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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pic is courtesy of kidsvvn.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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