Dutch Affairs / English / Living in NL / Travel

Living in NL: Public Transport

A couple of weeks ago I asked you to tell me what you wanted me to write on 5 Wednesdays in October. There came more than 5 suggestions. Most of the ideas were questions about living in The Netherlands seen from various points of view. I decided to make a chain post about Living in NL. And I would post them not only on Wednesday this month as there are also interesting other subjects delivered by other readers. Living in NL is also a new directory on this blog. Within this category I will share practical information about living in The Netherlands and my experience interacting with the Dutch.

Kicking off this new chain post is an idea from Chelle. She asked how the public transport was in The Netherlands. Here in the Low Lands, there are various types of public transport: bus, train, tram, metro and boat. They are all clean, fast and on time except the train which has delay sometimes.

As I try to share complete information this is a long post. So beware and get ready to scroll.

Bus
Dutch busses vary from destination in one city or between two cities. The city bus rides every 8 – 10 minutes. While the intercity bus rides every 15 – 30 minutes. After 7 pm there are less busses. In Arnhem where I work there ride only 2 – 3 busses/hour to several destinations after 9 pm.

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Bus in Arnhem. Pic courtesy of autobussen.

At week end night busses operate from 2 – 5 am. Every hour one bus rides point to point from one city to another along small villages. I call this disco bus.

Fast free WiFi is available on board.

Tram
Not every city in The Netherlands has tram only Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht and the suburbs. The trams ride from these 4 cities to smaller cities/villages in the surroundings. It operates from 5.30 am to midnight.

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Metro
Metro is only available in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The lines are limited. Dutch metro network is not as extensive as in Paris. Among all public transport modus in The Netherlands, I find metro not quite clean compared to other transport.

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Pic is courtesy of kidsvvn.

Train
The Netherlands has an extensive railway network. It is pretty expensive but it is fast, clean and comfortable. I must add I am a frequent train user on week ends. My sister in law commutes every day by train for 1 hour one way. She tells me the train has serious delay sometimes.

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Intercity train

There are 3 train sorts. Stop train which stops in every station along the route. Intercity train rides long routes and stops only in big stations. Then there are train to other countries. That is the interesting part of Europe, travelling by train.

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Platform 11 Arnhem Central Station

From Amsterdam Thalys departs to Paris, France passing Rotterdam, Antwerp & Brussels, Belgium. Also from Amsterdam there is ICE train with destination Utrecht, Arnhem, Dusseldorf, Köln and Frankfurt in Germany. These two are fast trains. There are also night trains to Italy, Poland etc.

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Thalys Schiphol Amsterdam Rotterdam Antwerpen Brussels Paris

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ICE Amsterdam Utrecht Arnhem Oberhausen Düsseldorf Köln Frankfurt

For all train sorts there is WiFi on board, in domestic train this is free service, in the trains for another countries this is paid.

Boat
In a country filled with canals and rivers, boat is a well used transport mode. Dutch ferry or veerboot in Dutch runs a point to point service. Domestic ferry’s destinations vary from Dutch mainland to the Wadden islands in North Sea to International routes. Ferry for England depart from Rotterdam, IJmuiden or Hoek van Holland.

There is also another type of ferry, called veerpont. It is a ferry service in the canals or river. This ferry transports pedestrians, bikers, cars and trucks from one point to another.

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This is Looveer serves from Huissen to Loo. Sometimes I take this veerpont to cross the Rhine river when the bridge is jammed. It spares me time and it is cheap.

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Pic is courtesy of Metronieuws.

If you come to Amsterdam you find this kind of ferry at the back of the Central Station. It sails to the other side of the IJ (open canal) back and forth. Take a ride for a local experience.

OV-Chipkaart
Travelling by public transport in The Netherlands requires an OV-Chipkaart. OV is an abbreviation of Openbaar Vervoer Public Transport. Chipkaart is a smart card. With OV-chipkaart you can travel with all transport mode on land; bus, train, metro and tram. Travelling with OV-chipkaart means passengers pay per km taken.

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Pic is courtesy of NS.

After the purchase (€ 7,5 a piece) passengers need to load credits to be able to use it. Credit amounts start from € 5 € 10 to € 150. It is easy to use it. In all stations there are card readers where passengers check in and check out by holding the OV-chipkaart against the reader. There is a beep and on a screen the deducted and the resting amount is visible. Bus and tram passengers check in and out in the bus.

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Pic is courtesy of Nieuws.nl.

Minimum saldo is required € 20 for train and more than € 0 for bus, tram and metro. The latter means that bus, tram and metro passenger checking in with for example € 1 will end up with a min € on their card.

More information on OV-chipkaart in English is available on Wikipedia.

Nice to know

  • Train passengers for domestic and international destination are able to purchase the ticket online. Attention: fill in your name exactly as it shows on your ID.
  • Tourists arriving at Schiphol airport travel easily, safely and most of all budget friendly by train. Buy the ticket in the main hall and go the train platform on the basement. Some people even continue their journey directly to Belgium (Antwerp & Brussels) or France (Paris) with Thalys.
  • If you plan to stay a bit longer in the country this would be useful to plan your transport or just checking the timetable OV9292.
  • And if you want to go local by exploring the country by bike despite this complete information, hire one on a station. It is fun and you’d see more.
  • 42 thoughts on “Living in NL: Public Transport

    1. Di Jakarta lagi dipromosikan bayar commuter line dan transjakarta pake kartu flazz tapi ternyata masih ada pro dan kontranya, Mbak. Semogaaaaa aja sistem transportasi Indonesia lebih maju lagi ya!😀

    2. mba Yoyen, trainnya lucu banget ya. Yang ada kalau di Medan dibuat untuk tempat foto2 hahaha. Aku liat foto2 diatas dan bandingin ama Medan langsung kerasa bedaaaaaa jauhhhhh banget. Kapan yaa di Indonesia bisa punya kayak gitu

      • Karena pintu masuknya sempit dan mungkin karena ngga semua orang tertib antri? Aku tahun lalu naik commuterline Sudimara – Tanah Abang PP dan naik Trans Jakarta juga mengalami hal yang sama Ru. Antrian panjang dan banyak yang nyerobot. Mungkin tempat untuk scan kartunya bisa dibuat lebih lebar, dengan catatan antri lebih tertib😉

    3. Waduh mbak Yo di Jkt/Bali yang transportnya belum selengkap dan secanggih ini aja aku uda jalan2 terus.. kaki ga bisa diem, kelayapan terus.. apalagi kalo aku tinggal di NL ya setiap sudut kota dijelajahi muahahaha *smirk*

    4. Ngiler liarnya. dari dulu selalu bermimpi kapan ya transport umum kita bisa sebagus di luar. Gak usah jauh jauh kayak Belanda deh, tapi bisa kayak Singapore aja syukur deh. Soalnya makin kesini kayaknya makin capek abis waktu dijalan kena macet mbak😀

      • Iya betul Maya. Aku juga mikir yang sama, tiap hari 2 jam atau lebih dijalan. Disini 2 jam naik mobil aku udah sampe Antwerpen, Belgia🙂 (ok ini perbandingan asal ya).

        • mbak sekarang 2 jam itu malah jadi normal loh. orang bisa ada yang stuck dijalan sampe 3-4 jam baru sampe kantor. apalagi di sudirman yang lagi di bangun MRT, jarah dari bundaran HI ke plasa senayan aja bisa 1,5 jam sendiri padahal kalo lancar kan 15 menit doang😀
          Kalo negara lain 2 jam bisa antar negara, kalo disini 2 jam cuma dari sudirman sampe blok m kali😀

          • Jalan kaki sih engga macet mbak tapi berapa banyak yg mau jalan kaki kalo di jakarta mbak? Udah panas (kalo siang), polusinya gak nahan mbak. Err trotoarnya juga ya gitu deh. Kalo ada kasta di jalanan jakarta, pejalan kaki tuh kastanya paling bawah kali ya. Kalo ga hak trotoarnya mesti berbagi sama pedagang kaki 5 ya mesti berbagi sama motor😦

    5. Seandainya di Jakarta bisa ada yang seperti ini :s dan aku paling suka yang transportasi airnya tetep jalan mba. Kalo di Jakarta bisa serapi itu mungkin kemacetan jauh berkurang kali ya. Hehe.

    6. Wah asik juga ya pake kartu gitu. Kalo di Genova nama bisnya AMTgenova. Kalau mau naik beli karcis dulu di tabaccheria atau loper koran. Karcisnya harganya 1,5 € untuk 90 menit. Ini bisa untuk bis dan metro. Karcisnya juga bisa beli satuan gitu atau bisa juga mingguan, bulanan, dan per tahun. Untuk masalah kebersihan bis hmmmmm ada beberapa bis yg baru dan bersih. Ada juga yang udah lama dan kotor. Ini lebih ke penggunanya sih kadang pada jorok. Huuuuft

      • Aku baru lihat komennya ini, masuk di spam folder Gi. Itu karcis bisa dipake 90 menit naik turun dan gonta ganti bis dan metro? Enak ya, jatuhnya lebih murah.

        • Iyaa bisa naik turun dgn bis berbeda selama 90 menit. Kalo aku kan males nih tiap kali jln beli tiket kertas itu, jadi aku beli tiket lewat aplikasi AMT. Di aplikasinya bisa beli tiket, cek jadwal bis, liat jalur bis kemana aja, dll. Lebih praktis🙂

    7. Very informative post Yen! You explained it very well and in details..Your sister in law is right about the train delays..I used to be a commuter by train (Rdam-the Hague). I could not stand the delays and the delays usually became more frequent in the winter time… Now I drive to work..traffic jam here and there but at least it is not as bad as in Jakarta🙂

      • Rush hours only last 2 hours max in NL Indah, from 7 – 9 am and 4 – 6 pm unlike in Jakarta. I bike to work but I love to take the train though, it is fast & clean. At least the Intercity trains.

    8. Pernah aku naik pesawat ke bandara Rotterdam. Dari Rotterdam mau naik metro ke Den Haag karena menurut jadwal di 9292.nl itu jadwal yang paling enak dan gak nunggu lama. Eh udah di stasiun metronya aku nunggu lebih dari setengah jam..kayaknya jadwalnya ngaco. Akhirnya ngebis aja dehh… Jadi intinya selama di Belanda aku belum pernah naik metro hehe..
      Oh ya, stasiun Arnhem bagus ya. Aku ke sana sekali pas mau ke Open Air Museum. Cuma emang berasa sepi bgt sih yaa.. Groningen walau kota paling ujung tapi sibuk terus stasiunnya.

      • Wah, jarang tuh metro 30 menit ngga dateng Cha. Sensasi naik metro di NL ngga seheboh naik metro di Paris, Barcelona atau Berlin karena rutenya pendek menurutku ya.

        Hmm, station Arnhem memang bagus cuma sampe sekarang ngga jadi-jadi padahal mulai bangunnya dari aku hamil G, 14 tahun lalu🙂 Memang sepi, kan kota kabupaten gitu ha..ha..

        • Iya Mbak..aku panik karena itu hampir tengah malam. Aku mesti ngejar kereta ke Den Haag dan ngejar bis juga ke rumah temenku..takut keabisan.
          Ya ampun..itu mulai bangunnya udah lama bgt toh.. :O sekarang bagian mananya ya yg masih mau dibangun?

          • Masih bangun hallnya. Ribet ini Cha. Groningen masih rame karena kota mahasiswa mungkin ya, Arnhem sih ramenya rush hour, selebihnya tentram dan tenang🙂

    9. Gue suka dengan fast train-nya Lo. Dulu waktu tinggal di UK ke Paris naik fast train juga. Disini, subway lumayan bersih dan jarang delay, plus kalo pulang kerja malam hari diatas jam 9 masih berasa aman krn keretanyalumayan rame, maklum Perth kan termasuk kota sepi kl dibanding dengan kota2 besar lainnya.

      • Bagus ya, bullet train. Gw pingin naik Thalys dari NL ke Perancis Selatan. Route ini hanya ada kalo summer Ria, hanya 7 jam. Asik kayanya karena naik mobil bisa 12 jam.

        Di Perth berapa line metronya? Di Arnhem ngga ada, hanya bis aja.

    10. Hai mbak… salam kenal. Aku liat blog mbak dari blogwalking punya temanku nih. Wah ini infonya bermanfaat banget karena tahun depan aku pindah ke Belanda. Salam kenal!

    11. Pingback: EF: How gadgets affect my life | Chez Lorraine

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