Train travel in the Netherlands – who runs the trains, where to go and how to buy tickets

Travelling by train in the Netherlands allows you to explore some of the most fantastic countryside and scenery in Europe. Home to plenty of spectacular architecture and vibrant, welcoming cities (none more so than Amsterdam), the Netherlands is definitely worth a visit if you haven't already been. From the diversity and attractions of Amsterdam to the more relaxed pace of Maastricht, there are plenty of things to see and do in this wonderful country, and travelling by train is a great way to see it all!

We’re here to give you all the information you need about trains in the Netherlands, including how to find and buy cheap train tickets, train times, types and more. Keep reading or start a search in our Journey Planner to buy your Netherlands train tickets today.

Train tickets in the Netherlands

Buying train tickets in the Netherlands is a quick and easy process. In most cases, Dutch train ticket prices come at a single flat rate, with the price determined by the length of the journey. This means there’s no need to book ahead of time, as prices will always stay the same up until departure. Train tickets available in the Netherlands include:

Dagretour (Day return)

This ticket is valid for one outbound and return journey on the same route, for one day only (valid for 28 hours).

Enkele reis (One-way)

This ticket does what it says on the tin, it's a one-way ticket to a single destination. It's valid for 28 hours, from 00:00 until 04:00 the next morning.

Railrunnerkaartje (Rail Runner)

This ticket allows children to travel by train for just €2.50 each. It's valid all day, on journeys on InterCity Berlin, ICE International and Intercity direct services. Children up to three years old can travel for free if travelling on an adult's lap.

Dagkaartjes (Day ticket)

These tickets are valid for unlimited Second Class travel on the entire Dutch rail network including NS and other operators (except for Eurostar).


How to book train tickets in the Netherlands

Buying train tickets in the Netherlands with us

As trusted sellers of NS and other cross-border services in the Netherlands, we’ll show you train times, ticket options and highlight the cheapest prices. Here’s a step-by-step guide to booking train tickets in the Netherlands with us:

  1. If you're on our website, put your departure and arrival stations into our Journey Planner at the top of the page. If you're on our app, enter them in the Search tab. Don't know the name of the station? You can also search by city. 
  2. Enter the date and time you’d like to depart (and return if you're buying a return ticket), along with the number of passengers and any relevant Railcards/Loyalty cards if you have them. 
  3. If you're looking for tickets on our website, hit Get times and prices. If you're using our app hit Find times and prices to start your search. 
  4. Select a time and the class you'd like to travel in from our search results. Once you’re happy with your choice, continue to choose your seat preference, seat type and which deck you'd like to sit on if it's a double-decker train. 
  5. Enter an email to send your ticket confirmation to, along with the full name of each passenger you’re booking tickets for (the name must match their IDs).
  6. Continue to the checkout and book your tickets!

Buying train tickets at the station

Although domestic train tickets in the Netherlands are usually a set price, if you buy them at the station from a ticket machine, you may pay an extra €1 to have the ticket issued on a single-use OV smartcard. If you buy a ticket from the ticket office, you'll pay an extra €0.50 to buy from a person rather than a machine.


What's an OV-chipkaart?

If you're buying a ticket at the station, it may be loaded onto an OV-chipkaart, which is like a smartcard. There are two types you're likely to encounter when visiting the Netherlands as a tourist: 

  • An anonymous OV-chipkaart. If you're planning to travel around by train over days, this type of card can be topped up and lasts for a longer period (valid for five years).
  • A disposable OV-chipkaart. This type of card is more suitable for single use or travel during a shorter period.

Netherlands Rail Passes

To see as much of the country as possible, it may be a good idea to buy a Rail Pass. With one, you can take as many trains as you like within a set number of days, depending on the length of the pass you buy. There are two main types of Rail Pass you can use in the Netherlands.


For EU residents, the Interrail Pass is the recommended choice. A One Country Pass allows you to travel across the Netherlands, taking as many trains as you like on just one ticket. 


If you're from outside of the EU, then a Eurail Pass is what you need. Using a rail pass in the Netherlands gives you great freedom to choose where you travel to on any given day, making spontaneous trips to a new city a very real possibility!

Netherlands train map

Using our Netherlands train map, you can plan your journey around the Dutch cities and regions to create the perfect break. A relatively small country, the comprehensive Dutch rail network means travelling between the cities and neighbouring countries is an incredibly easy and hassle-free experience.

Train companies in the Netherlands

If you’re hopping on a train in the Netherlands, it’s very likely you’ll be boarding a Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) service as they’re the main train company in the country. If you’re travelling from the Netherlands to another country, there are a few different cross-border train companies you need to know. We’ve broken down the different brands and their services below.


  • Domestic and international routes
  • Main train operator in the Netherlands

As the main train company operating in the Netherlands, you'll most likely be stepping into an NS service at some point, especially for domestic routes. The main types of NS train are Intercity, Sprinter and International, you can find out more about these further down the page.

Find out more about NS trains.


  • International routes from the Netherlands to the UK, as well as France, Belgium and Germany
  • High-speed: 321 km/h (200 mph)

Eurostar operate high-speed services between Amsterdam and London (via a trip through the Channel Tunnel), as well as between the Netherlands and the biggest cities in France, Belgium and Germany.

Find out more about Eurostar trains


  • International route connecting Amsterdam to Brussels
  • First and Second Class available

SNCB'S INTERCITY BRUSSELS (IC B) services connect Amsterdam to Brussels. Unlike Eurostar trains, this is a slower cross-border option.

Find out more about SNCB trains.

Types of train

NS trains operate local, national and international routes in and around the Netherlands. All NS trains come with First Class and Second Class carriages, disabled passenger access and bicycle storage. What’s more, many NS trains also feature artwork onboard, creating a unique atmosphere for passengers.

NS International

The high-speed, international train service in the Netherlands, NS International provides passengers with long-distance train services into Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and France.

Using ICE (Intercity Express) trains to Germany and Eurostar trains to Belgium and Switzerland, NS International routes take passengers to and from the most popular cities in Western Europe, meaning you can take day trips between the countries with relative ease.

All trains travelling under the NS International group come with First and Second Class carriages, a food carriage to buy hot and cold food and drink and bicycle storage facilities.

NS Intercity

The NS Intercity train provides passengers with medium and long distance journeys, with minimal stops throughout.

All Intercity trains come with a quiet carriage, perfect for passengers looking for some quiet rest or to concentrate on their work. On some of the newer NS Intercity trains, the double-decker trains provide even more space for passengers to relax.

Intercity trains all come with First and Second Class carriages, onboard WiFi and plenty of room for bicycles.

NS Sprinter

The commuter service of the NS train fleet, NS Sprinter trains provide short, quick journeys for regional passengers.

Used primarily during peak hours, NS Sprinter trains still provide an essential service for passengers living on the outskirts of the cities with a reliable and alternative route into the centre without the need to drive. Not all Sprinter trains come with onboard toilets. However new Sprinter trains on order will have them as standard.

Due to Sprinter trains being equipped for short journeys, WiFi is also not available on these journeys.

Places to visit in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is packed with unmissable attractions. From the famous tulip-laden fields and windmills to the sights and sounds of major cities like Amsterdam, you'll never be bored during your trip. If you're not quite sure where to go, or you want a short excursion from Amsterdam but haven't decided where to, then check out our guide below.


The capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is one of the most popular cities to visit in Europe. Famous for its canals, unique layout and quirky districts, Amsterdam is perfect for city breaks for all. Travelling into Amsterdam Centraal station, you'll arrive at the northern tip of the city centre, with the majority of attractions to your south.

Catch a train to the east of the city and visit the ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo. Get up close and personal with some of the most fascinating animals from across the world, and enjoy a great family day out. The zoo is easily accessible from the city centre, just a short tram ride away from Amsterdam Centraal station. While it may not be to everyone's taste, the Red Light District in Amsterdam is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. With museums and shows on every corner, it blends both intrigue and bizarre into a memorable experience.

Throughout Amsterdam, you can visit the museums of some of their most famous residents. Step foot inside the Van Gogh Museum found in the Museumkwartier district in the south of the city. Here you will find the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings, as well as drawing and personal artefacts. Another popular landmark is Anne Frank’s house. The site where the young World War Two diarist hid from the Nazis, this has become a poignant and must-see attraction in the city.

Trains to Amsterdam


The second largest city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam, Rotterdam has a rich history of its own. Known for its maritime strength, Rotterdam has the largest port in Europe, making it essential for trade and transportation with the rest of the world.

Rotterdam is also the home to Erasmus University. Recognised as a top 100 university in the world, Erasmus University is also arguably the most popular education centre in the Netherlands and is a popular attraction for those visiting the city. The city of Rotterdam is also passionate about its sport, especially football. There are two teams that play in the country’s top league, the Eredivisie – Feyenoord and Excelsior. So if you find yourself in the city on match weekend, why not go along!

The city centre of Rotterdam is also very unique, with a number of skyscrapers dominating the skyline. With Rotterdam devastated by German bombing during World War Two, it meant that much of the city had to be rebuilt. This allowed modern architecture to create a new, modern skyline for the city.

Trains to Rotterdam

The Hague

Known as Den Haag to the locals, The Hague is the political centre for the Netherlands. While constitutionally the capital city is Amsterdam, The Hague is where the Dutch governments sit, as well as the royal family of the Netherlands. This also makes it a very cultural city to visit, with plenty of attractions and tours for visitors.

Found on the outskirts of the city centre, the Peace Palace is home to the International Court of Justice, the highest court for the United Nations. A popular tourist attraction, you can walk the palace grounds and immerse yourself in one of the most important buildings in political law.

A great attraction for all the family is to visit Madurrodam. A miniature park found in the northern part of the city, the park recreates cities and famous Dutch landmarks in miniature form, creating a new point of view for all to see. You can also visit the beach when in The Hague. Scheveningen Beach runs along the coastal edge of the city and is very popular during the summer months.



Situated in the very centre of the Netherlands, Utrecht is something of a hidden gem within the country. With a similar layout to Amsterdam, with the city shaped around the canals, Utrecht provides visitors with quieter and more peaceful surroundings. Utrecht is known within the Netherlands as its religious centre and was for a large portion of its history the most popular city in the country.

With the city’s central location within the Netherlands, it has become a major transport hub, with Utrecht Centraal the busiest and largest station in the country. Along with boasting the largest train station, Utrecht is also home to the national railway museum, which as of 2013, was in the top 10 most visited museums in the country.

The best way to take in the sights of Utrecht is from above, and you can do that by climbing the Dom Tower Utrecht. The church tower has a daunting 465 steps leading to the top, but once there, you get panoramic views of the city, making the tough climb worth it! From the tower, you may be able to spot the Utrecht University Botanical Gardens, and that is worth a visit by itself. Take in the calmness of the surroundings - travel the world and discover the different plantlife from across the globe. If you need time to enjoy some peace and quiet, this is a fantastic place to visit.

Trains to Utrecht


Situated in the southeast corner of the country, wedged between Belgium and Germany, Maastricht has still become a very popular and well-visited town in the Netherlands. Maastricht has 1677 national heritage sites, second only to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Famous for its narrow streets and historical buildings, Maastricht is also the birthplace of the Euro currency, which was part of the Maastricht Treaty signed in 1992.

Maastricht is also home to a number of large cathedrals and churches, including the Basilica of Saint Servatius. Situated off of the main city square, the church holds many important religious artefacts, drawing in thousands of pilgrims a year to visit the church.

As well as this, Maastricht is also known for its festivals and music events. Composer Andre Rieu is a native of the city and holds yearly concerts with his world famous Johann Strauss Orchestra. These musical events take place in Vrijthof square, Maastricht’s largest and most popular town square.

Trains from the Netherlands to other countries

Not only is it super easy to travel by rail within the Netherlands, it’s also well-connected with other countries in Europe, which makes cross-border travel a breeze. Whether you want to travel from the Netherlands to Brussels, France or the UK, there’s no need to fly when the train can whisk you from city centre to city centre in no time.


Train operators

Fastest time

Amsterdam to London


5h 2m

Amsterdam to Paris


3h 28m

Amsterdam to Brussels


1h 52m

Rotterdam to Berlin

NS, DB6h 36m

The Hague to Berlin

NS6h 48m
Eindhoven to BrusselsNS

2h 23m


Train stations in the Netherlands

Travelling between cities in the Netherlands is an enjoyable experience, with new sights and cultures to discover everywhere you go. The major stations themselves also have their own unique identities, and you can find out more about them here along with what other attractions are nearby.

Amsterdam Centraal

A major transport hub in the city of Amsterdam, and the second busiest train station in the Netherlands, Amsterdam Centraal provides regional, national and international services to the city. Opened in 1889, Amsterdam Centraal has grown to become an important hub for tourists and commuters alike. With 11 platforms serving the station, featuring trains from as far as London, Berlin and Paris, Amsterdam Centraal is pivotal to international travel to the Netherlands.

With a number of shops, cafes and restaurants inside the station itself, you won't be short of ways to pass the time whilst waiting for your train. Should you need somewhere to drop your luggage off, Amsterdam Centraal has luggage storage on site, meaning you can travel the city luggage-free before your hotel opens. Amsterdam Centraal is well connected with public transport - you can connect to the Metro at the station, and there are numerous tram and bus stops nearby to help with your travel around the city.

Utrecht Centraal

The largest and busiest station in the Netherlands, Utrecht Centraal is also the headquarters for Nederlandse Spoorwegen themselves. Thanks to the central location within the Netherlands, Utrecht Centraal has grown to become the major rail transport station in the country, with 16 platforms serving the station. First opened in 1843, Utrecht Centraal underwent major reconstruction between 2008 and 2016, helping to make the station more suitable for the ever-increasing passenger numbers.

Due to the high number of cyclists in the city, you'll find the world’s largest bicycle parking station next to Utrecht Centraal. If you're planning to travel around Utrecht by bicycle, there's a strong chance you'll be able to hire one from here! Bus and tram services also call at the station, providing excellent public transport services for the surrounding areas. Utrecht Centraal is situated in the centre of the city, so many of the local attractions are also accessible by foot.

Rotterdam Centraal

Found in the very centre of the city, Rotterdam Centraal has become one of the busiest train stations in the Netherlands, with over 100,00 passengers travelling through the station every day. Rotterdam Centraal was completely rebuilt and reopened in 2014, with major renovations to the exterior and interior to the station.

There are 13 platforms at the station with trains taking passengers to all corners of the Netherlands, including Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague. You can also travel to Rotterdam internationally, including services from Brussels, Paris and London. Rotterdam Centraal is also well connected locally, with a large number of bus and tram services calling at the station, making moving around Rotterdam very easy.

Den Haag Centraal

The largest railway station in The Hague, Den Haag Centraal provides a number of services for tourists and commuters into the heart of the political and business centre of the Netherlands. Den Haag Centraal is also the largest terminal train station in the country, with 12 platforms at the station. There are no international routes that travel to Den Haag Centraal, with the station instead providing a large number of services connecting the major cities of the Netherlands.

Trains to Den Haag Centraal include services from Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, and Groningen. Local transport from Den Haag Centraal is in good supply. There are two levels of platforms for the local tram routes, as well as an underground metro system, making travel within the city very easy.

Maastricht Railway Station

Located in the south-west of the Netherlands, Maastricht Railway station provides a number of local services to and from the city, with trains to Amsterdam, Utrecht and Eindhoven. There are also train services from Belgium, with SNCB providing routes on the Liege-Maastricht line.

It is also one of the oldest train stations in the Netherlands, having opened in 1853, and it has gone on to become one of the major transport hubs for the city. If you're travelling around Maastricht, then the railway station also has many bus services that travel around the city centre and the surrounding areas.

Good to know (FAQs)

Wondering whether you can travel with pets or bikes? We've got answers to some of your most frequently asked questions below.

In need of some inspiration?

Take a look at some of our expert guides to all the things you can see do and visit in the Netherlands. Want to view more? Check out our Netherlands travel guide hub.

Learn more about train travel in Europe

So you’ve come to the end of our guide to train travel in and around the Netherlands. We hope you now know your Intercitys from your Sprinters. We’ve covered domestic and cross-border train travel, how to buy your tickets and which ones can save you the most money.

Ready to book your train travel in the Netherlands? Start your search for times and tickets in our Journey Planner at the top of the page. Not quite found what you’re looking for yet? Check out our other pages about train travel within Europe, or our guides to taking the train in other European countries.

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