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Netherlands Train Guide | How To Buy Train Tickets in the Netherlands

How to travel the Netherlands by train—including tips for buying Dutch train tickets and advice for navigating the Netherlands by rail.


The Netherlands is well-connected by a robust rail network that will whisk you away to just about any town in the country and it has multiple connections to Europe’s other major cities. And while traveling by the Dutch rail system is fairly straightforward, I’ll cover a few quirks that you should know about. In this Netherlands train guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about traveling the Netherlands by train and how to find the best train ticket prices.

Quick Overview of the Netherlands Rail Network

The official Dutch Railways’ name is Nederlandse Spoorwegen (it’s often shorted to NS) and it connects major cities with 4-5 trains each hour and smaller towns with hourly trains. You can check schedules at the official Dutch rail website at

How To Buy Train Tickets In The Netherlands

Buying Dutch train tickets is fairly simple but there is a difference between buying domestic train tickets and buying international train tickets.

I’ve outlined the difference below:

Buying Domestic Train Tickets In The Netherlands

Domestic train tickets in the Netherlands use a fixed-price model so prices are based solely on the distance traveled. This means you don’t save anything by purchasing tickets early. However, you can still buy tickets in advance via Omio and have the digital tickets sent straight to your phone if you want to avoid the hassle of buying tickets at the station.

Alternatively, you can buy tickets at the station via the self-service machines or from the staffed ticket windows—both accept major credit cards.

Buying International Train Tickets In The Netherlands

From Omio

The Netherlands has multiple international train routes that connect its major cities with other major European cities like Paris, London, and Brussels. These high-speed trains operate on a dynamic pricing model that gets more expensive as the travel date approaches—which means you should book early to get the best prices.

It’s easiest to use a third-party booking website like Omio or TrainLine to find and book the cheapest option for your travel time. These services are user-friendly (especially when using a foreign credit card) and they’ll send your digital train ticket directly to their smartphone app.

  • OmioOmio is a great train booking engine that lets you book tickets from just about every country’s rail service and other digital tickets are sent straight to your phone. Omio charges little to no markup and they make the booking process very user-friendly.
  • TrainLine: TrainLine is another third-party train ticket booking site that connects directly to multiple European rail networks.

Tips For Booking Dutch Trains and Reading Train Schedules

Ok, let’s dive into searching for your train tickets and selecting routes that best meet your travel needs.

How To Find Routes and Dutch Train Schedules

Finding train routes, times, and prices is simple—just plug your cities into Omio or Trainline and it will display all the available routes for your selected date.

When looking at ticket options, there are a few key things to consider:

Departure Time

Your search results will show you train options for a certain window of time so make sure you adjust your departure to meet your travel needs.

Type Of Train – High-Speed vs Regional

Depending on your journey, you might have the option to choose between a slower regional train that makes multiple stops or a high-speed train that will make limited stops. Thallys and IC trains are both high-speed and the other options are typically slower local/regional trains.

Trip Length

The results will tell you the length of the train rides so pay attention because some journeys can be much longer than others (usually because of transfers or type of train).


While routes between major cities don’t often require changing trains (i.e. it’s a non-stop journey), you should still pay attention when booking your ticket because some routes might require a change—if possible, stick to direct trains since it makes travel much easier.

However, on longer routes or routes connecting smaller towns, you’ll often be required to change trains in a bigger city.

Pay Attention To Train Stations

Many cities can have multiple stations so make sure you’re inputting the correct stations.

Popular Trains Routes In The Netherlands

Top Domestic Train Routes From Amsterdam:

  • Amsterdam To Utrecht (30 mins)
  • Amsterdam To Den Haag (50 mins)
  • Amsterdam To Rotterdam (40-60 mins)
  • Amsterdam To Breda (1h 10mins)
  • Amsterdam To Eindhoven (1h 20mins)
  • Amsterdam To Groningen (2h 10mins, 1 change)
  • Amsterdam To Maastricht (2h 30mins)
  • Amsterdam To Vlissingen (2h 50mins)

Top International Train Routes From Amsterdam:

  • Amsterdam-Paris via the Thalys High-Speed Train
    • The train journey from Amsterdam to Paris takes approximately 3 hours and costs between €60-€150 euros. Book via Omio or TrainLine.
  • Amsterdam-Brussels via Thalys High-Speed Train or Intercity Brussels Train
    • The train journey from Amsterdam to Brussels takes approximately 2 hours and costs between €35-€90. Book via Omio or TrainLine.
  • Amsterdam-London via the Eurostar High-Speed Train
    • The train journey from Amsterdam to London takes approximately 5 hours and costs between €55-€150. Book via Omio or TrainLine.
  • Amsterdam-Frankfurt via ICE International High-Speed Train
    • The train journey from Amsterdam to Frankfurt takes approximately 4 hours on average and costs between €35-€120. Book via Omio or TrainLine.

General Tips For Using The Train In The Netherlands

  • Know Train Station Names: Most larger cities have multiple train stations (Amsterdam technically has nine stations) so this can create confusion. Double check to make sure you have the right station—especially when booking your ticket.
  • Study The Departures Board: You’ll find your train platform via the departure board at the train station. Don’t worry if you don’t see your train because they typically only display trains departing within the next 10-20 minutes.
  • Train Schedule: Popular routes between major cities will have multiple routes every hour but less popular routes may only have a few per day.
  • Self-Service Machines Are In English: All the ticket machines (and train station signs) are in English—there is a good chance customer service people also speak English.
  • Pack A Picnic: You’re allowed to bring your own food and alcohol on trains. It’s great for those long train rides.
  • No Luggage Limits: There aren’t any weight limits on luggage and you can bring as much as you want (well, as much as you can carry). Simply bring it on and store it above your head, behind your seat, or in the luggage racks in each car.
  • Open Seating: Domestic trains don’t have assigned seats so sit anywhere.
  • Making Connections: The Netherlands is a small country so many routes connect through Amsterdam. Don’t worry if there isn’t much time between trains because switching trains is usually fairly quick and easy (it’s not like flying).
  • Get To The Train Station Early: Train stations are usually fairly easy to navigate but they can be a little confusing if you’re unfamiliar with the station.
  • Luggage Storage: Most large train stations will have luggage storage options but small stations most likely won’t have luggage storage.

Check out our Complete Guide To Train Travel In Europe for more tips about traveling Europe by train.

More Europe Travel Tips From The Savvy Backpacker

Here are a few more popular travel articles I’ve written that you might want to check out:

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