Transport in Amsterdam and The Netherlands

Getting around the city…and farther afield…

Transort in Amsterdam. Of course, the iconic bicycle is the form of transport most associated with the Netherlands and in Amsterdam you can clearly see that it is the default mode of transport. Here we will look at all the other methods for getting around the city and the country.

Transport in Amsterdam


NEW ! Thalys direct to Disneyland from Amsterdam, Schipol and Rotterdam

Thalys Amsterdam Disneyland

Great news ! From the end of March 2019 you will be able to catch a train from Amsterdam to Disneyland. That is great news for families and adults wanting to enjoy all the fun and magic of that great theme park.

Can you imagine how excited the kids will be ! And it makes it so much easier than going all the way into Paris and coming out to Marne La Vallée again.

For more information you find it on the relevant Thalys page.

The train also stops at Schipol and Rotterdam. If you book early and adult return is from just 70 euros and a child fare (4-11 years old) is from 30 Euros.

The trip from Amsterdam takes around 4 hours. Departures times vary, but some trains leave Amsterdam at 6.40 AM. That means you could arrive there before 11 AM. Last trains back leave around 8 PM. So a day trip would be rushed, but possible.

What fun !


Getting around the city…and farther afield…

Transort in Amsterdam. Of course, the iconic bicycle is the form of transport most associated with the Netherlands and in Amsterdam you can clearly see that it is the default mode of transport. Here we will look at all the other methods for getting around the city and the country. There are many other ways of getting around – here’s where to find out all you need to know about all of them, including trams, trains, busses and issues regarding foreign driving licences to finding out the times of the trains.

For travel by bike, bike information, routes, safety and what to do when your bike gets stolen, please see the section for that topic.

Let’s just start by saying that we are great big fans of transport system in and around Amsterdam. Yes, delays and cancellations happen, but they are incredibly rare. The services almost always run on time and the staff are very helpful and kind. It looks like a well-oiled machine !


Remember this number. It’s a goldmine of information ! Travel planner website 9292  ( gives information on departure times and schedules across all forms of public transport and all transport companies, as well as the walking routes between specified addresses and their stops. It gives you in a click all the essential need to know stuff you need to go from A to B. It’s great !

Of course, if you need maps of the various lines, these can be found at bus stops and can also be obtained from some information offices

The Trains

The train service in the Netherlands is excellent, though people do often complain about delays or cancellations. Generally, it runs on time and there are serious savings that can be made. More on this below. For a small country, it is a really amazing service. For all  information on travel times and timetables on the website of Dutch rail – Nederlandse Spoorwegen, (NS).

English link: NS Trains

There are two types of services provided by the train network:

•Intercity (or express) trains that link up the main cities 

•Local trains which stop at more smaller towns.

Trains in Amsterdam

 There are also International trains. 

The Thalys.

This service links Amsterdam to Brussels, Paris, Lille, Cologne and many planes on the way. It also runs ski trains direct to the pistes.

Link to Thalys site

The Eurostar.

The Eurostar finally came to Amsterdam recently. 2 trains a day direct from London and 4 to London with a change in Brussels. We expect this to evolve over time. You can check and book on the Eurostar site or with the NS International site :

Link to Eurostar site

All of the above regularly have excellent deals online to visit the destinationions and can be as fast city to city as taking the plane and often at less cost. 

Buying Tickets

You can plan and book your tickets online Passengers travelling without a valid ticket will be fined. You can print them at home for ease. Or you can simply use the easy to use machines in the stations. Only the major cities have ticket machines that will accept international credit cards. There is, of course, a team of humans in the ticket offices ready to help you get your tickets.

Note: Tickets may not be bought on a train.

OV Chipkaart

As you probably already know, the very best way to travel is getting a personal OV Chipcard. Some time ago, the public transport system has moved to a smart card system. These are available as a personalised product only available to residents (with photo and the opportunity to buy season tickets of various kinds) or anonymous (at a cost of €7.50 plus transport costs). You can load them up yourself using the machines in the station and in many other shops and supermarkets where you find them.

Personal chipkaarts must maintain a balance of €10 or more while anonymous chipkaarts must maintain a balance of €20 or more.

The OV-Chipkaart must be swiped at a yellow card reader or turnstile at the beginning and at the end of the journey. Passengers who forget to checkout, are charged an amount equal to an entire day of unlimited travel (which will be substantially higher than a standard one-way fare). You can ring up customer services and tell them you forgot to check out and sometimes they credit your card. Subscribe for the email refund service here :

One-off trips are best served by:

•One Way (Enkele reis) and Day Return (Dagretour)

•Day Ticket (Dagkaart) and OV Dagkaart which allow unlimited travel around the country for one day (the OV is valid for train, bus, tram and metro). So if you want to visit a couple of places in one day that is an excellent offer. 

There are many deals for regular commuters and this can be found on the NS website

If you want to travel a lot on the weekends to visit the fabulous Netherlands and all it has to offer, you could opt for the Weekend Vrij season ticket.

You get 40% off all off break train travel in the month and unlimited travel on the Dutch train network on the weekends. If you really use it that is a brilliant offer.If you have children, another fantastic option is the

Kids Vrij option. Three 

Children can travel for free when you go. All the details can be found at the Kids Vrij site

You can charge up your OC Chipcard yourself at the yellow machines, or automatically have money added to it for you by prior arrangement on the website. Here is the link to automatically reload credit your OV card online :

If you are a tourist or you have guests visiting you, the easiest way to avoid travel headaches around Amsterdam is to get a 1, 2 or 3 day unlimited Travel ticket. Hop on, hop out. It’s so simple ! Remember to check out of course ! All the informalion and prices for these great ticket deals can be found here :

Bicycles are not allowed on trains in the morning and evening rush hours (except during July and August). although if you have a folding bike in a bag that is possible. Certain carriages on the train have dedicated areas with additional space for passengers with bikes. Passengers transporting bicycles must enter through the train doors marked with a bicycle symbol. It is necessary to buy a Bike day ticket (Dagkaart Fiets) and this needs to be punched and are 6,20 Euros at the moment.

Buses, Trams and Metro in Amsterdam

GVB is the main public transport company in Amsterdam. It covers bus, tram, ferry and metro services in the city, in the surrounding towns, Diemen and Amstelveen, and Amsterdam-Schiphol airport.

There are 42 bus routes, 15 tram lines, 7 ferry links and 4 metro lines in the city. It is an incredible service that allows millions and millions of journeys every year.

GVB provides an online guide to all its services in a number of languages.

•To view timetables, maps, ticket and OV-chipkaart information in English: Click here

GVB Customer Services
Tel: 0900 8011

The Amsterdam Trams

Details and contact information on the national bus transport system…

Holland has four types of bus service for travel throughout the country.

•City bus: serves large towns

•Regional bus: covers main cities and their nearby towns

•Express Service: runs in and around the main cities with fewer stops than a regional bus

•Interliner: long distance connection between selected towns (makes very few stops)

Buses and trams run generally from 06:00-00:00 although on Sundays and public holidays, transport services may start a little later.

An online journey planner covering bus and train travel are available from 9292.


The metro is the best way to quickly reach outer lying districts inclusion Amstelveen, Bijlmer, Diemen, etc. Exciting news ! The recently opened Metro line now connects Amsterdam Zuid to Station Noord in 15 minutes. Hugely over budget and late, it is the new jewel in the GVB crown. Early reviews are very positive and we expect that this will give a massive boost to people living in Noord and people thinking of going to live there. that is great news, as we love Noord !

For tickets on the metro just use your OC Chipkaart. It’s so simple !


If you live in and around Amsterdam it is well worth investing a little time to familiarise yourself with the bus network. At peak times it can often be the fastest mode of transport. they are regular and make so many stops that you might find they go much nearer to your for than the trams and the metro do. Depending where you live the RED Busses to the airport can be very useful, fast and much cheaper than a taxi.

Buses routes are often evolving so use the 9292 service to make sure you get on the right one.

It is worth noting that as with other forms of transport, you cannot now use cash to pay on the buses. So remember to charge up your cards !

Buses in Amsterdam

Night buses (Nacht-bussen)

Amsterdam tram, bus and metro services run from 06:00-00:30. During the night, there are eleven night bus routes running between 00:30-07:30.

•For further information about night buses: Click here

Regional Bus Services

Connexxion is the largest public transport company in the Netherlands and serves most of the country. It runs local and regional buses in Flevoland, Gelderland and North Holland.

The Connexxion website gives information on departure times and schedules, provides a travel planner and also supplies maps for the walking routes between specified addresses and their stops. Maps of the various lines can be found at bus stops and can also be obtained from some information offices.

•For further information: Click here


Amsterdam is becoming a city of two halves. More and more people comments from Nord to central Amsterdam. The free ferry service is incredible. Several routes that run 24 hours a day (more ferries in peak times of course) will get you across the river in safety. 

these ferries easily allow you to visit fabulous Noord. the Eye Film Museum is an absolution must to visit as is the NDSM a hub for cultural industries and a massive monthly second hand market.

Make sure you are on the right ferry. Just ask a local if unsure…it’s better than ended up in the wrong place. the departure times are clearly shown on the big countdown clocks.

Delays and refunds

The NS will refund train delays of over 30 minutes in certain circumstances. Delays of 30 to 60 minutes are refunded 50 percent of the fare. More than a 60 minute delay will result in a full refund. This does not apply in the case of national power failures or if the delay was planned in advance, for example in case of track works.

•Tel: 0900 202 1163

•Read comprehensive information in English on how to make a claim

Disabled passengers

Most manned stations offer assistance from NS service staff agents to help when boarding and disembarking from the train. This service is available to wheelchair users, the visually impaired and other disabled people, as well as those who are temporarily disabled.

•Further information on train travel for the disabled

Train schedules are available to hearing and sight impaired people in spoken text, Braille and digitally; the website accommodates digital Braille readers.

•Sight impaired: information on schedules Tel: +31 (0) 486 486486).

•Hearing impaired: information on schedules Tel: +31 (0) 30 2353935

Trains are accessible to most wheelchairs, although some restrictions are applied to width and weight. Fuel-based motor vehicles are excluded from trains, but special scooters may sometimes be allowed, depending on the time of day and number of people travelling. Journey helpers are available at most stations and train conductors are available on all routes to assist with train wheelchair ramps and other needs.

How to apply for assistance

•Bureau Assistentieverlening Gehandicapten (Disabled Assistance Office)

•Tel: +31 (0) 30 2357822

Apply for assistance at least three hours prior to the intended departure time. Inform the Disabled Assistance Office of the planned journey, the departure/arrival time and the stations of departure and arrival; discuss a meeting point for the service assistant.

Lost property

It’s easily done. You get up to leave a train and you leave your bag, phone or camera on the train. It’s a pain, but most things get handed in and it is easy enough to see online what was found

The NS will keep lost property for up to five days free of charge and it is then transferred to the Central Lost & Found office in Utrecht, where it is kept for three months. First – within five days – go to the station where the luggage was lost or first noticed to be missing.

If it is not found, fill in a trace request form available from all stations, or contact the following number:

•Tel: 0900 321 2100 from 08:00-20:00 (calls from within the Netherlands only)

•Detailed information (in English) on reclaiming lost luggage or items forgotten on a train

Look here 24 hours after your loss to see if it is online :