All cities have bus and/or train connectivity. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag (The Hague) and Utrecht also have tram and/or metro connectivity. Some places and islands are connected by ferry as well (OV chipcart does not apply here). The network is very good and more often a connection wait time is less than 15 minutes. Also, they are most times on schedule though it is better you are prepared for delays and missed connection. Go to http://9292.nl for door to door planning of your travel.
There are 3 ways of paying for your transport:
– buying a ticket for each travel
– via an anonymous OV chipcard (a credit card like card)
– via a personalized OV chipcard
The advantage of travelling with OV chipcard over a ticket is that it is usually a lot cheaper (especially when the travel distance is small within city). It is also very convenient.
OV chipcard (ov-chipkaart):

What is it?
OV chipcart is a credit-card size card on which you can load currency and use it for public-transport travel.
There are many places where you can load the OV chipcard with currency. There are automated machines at the train station, bus station and even some stores (Albert Heijn for example) where you can load your currency.
There are 2 types of OV chipcart:
— One anonymous and available over the counter for a fee of about €8 (may vary). This can be bought at any  major train and bus station.
— The other is with your identity. It needs to be applied online and needs a European bank account, local address and a picture of you. This will also cost the same as anonymous, will take about 2 weeks to arrive at your address. Advantage is that you can purchase discount plans. Example: trains offer a discount plan called “Dal Voordeal” that cost €50 for 1 year, but gives 40% discount on tickets for yourself + 3 fellow travelers on weekends and also offpeak hours on weekdays for 1 year from the date you purchased the plan. This discount can be availed only if you have personalized chip card and not on the anonymous card. Additional info: https://www.ov-chipkaart.nl/aanvragen/welkekaartpastbiju/

How to use it?
You need to swipe the card at the OV chipcard machine at the entrance to railway station or inside the bus/tram/metro. Before boarding you swipe in and after your journey you swipe out. If you forget to swipe out, a high flat fee will be charged (example: €20 for train travel if you forget to checkout).
Note: Only for trains and metro, there is no need to swipe out and then swipe in at a connection (ex: if you have to change train at Utrecht when travelling from Eindhoven to Amsterdam, you do not need to swipe out at Utrecht). For tram and bus, you need to swipe out.

City transport ticketing:

Some cities have day pass and hourly pass while others don’t. If a pass is not available, you need to buy a ticket for each leg of travel. If you want to make frequent use of transport, a day or hourly pass may be cheaper than OV chipkaart.
Train system:
There are 2 types of service. The Sprinter (also called Stop train) is a shuttle service that stops at a lot of stations en route to its destination. The other is Intercity which is express service connecting major cities.
Both have 1st and 2nd class coaches clearly written on the door. But more importantly, some 1st and 2nd class coaches are marked ‘SILENT’. Occupants are expected not to talk or create sound in these coaches.
Ticketing is possible via ticket vending machine or OV chipcart. If you do not have a OV chipcart, you can buy tickets at the vending machine. On your OV chipcard you may load just some currency, monthly pass, yearly pass, group discount etc.
One very useful discount costs €50/year and is available only on OV chipcard with identity. It gives you and upto 3 other members with you a 40% discount during off-peak hours (all day on weekends and weekdays 9.00-16:30 and after 18.30) for 365 days from activation.
0yrs to 4yrs – free
4yrs – 11yrs – €2.50 for the full day when accompanied by an adult
12yrs+ full fare
Disclaimer: The is my best effort and no responsibility will be taken for any inaccuracy

5 thoughts on “Public transport and OV chipkaart

  1. Sourabh Bhandari

    Dear Madhu,

    First of all thanks for the information. We me and my wife will be arriving in Netherlands by 1st April. With respect to that I have to finalize the city where we gonna live. My employer is in Amsterdam. So, I have to travel from another city as rent in Amsterdam is too high. Hence, I have few questions which are as below:

    1. Which city Rotterdam/ Haarlem/ Amstelveen is better if we compare cost of living?
    2. Do we need public transport monthly pass in above cities or a bike is good enough for my wife who is not working?
    3. If I have to travel daily for work from Rotterdam to Amsterdam then what will be the monthly cost for that? What all options are available to commute?

    Thanks in advance.

    Best Regards,

    1. Madhu

      1. No idea. I live 150kms away from this area.
      2. bike is good enough
      3. Pls check in ns.nl. Option is monthly/yearly pass, but I expect this will be more expensive than buying daily ticket.

  2. Ankita Dewan

    Hi Madhu,

    I require some assistance on group train tickets.
    Arrival at Schilpol Airport – 30th August.
    Destination – Groningen.
    Most new international students arriving on 29th August were able to form a group to apply for a cheaper group ticket. Since I have not been able to find students arriving on 30th August, can you please suggest how can I still find people and form a group before booking a ticket.

    Thank You

    Ankita Dewan


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *