Public transport in the Netherlands is advanced by international standards. An extensive road network, trains and buses connect different areas, while larger cities often have tram and metro services.
Public transport in the Netherlands
The country has an extensive public transport system, and expats will find that getting around the Netherlands is easy, safe and relatively inexpensive.
A contactless smart card system, OV-Chipkaart, is used to pay for the metro, buses, trams and trains. Depending on how long one will be in the Netherlands and how often they intend commuting, there are different options for the OV-Chipkaart.
The Dutch rail network is one of the busiest in the world, with trains running between all major cities.
There are two different types of trains: intercity (express) trains which connect main cities directly and are faster, and slower trains connecting small stations, with multiple stops along the way.
There are a number of ways to travel by bus, with city and regional connections being available. However, for longer distances, most travellers prefer to use trains.
Both Amsterdam and Rotterdam have well-developed metro systems that mainly run on elevated railways outside the city and underground within the city centre.
Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht all have efficient tram networks. Although the tram system can be difficult to navigate, it’s one of the best ways for expats to explore their surroundings.
Taxis in the Netherlands
Taxis aren't a common form of transport in the Netherlands. They're pricey and in some places they can't be hailed off the street, with commuters instead booking by telephone beforehand or getting one at a taxi stand. All official taxis have blue licence plates. Ride-sharing applications such as Uber are a good alternative.
Driving in the Netherlands
Driving in the Netherlands is relatively easy thanks to its good roads and clear signage. However, traffic congestion can be a problem. In addition, fuel is notoriously expensive in the Netherlands. Parking in cities is also often difficult and can be expensive. It’s generally easier to use public transport when getting around larger cities.
Cycling in the Netherlands
Cycling is a popular form of recreation and transport in the Netherlands. Cyclists are well catered for with dedicated cycle paths, which are regulated with their own set of rules and systems, including traffic signals and lanes. When driving, expats should give priority to cyclists if they turn across a cycle lane.
Air travel in the Netherlands
Schipol Airport, near Amsterdam, is the main airport in the Netherlands. Regional airports include Eindhoven Airport, Maastricht Aachen Airport and Rotterdam The Hague Airport. Due to the country’s small size and abundance of other transport options, domestic flights in the Netherlands are limited, and there's no real need to fly between destinations within the country.
►Learn more about public transport in the capital with Getting Around in Amsterdam
Are you an expat living in The Netherlands?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to The Netherlands. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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