Netherlands By Bike


Getting Around by Train Transport

Train Travel

An Introduction to the Dutch Railway

The National Railway system in the Netherlands is called NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) and is publicly owned and operated by the Dutch government for the benefit of its citizens. It is a highly reliable, modern and efficient rail transportation system that you will enjoy experiencing. In more rural areas of the Netherlands, you will find other train companies such as Arriva and Abellio (R-Net) operating under contract to NS, so rest assured that they all operate under the same umbrella. NS provides all domestic rail service as well as an international train to Brussels.
The OV-Chipkaart is the national payment card for public transport throughout the Netherlands and is the only payment method that is accepted on the train. It is important that you read our ov-chipkaart section carefully as it can get complicated if you are a tourist. Many of the advertised features of the ov-chipkaart are not available to you without Dutch residency or a Dutch-issued credit card. The payment system is heavily automated, using ticket machines designed to work with a chip-and-pin-compliant credit or ATM card. We highly recommend that you purchase your ov-chipkaart at one of the large city train stations or Schiphol airport. These locations have a customer service counter and can manually process your purchase just in case you have card issues at the machines.

Intercity Train

Be sure to download the NS Reisplanner mobile App to your phone before you arrive because you may need it leaving Schiphol airport for your first destination. This is a critical survival tool if you plan on using the train. It will provide you with a wealth of real time information such as train schedules, fare costs, track departures, station transfers and delays. For your convenience, the NS online website Journey Planner provides the exact same valuable information. When trying to calculate how much money to put on your ov-chipkaart, these are both perfect tools to determine those amounts ahead of time.




Visit NS here for more

Here are the NS stations with staffed customer service counters

Here are the different style NS ticket machines

OK, I'm ready to learn more!

information on the OV-Chipkaart

Meet the Trains!

Domestic and International trains directly serving the Netherlands

Domestic Trains

NS Rail Netherlands

OV-Chipkaart Required


The Sprinter trains are single level commuter style trains with more doors and large interiors. They offer local service, stopping at all stations along a route. Although they are not designed for long distance comfort, they are excellent for bicycles, offering easy on and off access. Bikes are welcome in designated cars during non black out periods.


The Intercity trains are recognized as the double decker style train offering comfortable seating. These trains travel longer distances at faster speeds, serving major towns and cities. Bikes are welcome in designated cars during non black out periods.

Intercity Direct

Same as above but an Express train serving Schiphol airport, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Breda. They require purchase of an additional supplement (upgrade) which can be purchased on departing platforms with your ov-chipkaart. Bikes are welcome in designated cars during non black out periods.

A local Sprinter train


Owned by Deutsche Bahn under contract to NS,  Arriva serves smaller routes in the Netherlands such as Friesland, Groningen and Limburg provinces.  The service provides smaller trains where bikes are welcome in designated cars during non-blackout periods.


Abellio (RNET)

Abellio is a subsidiary of NS Rail serving smaller routes in the province of South Holland.  They provide smaller style trains but they are the most modern of the fleet.  Bikes are welcome in designated cars during non-blackout periods.

FYRA (discontinued)

You may see reference to this train on the internet from older sites. This was a short-lived high speed rail project between the Netherlands and Belgium but was discontinued in 2013.

Stoptrein - Term used sometimes on train schedules which literally means that the train stops at every station.

International Trains

Reservations Required

OV-Chipkaart Not Accepted

Intercity Brussels (Operated by NS and Belgium Rail)

Train service between Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp and  Brussels Midi-Zuid stations. Bicycles are allowed without restrictions but an additional €12.00 fee is required when purchasing ticket. This line provides maximum flexibility in ticketing and scheduling and is the best option when traveling to and from Belgium with a touring bike.

Belgium Rail (NMBS/SNCB)

This is the Belgium domestic rail service which is very bicycle friendly! You may transport your bike on trains within Belgium without restrictions by purchasing a separate bike ticket costing €5 per trip or €8 per day.

Helpful Note: Since Belgium is a bilingual country you will typically see both Dutch and French names used. For example, Brussels Midi-Zuid station -  You will see the word Midi (French) or Zuid (Dutch) used interchangeably. They are the same station!

Intercity Berlin (Deutsche Bahn)

This offers train service between Amsterdam and Berlin. Bicycles are allowed without restrictions but requires an additional €12.00 fee when purchasing your ticket. It provides maximum flexibility in ticketing and scheduling and is the best option when traveling to and from Berlin with a touring bike.

Intercity Express ICE (Deutsche Bahn)

German high speed service between Amsterdam, Germany and Copenhagen, Denmark.  Full size bicycles are not allowed on ICE trains traveling within The Netherlands.

High-Speed train to Berlin


Eurostar is a British high speed train. Effective 2020, you will finally be able to travel directly between London and Amsterdam without stopping in Brussels. Passport control is handled in London and Amsterdam. You are required to book your bike on Eurostar in advance since they limit the number of bikes on each train. Your bike must be checked as baggage and no disassembly or box is required. Limited availability so book in advance! The journey takes about 4+ hours between London and Amsterdam.


These are the French high speed trains offering service between Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris. The full size bicycle policy is very restrictive, requiring disassembly and a special slip cover.

NS International

NS International is an official ticket agent for Intercity Brussels, Intercity Berlin, Thalys, DB ICE, Eurostar and TGV reservations.


NS International customer service counters are available at the following locations:

Amsterdam • Rotterdam • Den Haag Schiphol • Utrecht • Arnhem • Breda

Can I bring my bike on the train?

Here are the facts at a glance...








All Trains





Belgium Rail


All Trains














Bike and Trains








Y / N


Bicycles Permitted ?

(No disassembly or boxing required)






- - -


- - -

- - -





£35 - £55













Must be checked

Disassembly and case required

Disassembly and case required


Rush Hour







Germany Only

Not inside NL

Current prices for 2020

The summer month of August can be the most challenging as you'll be competing with other cyclists for space on the trains since most of Europe is also on holiday.

Here is your ticket for more answers!

Attention Bicyclists

With the bike? Not in the rush hour!

Bicycle Restrictions
There is a black-out period during the morning and evening rush hour Monday through Friday 6:30-9:00 and 16:30-18:00. This black-out period does not apply to weekends, public holidays and the months of July and August.

Traveling on NS with your bike inside the Netherlands

Rules and Guidelines for a hassle free experience

Your bicycle is welcome on train cars designated by large bicycle logos shown on the outside doors. There are typically two or more cars designated for bikes on each train. We would like to share a few suggestions and experiences with you below...
Secure your bike!
It is essential that you bring at least 2 web style tie-down straps (36" minimum) to physically secure your bike to anchor points that are provided in most bike train cars.  A fully loaded touring bike can go flying due to the momentum caused by these powerful electric trains during the frequent stops and starts between stations. Save your bungee cords for some other task!
You will find elevators in every multi-level train station which requires access between the passenger area and track platforms. They are large enough to handle a fully loaded touring bike or two. NS has been investing heavily in modernizing all their train stations around the Netherlands with the elevators being a big advancement.

Intercity Bike Train Car

Buying a bicycle ticket

We can't stress enough the importance of keeping spare euro coins on hand to pay for these tickets at payment machines, especially in rural train stations that may not be able to process your non-Dutch credit card. It happens!!!

Passing through entry gates
The standard ov-chipkaart Entry and Exit gates are too narrow to pass through with a loaded touring bike so always look for the extra wide gates which are intended for wheelchairs and bicycles.

Problems you may encounter

At Schiphol: If your flight arrives early in the morning or at peak periods, you will be shocked to discover that you must compete for bike space on-board the train. Other foreign travelers who are heavily laden with luggage and who do not respect or understand the bike car rules will often use the open bike area for their luggage. You may have to wait for the next train! This is a unique Schiphol experience due to the volume of visitors coming through the airport and is not typical elsewhere.


Other Passengers: The bicycle parking area on board the train has priority over other uses such as baby carriages or people sitting in the folding seats. If you purchased a bike ticket, then you have the right to ask them to move. A polite way to handle this situation is to ask them where they are going. This typically cues them that you need the space. Most times they are going a short distance and getting off at the next station or two. Use your best discretion! The conductors will actively enforce this if you bring it to their attention, if you can find them. It is rare to run into these awkward situations but it does happen once in awhile.

Purchasing a bike ticket


  • You must purchase a separate "Day Card" for your bicycle which is good for the whole day.

  • Purchase your bike ticket from an automated NS machine at the train station using a chip and pin credit card or coin. They do not accept paper euro bills so it's always wise to carry emergency euro coins with you for this purpose.

  • The ticket must be purchased for that day only, so buying in advance is not an option as it is time-stamped and void after midnight.

  • You can purchase your "Day Card" as either a disposable paper ticket or you can add this as a product to your existing anonymous OV-Chipkaart.

  • Your bike ticket will only be verified on board the train by the conductor. Just present your paper ticket or ov-chipkaart if asked.