Public Transport In the Netherlands

Public transport in the Netherlands is well organized. It can be a little bit different than public transport in your country of origin, so I prepared some basic information about how it works.

Tickets

Dutch public transport ticket machine
NS ticket machine

You can buy tickets at the ticket machines located at the station or single tickets from the bus driver/conductor. Those tickets are a little bit more expensive (+€1), so if you’re going to travel frequently with public transport, you definitely should look into getting OV Chipkaart to save some money on your trip.

Also, you have to keep in mind that some ticket machines will allow you to pay with coins (no bills unfortunately) but most take only cards (VISA/Mastercard/Maestro). If you want to buy your ticket from bus driver, you have to pay with your card, since transactions are cashless.

OV Chipkaart

OV Chipkaart
Anonymous OV Chipkaart

OV Chipkaart allows you to travel with any form of public transport in the Netherlands, such as bus, tram, train and metro. There are two types of OV Chipkaart – anonymous and personalized.

With anonymous OV Chipkaart you top up your card and you ride on your card balance. You need at least €20 on your card to be able to travel with the train or at least €4 to travel with the bus, tram and metro. You don’t know if you have enough money on your OV Chipkaart? You can check it online or at the ticket machines.

You can get OV Chipkaart at the ticket machines at the station or authorized sellers (you can find the nearest one here). It costs €7.50 + your chosen amount of top up. If you plan to use public transport frequently, it may be an option for you.

Or you can apply for personalized OV Chipkaart (also costs €7.50) and enjoy even bigger discounts with subscriptions, if public transport is your main way of commuting.

Checking In & Out

Dutch train station

Dutch public transport has it’s own system of checking in and out every time you travel. It can seem strange for some people, me included. First time I traveled with PT in the Netherlands, I got a single ticket at the train station and I thought I was good to go, because checking in and out is for public transport cardholders (OV Chipkaart), right?

Boy, I was wrong. During ticket inspection I was told I had to check in before I got on the train… Fortunately I didn’t get the fine because it happened couple years ago, during transition to the system they have now, so NS employee understood my confusion. Never forgot to check in and out again (so far 🤞🏻).

Check in and check out is required in every form of public transport – train, bus, metro and tram.

How to Plan Your Journey?

If you want to plan your journey, you can use the official website – 9292.nl or 9292 mobile app (you can find it in your app store). If you want to check the cost of your travel, I would recommend using 9292.nl website, because the app doesn’t show this information. You can find travel cost (with OV Chipkaart) at the end of the information about the route every time you search for one.

Even using Google Maps is fine. It will show you real time information, so you know when there’s any delay or even see where your bus/tram is, before it arrives at your stop.

I hope you found useful information about public transport in the Netherlands in this post. Maybe you have some experience with Dutch public transport that you want to share or any questions? If you do, please leave your thoughts below.