Holland has one of the busiest rail networks in the world. All major towns (and many smaller ones) have a train station, and there are frequent connections.
- trains in all directions go at least twice per hour
- trains run from about 6am until midnight on practically all routes
- trains run every day of the year, including public holidays
- On December 31 (New Year's Eve) there are no trains between 8pm and midnight
- there are first and second class coaches. The difference is not very big in Holland, but the price difference is substantial.
- most trains are operated by the company Nederlandse Spoorwegen (certainly around Amsterdam).
- you must buy a ticket (i.e. have a valid OV-chipcard) before entering the train.
- tickets (OV-chipcards) can be bought at a counter, but also from a machine.
- all train stations have ticket machines, and you can swith the language to English.
- return tickets (called 'day return') must be used on the same day
- return tickets cost twice the price of a single ride (there is no discount)
- there are night trains, once per hour (connecting the stations Amsterdam Centraal, Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena, Schiphol Airport, Leiden, Delft, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Den Haag)
As of July 9 2014, The Netherlands has switched to payment of train rides with the OV-chipcard. This already applied to all buses, trams and metros, and now also to the entire train system.
For incidental train users (such as tourists), it remains possible to buy single-use OV-chipcards. A surcharge of 1 Euro per ticket applies.
Since June 2015 there is a one-stop OV-service shop at the Amsterdam Central Station, where you can buy train tickets, OV-chipcards, plus everything else you need for your public transport.
On Schiphol Airport there is also a ticket office (and machines to buy your train ticket from).
Train station Amsterdam Sloterdijk
Train compartment in Dutch double decker train
Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena train station
NS train (doubledecker)
Main train station Haarlem