NS – The Dutch Train System

The Nederlandse Spoorwegen(NS) operates the majority of trains running through the Netherlands. Their website is offered in Dutch and English, both of which will allow you to search for train schedules. The Dutch side of the website has more capability so it’s worth looking at, even if it requires some translation.

NOTE: Even if you are using a day pass, I suggest looking at the train schedule shortly before leaving for your trip. The website will give you the most up to date information on your train for delays, construction and cancellations. Any alerts will be in red.

Sittard Train Station Parking Garage – Q-Park
Geerweg 4, Sittard
€1.72/hour with max €7.82/day
With OV Chip Card €3.39/day
You must pay with a chip (EC) card. Our community bank card his worked for us.
If you have a train ticket with electronics in it (you can see them if you hold it up to a light) you have an OV chip card. You can use this ticket to get a discounted rate at the parking garage. When you go to pay for parking, insert your parking ticket, then wave the train ticket in front of the machine. The price should be reduced to €3.39/day.

Discount train tickets come with a blue and yellow half that must stay together for the ticket to be valid. All you have to do to validate your ticket is time-stamp it at one of the stampers around the train station. They are usually in the main hallway of the train station next to stairs leading up to the platforms. There might be one on the platform as well. Here is an example. Just fold your ticket in half and insert the ticket into the machine.


Some discount tickets being sold are OV Chip cards. These cards have some electronic inner workings that check you in and out of the train, tram or bus when you hold them up to a special reader. They are usually located at the entrances to the train station and sometimes on platforms. They will look similar to the picture below. Just hold your card next to the symbol until you hear a beep. You must check in when you start your journey and check out when you end your journey.

Train Tickets for Children
Children under 4 years old ride FREE.
Children between 4 and up to and including 11 year old can ride with a Railrunner day pass ticket. These tickets are 2.50euro and can be bought at the ticket kiosks at the train station.

The Trains
There are two types of trains. Sprinters go to every stop on the line and are used for local transport.  The train that stops at Schinnen is a Sprinter. NOTE: There are no bathrooms on the Sprinter trains. Intercity (IC) trains make limited stops only at major cities so you get to your destination faster.

The IC train will sometimes have a logo on the side of the car. There are Wi-Fi cars, Quiet Cars, Bike Cars and maybe a few others. The logos are pretty easy to figure out their meaning. Just look for them by the train doors. Each car will also have a 1 or 2 on the outside of the car and on the doors. The 1 and 2 correspond to first and second class respectively. If you are using a discount train ticket, you should sit in second class.

Sometimes the IC trains will split into two trains and go in different directions somewhere along the route. Make sure you are on the correct half of your train before the split occurs. Sometimes there is an LED sign on the outside of the car that will tell you the end station. Most IC trains have a TV that will show you the stops your train will be making.

Helpful Website Links

http://goedkoop-treinkaartje.nl/ – This website keeps an up to date account of current and past NS Train Day Pass deals. Deals have been available at Blokker, Kruidvat, Hema, Jumbo and Albert Heijn.

Spoordeelwinkel – This website offers deals that combine train tickets with hotel stays, exhibition tickets or maybe just a coffee at the Kiosk. Typically these tickets are deeply discounted. I wrote about the website here. Note that you must have a Dutch bank card to utilize this website.

Groepsretour NS deal – This deal is available any day. It is a combined group ticket that can be less expensive than the usual train day pass deals. You must buy this ticket online using a Dutch bank card.


From a fellow reader: (Requires a Dutch Bank Account) Travel Tip thanks to the AFNORTH parent newsletter: Earlier this school year I posted in the newsletter some information about a great website that offers fantastic deals for traveling by train in the Netherlands. There is now a permanent offer in the Netherlands for traveling with a group. An offer that will work out cheaper than all the Kruidvat, Hema, AH discount tickets as long as you are traveling with four or more people! So if you are planning to travel in the Netherlands with four or more people (max. 10 people) the following information will save you a lot of money! Visit the websitehttp://www.ns.nl/reizigers/producten/losse-kaartjes/groepsretour.html and you can buy a group ticket for 49 euros! Four people can travel with this ticket to any place in the Netherlands and return the same day. Can it get any better? Yes, it can; if you plan to travel with more than four people, the extra passengers only pay 2,50! You can also get a coffee and croissant for only 2,50 at the KIOSK stands by presenting your ticket! The tickets are valid on weekdays after 09:00 and in the weekend the whole day. Take advantage of this great deal and head out and discover more of the Netherlands. Note: You can only buy this deal online with a Dutch bank card.
NS Groepsretour | NS › Consumente
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24 Responses to NS – The Dutch Train System

  1. The wifi works great on the trains that have it. You simply connect to it and then open a browser on your phone or computer. Then in the top left corner it says EN. If you click that, it will translate the page to english and you can then accept the terms and conditions and set up the internet for your use. I’ve used it several times and although it’s not fast, it has not been slower then my home internet either….

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  4. Jason Lucas says:

    I got an eticket with the code I purchased @ hema. After I think I followed directions I got an Eticket in my email valid for the day I choose. What do I do next? Just show up at the train station? It has the price I paid for it on it, which is not the price of a round trip
    Ticket does that matter?

    • the ticket is valid for a day. so it’s not round trip in the traditional sense. it is valid till midnight and you can go anywhere you want at anytime you want in the Netherlands on that day. I hope that clarifies it better for you. 🙂

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  16. Hexp says:

    You can form a group and travel very cheaply on Dutch Trains:

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