Netherlands By Bike
Getting a closer look...
A selection of news and short documentaries on Dutch life, bicycling and historical events.
If you are thinking about a bicycling holiday to the Netherlands, this is the place to start!
Some trips to consider...
Allow us to introduce you to some of our favorite bicycle tour routes.
Here are some bike travel ideas we think you should know about.
✔︎ Where can I use the ov-chipkaart?
✘ Where is the ov-chipkaart not accepted?
OV-Chipkaart card reader at NS train station
Read what Holland.com has to say about the ov-chipkaart
Meet the OV-Chipkaart
✘ Personal (not available to tourists)
Must be a resident of the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany or Luxembourg.
✔︎ Anonymous (recommended)
✔︎ Disposable Paper Card (not a smart card)
If you're undecided on which card to get, consider the convenience and carefree opportunities the Anonymous card offers. You never know when your bicycling plans may change due to weather or scheduling. It's comforting to know that you can just jump on the nearest train to a new location or grab a Metro across town to a museum or restaurant.
The disposable card will just disappoint you!
Some thoughts and comments
Ticket barriers at Utrecht Centraal Station
✔︎ You should use the modern ticket machines located at major city NS Train stations and Schiphol airport. These all favor chip and pin compliant credit or atm cards. NS Customer service counters will manually process most signature based credit cards as long as you provide a valid passport.
✔︎ You can also use the ticket machines used for mass transit systems like Metros and Trams. These all favor chip and pin compliant credit or atm cards.
✔︎ You can sign up for an ov-chipkaart online account in order to monitor your card activity such as travel history and card usage.
✔︎ Your card is immediately activated for 2nd class travel on NS but can be "class swapped" to first class.
✘ You can not purchase anything online such as an e-ticket or add money to your ov-chipkaart unless you have a Dutch issued credit card. You must use a ticket machine.
✘ The ticket machines at local shops and grocery stores typically don’t work with foreign credit cards even if they are chip and pin compliant.
✘ You should avoid performing credit card transactions at rural train stations because they are not attended and don't always accept foreign credit cards. Plan ahead by adding credit while in one of the larger cities.
✘ If your card ever malfunctions, your only option is to visit a NS train station which has a customer service counter. They will fix or replace as needed.
✔︎ Always carry spare Euro coins to purchase a disposable paper card for you or your bike if needed. The NS ticket machines do not accept paper currency!
✘ You can not rent an OV-Fiets bicycle nor can you use your anonymous card to pay for bicycle storage (fietsenstallings) at NS Stations.
Be sure to use the correct card scanner
when using Train or Metro.
Rules for Checking Out
NS Trains, Metro, Tram or Bus
► If you are transferring from one NS train to another NS train then you do not have to check out until you reach your final destination.
► If you are transferring from one Metro to another Metro then you do not have to check out until you reach your final destination.
► You can't mix train types! You must check out if transferring between a NS train and a Metro or one of its regional carriers like Arriva. Be very careful to look for your carrier's logo or name on the card scanner before swiping. Scan responsibly!
► You must always check out on trams and buses regardless of transfers.
► If you forget to check out on the train, you can return and check out as long as it's within 6 hours of your check in.
There are three types of card scanners
► Entry and Exit gates found in most NS train and Metro stations and will automatically check you in and out.
► Free standing scanners located near train platforms and require you to voluntarily check in and out. These are typically found in smaller NS trains stations or city metro stations.
► Vehicle mounted scanners found on Trams and Buses and require you to voluntarily check in and out.
The Boarding Fee and the Minimum Balance
• NS Train Boarding Fee: €20
• Metro, Tram or Bus Boarding Fee: €4
OV-Chipkaart entrance gates at NS train station
When swiping your card to check in, a Green light will confirm with "Inchecken" signifying you are now checked in. A Red light is a malfunction with your card or you have an insufficient balance. Make sure your card was activated properly for 2nd class NS travel.
When swiping your card to check out, a Green light will confirm with "Uitchecken" then displays your current balance signifying you are now checked out. A Red light is a malfunction with your card or you never checked in!
OV-Chipkaart card scanner on Amsterdam tram
Refund on unused credit
Refund on forgetting to check out