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Public transportation

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.