Information about train service and traveling by rail in the Netherlands including service classes, ticket supplements, bring a pet or bicycle onboard and what to do when you forget to check out with your OV-Chipcard.
TRAVELING BY TRAIN IN THE NETHERLANDS
The Dutch national train system is operated by NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen). There are nearly 400 stations in the country, which are served by express (Intercity) or local (Sprinter) trains. Over 60 Dutch cities have multiple train stations including Amsterdam (11), Rotterdam (7), Utrecht (7) and The Hague (6).
Standard NS Intercity trains have first and second class cars; doors on the outside of the train show a ‘1’ or ‘2’ to denote the class. A passenger must travel in a carriage matching the ticket service they have purchased.
A train conductor walks through the cars equipped with a mobile card reader. The passenger must present their ticket/OV-Chipcard which will be scanned to make sure the passenger checked in before boarding the train. A passenger traveling without a ticket/OV-Chipcard or one who has failed to scan their card at the start of their journey, can receive a fine in addition to the ticket cost which must be purchased from the conductor. A passenger unable to pay for a ticket will be asked to exit the train at the next station.
Although the OV-Chipcard is used across all forms of public transportation in the Netherlands, a passenger must scan their card in and out when switching between different modes of transportation. For example, a passenger whose journey includes a train segment and a tram segment must scan the card before boarding the train to start that segment of the journey (the card reader will beep once) and scan it again when departing the train to end the segment (the card reader will beep twice). The passenger then needs to scan the card again when they board the tram (the card reader will beep once) and scan it a final time when exiting the tram (card reader will beep twice).
A passenger who forgets to scan out when exiting has up to 6 hours to return to the station to scan their card. After that time, the passenger is charged for a full day of unlimited travel (referred to as a ‘boarding fee’). They can request a refund online for this charge once 24 hours have passed. If the passenger has set up a ‘Mijn NS’ account, the amount is refunded to the bank account attached to the profile. If they do not have a ‘Mijn NS’ account, the refund must be manually loaded onto the OV-Chipcard using a yellow/blue OV-Chipcard machine at the train station.
TYPES OF TRAIN TICKETS
Expats living in Holland and travelers visiting the Netherlands will likely be interested in different types of train tickets. Residents will find the seasonal and annual subscription options more cost effective as they offer a 40% discount on regular fares.
Train tickets available:
– Single day unlimited travel
– Amsterdam Travel Ticket: 1, 2 and 3-day options for unlimited travel within Amsterdam
– Amsterdam Region Travel Ticket: 1, 2 and 3-day options for unlimited travel in the Amsterdam region which includes Haarlem, Almere, Hilversum, Lelystad and surroundings
– Holland Travel Ticket: 1-day unlimited travel in Holland outside of rush hours (cannot be used Monday to Friday before 09:00 or between 16:00-18:30)
– Dal Voordeel: €50 annual fee which gives the holder 40% discount on travel Monday to Friday during non-rush hours and all day on weekends
– Altijd Voordeel: annual subscription with monthly fee that gives the holder same discount as above plus 20% on travel during peak hours
– Weekend Vrij: annual subscription with monthly fee that provides the holder with free unlimited weekend travel and 40% discount on travel Monday to Friday during non-peak hours
– Dal Vrij: annual subscription with monthly fee that provides the holder with free unlimited travel on weekends and Monday to Friday during non-peak hours
– Traject Vrij: annual subscription with monthly fee that provides the holder with free unlimited travel along a specific route and 40% discount on all other routes
– Altijd Vrij: annual subscription with monthly fee that provides the holder with unlimited travel on all days at all times
BRINGING A BIKE ON THE TRAIN
Folding bikes are allowed on NS trains at no additional cost any time of the day. They must be in the folded position.
A regular, non-folding bike can be taken on the train* by purchasing a bike supplement ticket (dagkaart-fiets) from the yellow/blue OV-Chipcard machine available at most stations. The current cost for this supplement is €6.20 and allows the passenger to bring one bike on the train for the day it is purchased. The passenger can board and exit the train an unlimited number of times and travel an unlimited distance with the supplement. The traveler must remember to scan themselves in and out as a passenger for each journey taken that day. The passenger should board the train using doors marked with a bicycle symbol.
*Non-folding bikes are not allowed on trains during peak commuting rush hours (Monday to Friday before 09:00 and between 16:00-18:30) even with a bike supplement. The restricted hours do not apply during the months of July/August.
BRINGING A PET ON THE TRAIN
A passenger can travel with a dog or cat on a train in the Netherlands. A day dog supplement ticket (dagkaart-hond) can be purchased from the yellow/blue OV-Chipcard machines in most stations. The dog must be on a leash and must sit/lay on the floor (not in a passenger seat).
Guide dogs are allowed to travel with their owner but must be wearing a harness or emblem which easily identifies it as a support animal.
A dog or cat small enough to sit in a basket or cage on the passenger’s lap is allowed to travel free and does not require a day dog supplement ticket.
LOST AND FOUND
Passengers often leave items on the train when traveling in the Netherlands. Items found are stored at the station where they were turned in for 5 days. After that time they are transferred to the NS central lost and found location in Utrecht.
A traveler who loses something on a train should fill in the online lost form which officially assigns the item a case number.
The passenger can check with the NS service desk at the station to see if the item was turned in (or subsequent stations along the route where it could have been turned in). They can also call the Lost & Found department at +31 030-751 5155. If the item is still at the station where it was turned in, it can be picked up without charge by showing a valid proof of identification.
If the item is not located within 5 days, the passenger will be notified within 4 weeks if it is has been recovered at the central lost and found. The email will have instructions on how to claim the lost article.