Public Transport in the Netherlands

Studying abroad is truly one of the most exciting endeavors you can take on as a student. Part of it, of course, is immersing yourself in the country’s culture. What better way to experience the Netherlands than to explore as many places as possible! A big part of travelling is the mode of transport you choose - bus, bike, train or even a boat!  In this blog post, I'll share my experiences with transport in the Netherlands in the hope that I can give you a better idea of your options and the ways in which you can make your travel adventures fit in with your student budget.

First of all- bikes. I cannot recommend bikes enough- they're fast, cheap and a great way to get your body moving. As someone coming from a big city where I had to travel 40 mins by metro to get to school, living in a town where everything is easily reachable by bike has been a much-needed change. There are a few places where you can rent a bike for yourself- OV fiets which is good for day trips when you do not have your bike with you, or for more long-term solutions like Swap Fiets. Renting a bike for a few months is convenient- I rented mine for about 7 months from the above-mentioned company, but it was not the best solution in terms of costs. Owning is better than renting if you're going to be in the Nethelands for a longer period. I got mine off Facebook Marketplace and would recommend you check out secondhand stores or Facebook groups for pre-loved items.

The OV bikes are technically public transport as they require you to have a personal OV chipkaart. You might be wondering what in the world this is. Well, imagine having a transport card which you can use for everything- trams, trains, metro, buses, and bikes. You can either connect it to your bank account or keep topping it up with a certain amount of money. The most important thing about OV cards is remembering to check in and out when you get on and off you chosen means of transport. That way you pay for the exact distance you travelled without worrying about having to buy tickets in advance.


”This is what we call “goedkoop” (a bargain)”

However, sometimes tickets are a better option- particularly when you are travelling in a group (4-7 people). It's a great option for group outings as you travel for just a fraction of the price. As an example - a ticket from Leeuwarden to Amsterdam Central is typically €27,40 for a single ticket. When travelling in a group of 4 it only costs €8. This is what we call “goedkoop”. You can find more information about it here.

Purchasing an NS Flex Season ticket is something which I unfortunately discovered too late. I wish I'd known about it sooner as it gives a lot of freedom when travelling. It's a subscription that you can change each month depending on how much you're going to travel. For example €31/month for unlimited travel on weekends or 40% discount at weekends, 40% discount on public holidays for €2/month. Again, goedkoop! You can check out the rest of the options here.

Last but not least -&nbsp, there are great apps that can help you navigate your way around the Netherlands: the 9292 app for city transport schedules and the NS app for longer trips between cities. They tell you when and where you can hop on public transport so as to get where you want to be on time.

I hope my tips have been useful and that they help you discover the beauty of the Netherlands! I wish you many great adventures and a successful start to your student experience!