Although biking is the main type of transportation in the Netherlands, trains are also an important part of discovering Holland. NS 'Dutch Railways' is the company in charge of all train traveling in the Netherlands. Here are some tips to survive travel via train in the Netherlands and make the most of your journey.
Plan your Journey
Before you start your journey, you need to plan it. The NS website has a travel planner to help you with planning, but there are also multiple apps you can use. Reisplanner is the best app to prepare for train journeys: it tells you how much time it’s going to take from your home to your destination and exactly how much you are going to pay. It also updates you in real-time on any potential delays or problems along the way and gives you alternative routes.
Check your Credit
To travel within Holland by train, you need an OV-Chipkaart charged with at least 20 euros or a paper ticket from one of the NS ticket machines. Remember to always check your balance beforehand so that you avoid missing your train! You can always put money on your card using the NS machines.
Keep the Weather in Mind
The weather in Holland isn’t always great and there are multiple storms with code orange that can affect trains. Rain, hail and wind are all elements that can make a train late or cancel it altogether. So, make sure to check the weather before you leave the house so that you won't encounter any unpleasant surprises.
Keep your App Open
Although English is a prominent language in Holland, NS usually tends to make announcements in Dutch. Make sure to keep your app or NS website open so that you can stay up to date on any route changes or construction.
Remember to Check-In and Out
In order to use the train, you have to check in & out with your OV-Chipkaart. At certain stations in the Netherlands, you'll notice that there are no gates to stop you from entering or exiting the platforms— this can often lead to forgetting to check out at your final destination. So what should you do when this happens?
First of all, don't panic. You have 6 hours to check out using an NS pole or gate from the time that you checked in. If you're too late, you may submit a refund request 24 hours after your journey. Make sure to submit this request within 6 months and remember that you can only request a refund 3 times a year. Since these rules are prone to change, make sure to visit the NS website.
These are all the tips you need to have the best time train traveling in the Netherlands. If you just want to hold onto your bike, you can always check out a guide on how to bike in the Netherlands.
Go and explore this beautiful country.