How to get about/ transport

Living in Europe | Access to the culture of the host country/language courses | Netherlands

And how do you get from your house to your work? How do you get around in the Netherlands? You have to check in advance whether your driving licence is valid in the Netherlands and how you can bring your car into the country. Besides good roads, the country has an advanced public transport infrastructure.

Bike

Almost everyone in the Netherlands owns a bike (16 million people, 13 million bikes). The flat country has a perfect infrastructure for biking. Not only as a leisure activity, but also as means of transportation to work. Most roadways are lined with bicycle lanes, complete with their own traffic lights and set of rules. For example, you are not allowed to bike on the sidewalk, and your bike should have functioning lights on both front and rear. Not abiding these rules may result in fines.

Offices and universities generally provide secured and sometimes covered spaces to put your bike. It is important to lock your bike at all times, as there are many bike thefts in the larger cities.

More information: Cycling in the Netherlands

Car

In general, roads in the Netherlands are of good quality and equipped with direction signs. However, the urban areas in the Netherlands (Randstad) can be very crowded with cars. Traffic jams in the mornings and afternoons are common. In the city centre it might be difficult to find parking spots as well. Ask the municipality about parking licences for inhabitants.

It is important to be familiar with the traffic rules before. Read about the rules and regulations in the guide ‘Road Traffic Signs and Regulations in the Netherlands' from the Ministry of Infrastructure.

Your driving license is valid in the Netherlands for a certain amount of time. This depends on the country of issue of your license. Find english information about your driving license.

Issued in an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland: Valid for use in the Netherlands until 10 years after the date of issue. If your license was issued longer than 9 years ago you have a year to obtain a Dutch driving license. During this period you can still use your foreign driving license.

Issued in another country: Valid for use in the Netherlands for 185 days after you have made residence in the Netherlands. Please note that during these 185 days you may be requested to show an international driving license on demand. Your embassy can give you more information about the specific cases in which an international driving license is required.

Public Transport

The Netherlands has an excellent public transport infrastructure. The fact that the country is small and the transportation is quick, allows you to reside in one city and work in another. Because of the density in traffic, it is often quicker to use public transport than a car in urban areas.

In order to use the public transport you need an OV chip card. This smart card is the size of a bank card and contains an invisible chip. You can charge your OV Chip Card with credit, with which you can travel anywhere within the Netherlands. You can purchase your OV Chip Card online or at the service points.

You can use 9292 OV to plan your journey from door – to –door. It covers all public transport companies.

Trains

The Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) is the national train company. Trains can bring you to most cities in the Netherlands. Some of the bigger cities have more than one station. All trains have 1st and 2nd class coupés, and some have stiltecoupés (silence wagons) where you can read or work quietly.

On the NS homepage you can plan your journey in advance and see the duration and prices, and even buy your ticket online. Generally, people buy tickets at the yellow self-service machines in the railway stations. You can pay with coins or with your Mastercard. One return is cheaper than two single tickets. For children up to 11 you can purchase a Railrunner ticket of 2,50.

If you travel to work every day, it might be beneficial to buy a Dal Voordeelabonnement or a Trajectkaart. In general, your employer will pay your travel expenses. Ask your employer.

Useful links:

  • NS- OV chip card - for information about how to use the OV chip card for traintravels
  • NS International - The NS website for high speed connections with foreign destinations

Buses, trams and metro

Rotterdam and Amsterdam are the only cities with a metro network. The metro stations have electronic gates that will only open when you check in with an OV chip card.

Useful links: