around then try the water taxi! This is a paid option and fares may vary.
You cannot be in the Netherlands and not have public bikes at your disposal. The OV-fiets with almost 300 locations in the Netherlands at stations, bus or metro stops, allows you to rent a bike and go wherever you want like a local. You can rent an OV-fiets only if you own a personal OV-chipkaart (read below).
When using the Dutch public transport, you need to own an OV-chipkaart. There are 3 types of OV-chipkaarten you can opt for: single-use, anonymous and personal.
The single-use card is mainly for tourists and those who do not travel frequently, and it has limited validity. You can use it on bus, tram and metro but you will need a separate single-use OV card for the train. This type of card costs more than the other two, which is why we only recommend it to short-term visitors.
For those of you who commute daily to work or travel within the country regularly, an anonymous OV card is a must. It allows you to use all means of public transport and it is a more affordable option. In order to use it, you need to charge credit to your card and you can do so either at a service desk or a ticket vending machine found at most stations. Please note that in order to use this card on the train, you need to charge it with at least 20 euros, which can vary depending on your route, and you can do so at an NS ticket vending machine (yellow).
If you want to buy single-use or anonymous OV-chipkaart you can do so at the service desk or look for ticket vending machines with the pink OV-chipkaart logo.
Finally, you can also apply for a personal OV-chipkaart which costs 7,50 euros and is valid for 5 years. The personal card has your personal details and photo, and you do not need to charge it with credit. One benefit of the personal card is that you can block it in case of loss or theft, which is not possible with the other 2 types. With your personal OV card you can also benefit from various different discounts you can choose from! You can always ask our consultants which option is the best for you.
Important tip: Don’t forget to check in and out as you will be charged a penalty or your card will be blocked! If such thing happens, you can request a refund here.
Do you need a personal public transport planner? With the 9292 app, you can plan all your trips, choose your destination and the app will show you up-to-date travel information for all public transport in the Netherlands as well as alternative travel advice and many more.
Do you have more questions regarding Dutch public transportation, costs and discounts? Do you need personal assistance in your relocation process? Jimble’s experienced relocation specialists can support you and your family from A to Z in a completely stress-free way. Head over to our contact page and schedule an appointment with one of our skilled experts to discuss all your questions extensively.