Travelling in the Netherlands

  • Public transportation and OV-card

    In the Netherlands public transport consists of trains, buses, trams and metros. Only Amsterdam and Rotterdam have (moderate) underground railway systems.

    If you wish to travel by public transport, using an ‘OV-chipkaart’ (public transport chip card) is strongly advised.

    Travelling with the 'OV-chipkaart'

    The ‘OV-chipkaart’ is a means of payment for the Dutch public transport system. This smart card is the size of a bankcard and contains an invisible chip. The ‘OV-chipkaart’ can be loaded with credit in Euros, with which you can travel anywhere within the Netherlands, or with a travel product (subscription).

    When you arrive in the Netherlands and if you are planning to utilise the public transport system, you will need to visit a public transport Service Desk, a vending machine at a railway station, or a tobacco or convenience store to purchase your ‘OV-chipkaart’.

    There are two types of ‘OV-chipkaart’ available, as follows:

    • The anonymous ‘OV-chipkaart’ (blue card),
    • The personalised ‘OV-chipkaart’ (yellow card).

    If you are planning to utilise public transport frequently during your stay in the Netherlands, it is advised to purchase your own ‘OV-chipkaart’.


    The Netherlands has an extensive railway network. Intercity trains run regularly between all Dutch cities. Local trains also stop at intermediate stations. On most trains, you can choose to travel by first or second class. Reservations for seats cannot be made on standard train services. If you do not like to use an 'OV-chipkaart', you may purchase one-use tickets from ticket vending machines at railway stations or online. However, check whether any special offers may apply.

    Railway stations are generally located centrally. For further and detailed information regarding departure times and fares, please visit the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways) website, or contact the Public Transport Travellers’ Information Line via the telephone number, +31900 9292 (EUR 0.70 per minute), which can only be called from within the Netherlands. Or visit the 9292 website.


    Outlying villages in the Netherlands are all linked by bus services. All larger towns and cities also have their own extensive bus and/or tram networks and provide regular services. Bus and tram services do not offer separate classes of travel. Buses depart from busstops and close to the central railway stations.


    9292 is a daily source of travel information for public transport for all kinds of passengers. Information on all modes of public transport (departure times and fares of trains, buses, trams and metros) is brought together in one app.

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    Special offers train

    This website (in Dutch) offers special offers on train tickets, it can be a good idea to check whether it is useful for you.

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  • ISIC card

    Public transport card with discount for international students

    Fontys University of Applied Sciences and ISIC have arranged a special public transport card with discount for international students.

    In the Netherlands you need an 'OV-chipkaart' to travel around with the train, bus, metro and tram.

    There are two possibilities:

    • An anonymous card without any discount (blue card)

    • A personal card, where you need a Dutch debit card and the buying process is written in Dutch (yellow card)

    Both options are not ideal for international students. That is why ISIC created the ISIC/OV-chipkaart, a custom-made card for international students. Buy the basic card for €15,- (including the ISIC card) and sign-up (optional) for services and discount created for international students for a small monthly fee:

    • 15% discount during off-peak hours on national railway (NS)

    • A digital ISIC card, with the best discounts in the Netherlands and the rest of the world

    • Customized application process for international students

    • Automatic top-up option (no more topping op of balance)

    • Travel data, customer service etc in ISIC mobility app

    • Public transport bike (OV-fiets) and storage

    You need to sign-up for your card here, which includes the public transport card + the digital ISIC card. After confirmation you will be able to pick-up your card during the introduction day at Fontys University of Applied Sciences.

    Enjoy your stay in the Netherlands!

    Your first train ticket in the Netherlands

    What to do when you arrive at Schiphol? Unfortunately you don’t have your OV-chipkaart yet, that is why ISIC offers you your first train ticket in the Netherlands for only €11,- (off peak hours) or €16,50 (peak hours).

     Specially for ISIC cardholders! With this ticket you can get on board at any station in the Netherlands and decide which station you want to go to.

     ISIC members or ISIC/OV-chipkaart holder can order the following tickets:

    • Train ticket during off-peak hours for €11 (normal price €21,10) = depart after 9 am on weekdays and the entire weekend.

    • Train ticket during peak hours for €16,50 (normal price €21,10) = only applicable for travel before 9 am on weekdays!

     Get the one-way tickets here!

  • Bikes

    The Netherlands is perfect for cycling, as more than 100,000 kilometres of trails and road networks are available (including many cycle paths). The Netherlands has a nationwide network of cycle paths totalling approximately 30,000 kilometres in length.

    Wherever using cycle paths is mandatory, this is indicated by a blue sign with a white bicycle symbol. Furthermore, cycle paths can be recognised by a red surface on which a white bicycle is printed. In any isolated locations without marked cycle paths, you may rest assured that drivers are generally very aware of cyclists.

    Cycling to get around

    One of the most common ways of moving around in the Netherlands is by bicycle. The Netherlands has more bicycles than people. Many people ride a bicycle and then take a train to travel to work or university, as you will see from the large numbers of bicycles parked at smaller railway stations. Larger railway stations have special bicycle parking garages. In the city centre, you will find places where you can park your bicycle. In some cases, such bicycle parking areas are guarded and in some locations, you will be obliged to pay a fee for parking your bicycle. In the centre, all of the guarded parking areas for bicycles are free of charge. It is important to ensure that you park your bicycle in an appropriate location, or you may return from a nice evening out and discover that your bicycle has been removed by the municipal services.


    The mild climate, short distances and excellent cycling infrastructure make cycling in the Netherlands not only practical, but also fun! Cycling is a good way to discover the Netherlands. You can hire a bicycle and if you are travelling by rail, you can take your bicycle with you. Just do not forget to purchase a special ticket for your bicycle for the train journey. When you go to another city for a day, you can also opt for renting a NS OV-fiets on a train station.

    In the southern part of the Netherlands, there is a multitude of challenging routes through hilly terrain, whereas in the western part of the Netherlands, you can cycle through the dunes. If you like mountain biking, there are also plenty of mountain biking routes in the Netherlands.

    Getting a bicycle

    Buying a new bicycle will cost between EUR 150 and EUR 500, whereas second-hand bicycles are readily available at much lower prices (e.g. as from approximately EUR 60). It is worth asking someone at the university to suggest a shop, to make enquiries at the ‘fietsenstalling’ (bicycle parking area) at the railway station and/or to regularly check the Notice Board at your university. For second-hand bicycles you can also check Facebook Marketplace or Marktplaats. You should be able to purchase a bicycle for a fair price. It is also important to purchase a good lock and/or chain for your bicycle. Some people secure their bicycles to immovable objects with steel chains to prevent theft. Please note that riding a bicycle without operational lights at night is illegal in the Netherlands, so make sure your bicycle has operational lights.

    Instead of buying a bicycle, you can also opt for a subscription with Swapfiets, which includes repairs for a set rate a month.

    Ambience photo Fontys