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Getting around in The Netherlands

Most Dutch people prefer to get around by bicycle, either a regular bike or an e-bike. If they need to travel further afield, they go by train or bus. Some cities also have a tram or metro. The most convenient means of transport depends on what runs near you and how far away your work is. Read on to find out your options.



If you have a valid non-Dutch driving licence, you can use it for up to 185 days after moving to the Netherlands. After that period is up, you can only drive in the Netherlands with a Dutch driving licence. You can sometimes exchange your foreign driving licence for a Dutch one, for instance if you are a knowledge migrant working in the Netherlands and are eligible for the ‘30% tax facility’ provided by the Dutch tax authorities, or if the Netherlands has made an agreement with your home country. 


If you live and work in the same city, a bicycle or e-bike may be the perfect means of transport for you. This is normal in the Netherlands and it is a safe, fast way of getting around. And it not only keeps you fit and healthy, it's also cheap! 

Public transport

If you need to travel somewhat further afield, you may prefer to go by car or public transport, like most Dutch people. Although the Dutch often complain about public transport, services are generally good and convenient. The train and bus are most frequently used, but the tram and metro are also good options in certain cities. To plan your route by train, bus, tram, metro or ferry, simply go to: https://9292.nl/en .


Dutch cities and villages are connected by an efficient rail network, running two types of train: intercities, which only stop at larger stations, and sprinters, which link up smaller stations (in villages, for instance) or different areas in large cities. You can opt for a first-class or second-class ticket, with first class being more expensive. There are also special ‘silent’ carriages, where you are not allowed to talk or make telephone calls. Plan your train trip by calling +31 (0)30 751 5155 or visit  https://www.ns.nl/en .


Buses also take you almost anywhere you want to go. There are routes that run only in cities, but also ones that will take you into the countryside. Most buses are reasonably new and comfortable. Check out 9292 for bus times and bus stops.


Trams run in Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam, taking you in all directions from the city centre. Trams are perfect for short trips through the city, but are also useful for longer journeys to other parts of the city. There are sometimes even fast trams that link small villages or suburbs up to the city.


Amsterdam and Rotterdam both have an underground metro network that runs out to the suburbs. This can be a fast and efficient way to travel. 


Some cities have ferries across a river or canal.

Paying for public transport

There are two ways you can pay for public transport:

  1. OVpay
    With OVpay, you can check in and out using your contactless (ABN AMRO) debit card or credit card, or using your mobile phone or wearable device. It’s an easy, secure and quick way to pay for your journey. OVpay works at more and more locations and is accepted by all public transport operators in the Netherlands. Read all about how it works and where you can use it.

  2. Public transport smart card:
    You can use a public transport smart card (OV-chipkaart in Dutch) in order to use public transport. There are three different cards to choose from: anonymous (anonieme), personalised (persoonlijke) and disposable (wegwerp):
  • Personalised card
    Buy online: www.ov-chipkaart.nl . Costs €7.50* and is valid for five years.

  • Anonymous card
    Buy at the ticket office or station vending machines. Costs around €7.50* and is valid for five years.

  • Disposable card 
    Buy at station vending machines or on the tram. A single journey ticket can be used for one hour after validation. Day and multi-day tickets are also available.

    * Please check ov-chipkaart.nl for current prices.


Taxis can be useful for getting to and from the airport, at night when public transport has stopped running or when you’re running late. However, depending on the traffic at peak times, public transport may get you to your destination even quicker and a lot cheaper. 

The information on this page is a brief explanation. You can not derive any rights from this.

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