How to save on public transport in the Netherlands?

In the Netherlands, transportation between particular locations can cost you much more money than youd expect, and thats what Im here for today: to enlighten you with some tips concerning methods of saving money when using public transport to travel around the entire country. I hope youll find this article useful!

  • Planes

Im not going to devote much time to the air transport since there is not much to talk about. But just so you know, in the Netherlands youll find airports in Amsterdam (Schiphol), Rotterdam & Den Haag, Eindhoven, Groningen and Maastricht (Aachen).

The Netherlands national carrier is KLM offering wide range of flights to/from all the afore mentioned airports. A wide array of airlines offer flights to Schiphol, lesser to other available locations. Between the low-cost airlines flying to the Netherlands belong RyanAir (Eindhoven), Transavia (Rotterdam & Den Haag), EasyJet (Schiphol). As for me, I prefer flying with KLM since it provides the passengers with more comfort and better service. Plus its priced reasonably.


  • OV-chipkaart

When travelling within the Netherlands, I highly recommend you this handy card:  the OV-chipkaart. Its used as an official transport payment system throughout the entire country for all types of trains, trams, buses and metro.

There are two types of this card (both cost the same: 7,50€): anonymous, which you can buy from the OV-chipkaart machines situated at all stations, or by the cassa at the bigger train and metro stations; and personal, which you can apply for online. Your pass can be loaded from one of the OV-chipkaart machines strategically placed at train and metro stations, or you can arrange for your personal card to load automatically from a bank account.

The advantages of owning such card:

  1. you dont need to be concerned about buying any separate tickets in advance
  2. you can enter and leave stations anytime you want
  3. it saves you a lot of money

The disadvantages of owning such card:

  1. you always have to check-in (inchecken) and check-out (uitchecken), and if you forget to do so, youre either considered a stowaway, or charged ridiculous amount of money until you check back in – you can prevent this by calling their helpline (0900 0980), since they are authorised to check you both in and out in their headquarters as well
  2. on personal cards you always have to have minimum amount of money (“saldo”) – 20€, otherwise its not serviceable

All in all, I think this card will help you in numerous ways, plus saves you a lot of money and time. Its very convenient! I purchased this card (personal one) when I was about to visit the Netherlands for the first time, and let me tell you how comfortable it was, not to care about buying any tickets anywhere! This is their website if youd be interested: OV-chipkaart.


  • Trains

Trains are the best mean of transport since theyre fast and reasonably priced (for OV-chipkaart owners, otherwise theyre quite pricey).

However, there is more than one type of trains in the Netherlands: Sprinter trains – what we all associate with being the worst trains, as they are less comfortable, smaller and don’t have toilets. Intercity trains – the cool double-decker trains and Intercity Direct trains – high-speed trains which get you from major city to major city in half the time of a normal Intercity train and tenth of the time itd take the Sprinter to overcome such distance. You can also choose between first and second class seats, and between common and quiet (“stilte”) wagons.


  • Trams

System of trams runs in every larger town, and its a perfect way of getting someplace else on the other side of the particular city.

Ive read somewhere that trams are working only in bigger cities like Adam, Rdam or Utrecht, but thats a pure lie: youll find them in Delft, which sometimes can not even be tracked on the map, hence I assume theyre to be found everywhere.


  • Metro

Underground is present in only two Dutch cities: Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Its the fastest and cheapest way of transport inbetween the proximate locations.


  • Buses

Buses are very common in the Netherlands, most of them run every at least 30 minutes, and almost all of them accept OV-chipkaart as well.


  • Cars

International car rental agencies are widely available throught the entire county, for instance Enterprise, Hertz, Europcar, Dollar or Avis. Renting a car is very affordable, however, its quite difficult to find a car park thats not occupied, or basically to access any city: in most of the towns theres a strict regulation of cars and usually theyre prohibited in the whole city centre.

When youre travelling to the Netherlands by your own car, a full pack of exquisite highways (all free of charge expect one tunnel) connecting all the municipalities around the country is available. Queues are pretty normal, too, mostly during the “spits” hours (6:30 – 9:30am, 3:30 – 7:00pm).


  • Taxis

Taxis are very expensive and not allowed to pick up people on the street except by reservation or at a taxi stand, look for the “standplaats taxis” sign. Therefore Id like to recommend you Uber, Taxify or likewise services.


  • Bikes

Bikes are the most common mean of transport in the Netherlands, and hiring or buying one is definitely a good decision. However, be careful and do not leave them unlocked (at least twice) and do not buy any from people on the street, because theyre most likely to be stolen!

All in all, in my opinion theres a great and elaborate system of transport, and now with the modern means of technology is travelling even more accessible than it used to be. So why not to use what we have and make the most out of it?

I hope this article helped you in some way, helped you with your struggles and answered your questions. Feel free to ask me anything!

Have a great day!


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