The transportation system in the Netherlands is quite easy to understand but also pretty different from the bordering countries. The OV Chip-card is your golden ticket to travel in the Netherlands. It covers pretty much the whole country and can be used for trains, buses and even bikes. We are going to tell you, in this blog post, every specificity about transportation you should know before traveling within the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is truly famous for its passion for bikes. Indeed, it is extremely easy to bike in the Netherlands because there are cycle paths everywhere and they’re usually in really good condition. Most Dutch have their own bike that they ride with to work or even bring in the train with them. To travel with your regular bike through the Netherlands in the train, it is important to mention that you have to buy a special ticket at any station.
However, even if everyone has a personal bike, it is still possible to use public bikes called ‘OV-fiets’ (fiet means bike in Dutch). You can find them in almost every train station of the Netherlands and rent one for the amount of time you need (a few hours or a day) thanks to your OV Chip-card and return it when you’re done.
It is particularly easy to travel all over the Netherlands because of the number of trains running in the country. This is the most used transportation in the Netherlands with a track length of almost 3,200 km covering some 410 stations, around 1.1 million passengers use the train every day. The Dutch do not usually work in the same city where they live, so it is quite usual for them to take the train every day to go to work. The train company NS (ns.nl) offers many options depending on your travel journey. Download their app on your smartphone to plan your itinerary and see when your train is coming.
If you are traveling in the Netherlands for holidays and you’re planning to take the train several times, it might be useful to buy a blue OV Chip-card at a train station. This card costs 7€ and is rechargeable, you just have to put money on it and enjoy your ride. Also, it is good to know that you need a minimum of 20€ on the card to pass the security gantry in train stations.
If you are going to live in the Netherlands for a long time, you will need a yellow OV Chip-card which is your personal one with your photo and name. This card has to be ordered online and paid with a Dutch bank account. Learn more about the OV Chip-card on our last blog. Then, NS offers several subscription possibilities, but one is particularly interesting if you take the train to go to work. It is called ‘Traject Vrij Maandabonnement’ and allows you to travel unlimitedly on a specific route. If your company covers your travel expenses, it is a very handy way to reimburse you for the perfect amount.
Busses or trams are also used in every city and do not require another card but might require a different subscription.
The Netherlands has several airports including Amsterdam Airport (Schiphol Airport) which is one of the largest airports in Europe. This airport is often where people transfer from their country to their final destination in Europe or further.
Eindhoven Airport is the second larger airport in the Netherlands. From there, you can travel for a very cheap price to European countries via low-cost airline companies like Ryanair or EasyJet.
There are several things to know about buying or owning a car in the Netherlands: Registration, insurance, taxes, and inspection. Registering your car in the Netherlands is very easy. You just have to go on the RDW (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer) website and request a new registration certificate. After the RDW registration, you’ll receive a bill for road tax personalized depending on where you live, the type of vehicles you have as well as the kind of fuel you use. It is possible to make a simulation on Belastingdienst website to know how much your road tax will cost. Then, a car inspection is mandatory. It is called an APK and costs between 30 and 50€ depending on the professional. If your car is new, the first APK has to be done before 3 years after your purchase. Afterward, it has to be done every 2 years until the car turns 10. Then, it has to be done every year. If you buy a car that is not new, make sure the APK has been done recently so that you’re good to go for at least a year. Finally, you have to insure your car to make sure costs are covered if you have an accident. Pricewise allows you to compare insurance.
Concerning your driving license, no worries to have if you’re an EU/EEA citizen. Your foreign driving license allows you to drive in the Netherlands for the next 15 years. For someone outside EU/EE, your foreign driving license can be used for 185 days after registration. After that, you need to get an appointment at the city hall to exchange your current driving license to a Dutch one.
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