Netherlands by train

Map with main train connections in the Netherlands

Explore the Netherlands by train with a Eurail pass and travel from easy-going capital Amsterdam to cities covered with history like Utrecht and Maastricht. While in the Netherlands, consider a visit to the Keukenhof flower gardens and the traditional houses of the Zaanse Schans. Spot tulip fields along the way, as the train takes you to every corner of this small, but fascinating country.

The Netherlands in images
Train types in the Netherlands
Domestic connections in the Netherlands
International connections to and from the Netherlands
Reservations for trains in the Netherlands
Rail passes for the Netherlands
Places to visit in the Netherlands
Events in the Netherlands
Benefits in the Netherlands
More about the Netherlands

The Netherlands in images

Amsterdam canals

Amsterdam canals

Keukenhof

Keukenhof

Windmills in Kinderdijk

Windmills in Kinderdijk

St. Servaas bridge, Maastricht

St. Servaas bridge, Maastricht

Binnenhof, The Hague

Binnenhof, The Hague

Train types in the Netherlands

 

There are a number of train types in the Netherlands ready to transport you both day and night. Most of the Dutch network is operated by NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen). Use the Eurail train timetable to check times for trains in the Netherlands.

 

Regional and Intercity trains in the Netherlands Dutch train running through tulip fields, the Netherlands

The main rail network in the Netherlands is made up of the following regional and Intercity trains:

  • Intercity trains link larger cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht and Maastricht.

  • Sprinter trains connect regional destinations with larger Dutch cities. These trains are slower than Intercity trains.

 

On the Eurail timetable Intercity trains appear as "IC". Sprinter trains appear in the timetable as well, but not with an abbreviation. Reservations are not required for Intercity and Sprinter trains.

High-speed trains in the Netherlands

International high-speed trains in the Netherlands

These high-speed trains operate to and from the Netherlands:

  • ICE trains operate between Amsterdam and Frankfurt (Germany).

  • IC trains connect Amsterdam with Berlin (Germany).

  • InterCity trains link The Hague and Rotterdam with Brussels (Belgium).

  • Thalys trains connect Amsterdam with Brussels (Belgium) and Paris (France).

 

Domestic high-speed trains in the Netherlands

The InterCity Direct high-speed train (formerly known as Fyra) operates on the route Amsterdam – Schiphol – Rotterdam – Breda.

 

On the Eurail timetable ICE trains are shown as "ICE", IC and InterCity trains appears as "IC", and Thalys as "THA".  Reservations for Thalys trains are compulsory and we recommend you make them as soon as possible. A reservation is not required for ICE and IC trains, but we recommend you make them during busy times.

Night trains in the Netherlands Map with night train routes in the Netherlands

International night trains in the Netherlands

The following night trains connect the Netherlands with Austria, Denmark, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Switzerland.

  • City Night Line (CNL):
    Connects the Netherlands to key cities in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic and Switzerland.

  • Euronight (EN):
    Links Amsterdam with Berlin (Germany) and Warsaw (Poland).

 

City Night Line trains appear on the Eurail timetable as "CNL", EuroNight trains are listed as "EN". You're required to book sleeping accommodation in advance.

Domestic connections in the Netherlands

 
Map with popular connections in the Netherlands

Map with popular connections in the Netherlands

View approximate train travel times between the Netherlands' most popular cities using Intercity trains:

From 

To

Intercity train

Amsterdam

Rotterdam

40min

Amsterdam

Schiphol

15min

Amsterdam

Utrecht

27min

Amsterdam

Maastricht

2hr 30min

Amsterdam

The Hague

50min

Amsterdam

Groningen

2hr 10min

Amsterdam

Leeuwarden

2hr 10min

International connections to and from the Netherlands

 

We suggest the following routes to travel between the Netherlands and other European countries:

  • Belgium – the Netherlands
    Take an InterCity train from The Hague or Rotterdam to Brussels (1hr 45min)

  • France – the Netherlands
    Arrive in Amsterdam on the high-speed Thalys train from Paris (3hr 30min).

  • Germany – the Netherlands
    Go by day from  from  Amsterdam to Frankfurt  (4hr) or Düsseldorf (2hr 10min) by ICE train or travel by night between Amsterdam and Berlin (9hr 30min) with the City Night Line. 

Reservations for trains in the Netherlands

 

Domestic trains in the Netherlands do not require a reservation. You can just hop on and off. A supplement is required for the InterCity Direct high-speed train (formerly known as Fyra) between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Reservations are compulsory for international night trains and international high-speed trains. Prices for night trains depend on the type of sleeping accommodation you choose.

 

How to make reservations for trains in the Netherlands

You can make reservations for domestic and international high-speed trains and night trains:

  • At a ticket desk at local train stations.

  • By phone through the NS high-speed call center.
    Phone number: +31 302 331 676
    Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. (8:00-21:00) and Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (10:00-18:00) (local times). When calling, you’ll hear a menu in Dutch. Select extension ‘1’ for services in English and then ‘1’ to book the Thalys or ‘2’ to book other trains. NS International can book trains in various European countries (€12.50 booking fee; 2 reservations per call allowed). You have to pay for reservations made over the phone with a Visa or MasterCard credit card.

 

 

Through the call center reservations can only be delivered to addresses in the Netherlands. There are no delivery costs. You can also pick up your reservations at a NS International ticket desk or at a self-service machine. Just go to a Dutch train station with a NS International desk with your booking code.

 

Find out more about reservations

Rail passes for the Netherlands

 
Map with example route in Benelux

Map with example route in Benelux

Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (Benelux) are considered as one country within the Eurail passes. Eurail Benelux passes let you see all of Benelux's top cities like Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels and Luxembourg city. We offer the Benelux rail pass and passes that combine Benelux with other European countries.

 

Rail pass options for the Netherlands

  • Eurail Global Pass starting from USD$ 341 – Have the freedom to visit the Netherlands and up to 27 other Eurail countries.

  • Eurail Select Pass starting from USD$ 131 - This is a 4 country pass that combines the Benelux with bordering countries.

  • Regional Pass – Focus on visiting Benelux plus 1 other country. Here are your options:
    Eurail Benelux – France Pass starting from USD$ 264 –  Travel around famed French cities like Paris and Nice.
    Eurail Benelux – Germany Pass starting from  USD$ 264–  Explore popular German cities like Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt

  • Eurail Benelux Pass starting from USD$ 148  Spend your whole vacation to discover Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg by rail.

 

Example train route in the Benelux

Experience the best of the Benelux on a single trip with a Eurail pass. You can follow the suggested route below using a Eurail Benelux Pass3 days within 1 month, starting fromUSD$ 148.

 

1. Amsterdam

Wander through Amsterdam’s beautiful historical city center and breathe in the vibrant atmosphere.

 

2. Maastricht

Maastricht is an international city with a long history. Enjoy Roman and Spanish ruins, great cuisine and cozy cobbled streets.

 

3. Brussels

Brussels is bustling with culture – make sure you take a stroll around the Grand Place square.

 

4. Luxembourg

Luxembourg city is soaked in luxury and history. Wander around the old town or enjoy amazing scenery at Chemin de la Corniche – ‘Europe’s most beautiful balcony’.

 

For more route ideas for your Eurail trip, check out our European highlights itinerary.

 

Places to visit in the Netherlands

 
Erasmus Bridge, Rotterdam
Erasmus Bridge, Rotterdam

A new and modern port city

You’ll be hard-pressed to find any buildings built before 1945, since most of Rotterdam (Europe’s largest port) was bombed flat during WWII. This gives the city a modern feel, unlike any other Dutch city. Don’t miss the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, with one of Europe’s finest art collections. With bustling nightlife, a very modern skyline, and plenty of museums, Rotterdam is a completely different Holland altogether. 

From train station Rotterdam Centraal, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is a 15-minute walk or a short tram ride.

Medieval tower Father Vink , Maastricht
Medieval tower Father Vink , Maastricht

Multicultural Maastricht

Your Eurail Benelux Pass is valid in the ‘Benelux’ (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), so be sure to visit the charming city of Maastricht when you travel between Belgium and the Netherlands. Maastricht is an enigmatic and international city that comes complete with Spanish and Roman ruins, international cuisine, and a real feeling of German, French and Belgian influences. 

Maastricht city center is less than a 15-minute walk from Maastricht Centraal Station.

Canal boat in Amsterdam
Canal boat in Amsterdam

One-of-a-kind Amsterdam

Since the 17th century, Amsterdam has been renowned for liberal and creative thinking. Today, along with more ‘liberal’ pastimes (like cannabis coffeeshops and the Red Light District), you can also find some of Europe’s finest art and architecture, dating back to the 15th century. Amsterdam’s residents cruise the narrow streets on bicycles. But for sightseeing, a canal boat tour is your best option. 

From Amsterdam Centraal Station, the Dam Square is about a 10-minute walk. You’ll find the palace offices of the royal family, Madame Tussauds, and plenty of restaurants and shops there.

Scheveningen beach
Scheveningen beach

The Hague and the beaches of Scheveningen

The Hague (Den Haag) is the seat of government and the residence of the royal family. Filled with elaborate architecture and unmatched culinary masterpieces, The Hague is rich with personality. Don’t miss the Escher in Het Paleis museum with works of the famous Dutch artist M.C. Escher. A short tram ride from The Hague will bring you to the beaches at Scheveningen – a resort-like area filled with bars and the best seafood available.

From Den Haag Centraal, Escher in Het Paleis is about a 10-minute walk.

Madurodam, The Hague
Madurodam, The Hague

Tiny city in a small country

Between The Hague and the seaside resort of Scheveningen lies the Netherlands’ ‘smallest’ city. Madurodam is a miniature city depicting famous buildings and scenes from Dutch history, replicated on a 1:25 scale. From the canal houses of Amsterdam to the Alkmaar cheese market, Madurodam offers visitors a chance to walk through a miniaturized depiction of Holland through the ages.

Madurodam is easiest to reach by tram. Take tram 9 from Den Haag Centraal, and the Madurodam stop is 7 minutes away.

Events in the Netherlands

 
Keukenhof, Lisse
Keukenhof, Lisse

Keukenhof

March 20 - May 17, 2015

The world’s largest flower garden is open for 2 months every year, and has attracted more than 51 million visitors since it began. More than 80 acres (32 hectares) of carefully tended gardens, hundreds of thousands of colorful blooms, and ornate displays of horticulturalists’ best works. In all, more than 7 million flowers in 1800 varieties are on display, in attractive designs and beautiful themed arrangements.

The Keukenhof can be reached by bus from Leiden Central station, Schiphol, Hague Central station and Haarlem.

King's Day, Amsterdam
King’s Day, Amsterdam

King’s Day (Koningsdag)

April 26, 2015

Arguably the biggest national party of the year, Koningsdag is celebrated in every city in the Netherlands, but nowhere so boisterously as in Amsterdam. Hundreds of thousands of people descend upon the city dressed in orange (in honor of the royal family’s lineage from the House of Orange-Nassau). The beer flows, the orange glows, and the residents take advantage of the 1-day ‘free market’ – a sort of city-wide flea market. Festivities begin the night before, on ‘King’s Night’ (Koningsnacht).

Festivities take place all over the city. The best way to experience King's Day is by walking through the city.

North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam
North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam

North Sea Jazz Festival

July 10 - July 12, 2015

The world’s largest jazz festival also includes world music, blues, funk, rock, R&B and more. For 3 days, the very best local, national and international acts perform on 12 indoor and outdoor stages in an enormous concert venue in Rotterdam.

The North Sea Jazz Festival takes place at Ahoy which can be reached by tram and metro from Rotterdam central station.

Pass benefits for the Netherlands

 
Lounge Amsterdam Centraal

Lounge Amsterdam Centraal

Discounted ferry crossings to Great Britain

Discounted ferry travel is an extra benefit of a Eurail pass valid in the Netherlands on the route:

  • Hoek van Holland – Harwich (Great-Britain)

 

Access to NS International lounges

Eurail pass holders can also access the NS International lounges on the following train stations for free:

  • Amsterdam Centraal

  • Breda

  • Rotterdam Centraal

  • Schiphol


See all pass benefits in the Netherlands

More about the Netherlands

 
Amsterdam Central station

Amsterdam Central station

Quick facts

  • Capital: Amsterdam

  • Population: 16.8 million

  • Language: Dutch

  • Currency: Euro (EUR)

  • Dialing code: +31
     

Dutch Hub stations

The main hub stations in the Netherlands are Amsterdam Centraal, Rotterdam Centraal and Utrecht Centraal. At these train stations, it's possible to connect to trains to the Netherlands’ main cities and many international destinations.

 

Please note that the Dutch Railways will close entry gates to many Dutch stations in the coming years. To get into the station, look up the square barcode on your Eurail pass cover. Hold the barcode against the scanner next to an entry gate, and the gate will open for you.

 

Station facilities

Stations in the Netherlands usually have excellent facilities, often including:

  • Luggage lockers

  • Foreign exchange desks

  • Restaurants and cafés

  • Tourist information offices

  • ATM cash machines

  • Elevators and escalators

  • Access for disabled passengers

 

On Dutch train timetables and at train stations in the Netherlands, you'll usually find the local spelling of Dutch cities and stations.

 
Here is the local spelling of some popular Dutch cities:

  • Den Haag = The Hague

  • Hoek van Holland = Hook of Holland

Related pages

 
- Countries in Europe
- Countries in Europe
- Countries in Europe
Back to top