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Blokker NS Dutch Rail Day Tickets on sale

Following Kruidvat’s December offer for weekend day tickets, Dutch household chain Blokker is offering a 1 day off-peak ticket (dal vrij dagkaart) for unlimited train travel in Netherlands for €15.50.blokker ns day rail tickets 2014

These day tickets are available for purchase at Blokker stores in the Netherlands between 2nd and 19th January 2014. Online purchase is also possible at blokker.nl with payment accepted by iDeal (Dutch internet banking), Mastercard or Visa. You can pick-up the ticket(s) for free at a specified Blokker store or deliver to a Dutch address for €0.99.

The tickets are valid for 1 day’s travel between now and 16th March 2014 and are in the form of a disposable OV-chip card. For travel on NS trains you must check-in at one of the card readers. For travel on other train providers (Arriva, Breng, Connexxion, Syntus and Veolia) you should date stamp the card at one of the stamping machines.

During the week (Mon-Fri) you are not allowed to check-in during the peak hours 0630-0900 or 1600-1830. However you could check-in before 0630 and then travel during peak hours. Note, the non-NS providers do not allow travel during the peak hours.

There are no time restrictions for use at weekends.

Domestic travel is also valid on Intercity Direct (Schiphol-Rotterdam) and ICE International trains (Amsterdam-Utrecht-Arnhem) with the appropriate supplement.

There are a number of Blokker stores in Amsterdam including at:

Kalverstraat 41 (main shopping street)
Ferdinand Bolstraat 100
Kinkerstraat 260-262
Bilderdijkstraat 169
Jodenbreestraat 19
Haarlemmerdijk 72-74
Jan van Galenstraat 107A
Ceintuurbaan 302
Ceintuurbaan 109A
Spaarndammerstraat 99-105
2e Nassaustraat 25A-B
Mercatorplein 88

These tickets can offer great value if doing day trips from Amsterdam to some of the outlying cities in Netherlands such as Groningen or Maastricht.  They are also good for making multiple stops at different places during the day.

Before choosing a travel day do check for any scheduled rail works which could disrupt your route.

Top 8 Amsterdam museums in 2013 by visitor numbers

2013 was a record year for museum visits in Amsterdam. This was led by the new Rijksmuseum which reopened in April 2013 attracting 2.2 million visitors over the 9 month period.  Other museums having a record year were Anne Frank House, Stedelijk, NEMO and Amsterdam Museum.

There was also a record 1 million annual Museum Cards sold in 2013

Let’s take a look at the top 8 visited museums in Amsterdam. Figures published by the museums or compiled by NRC.

1. Rijksmuseum (2.2 million) – of this total 1.3 million (60%) were local Dutch visitors and 900,000 (40%) were international visitors.new rijksmuseum

2. Van Gogh Museum (1.4 million) - the museum reopened in May 2013 after a major renovation. The collection was on show at the Hermitage during the closure. 2014 should see even more visitors.van gogh museum amsterdam

3. Anne Frank House (1,195,456) - small increase on 2012, 88% of these were international visitors. anne frank house amsterdam

4. Stedelijk (700,000) - a record calender year for the new Stedelijk which also underwent a major expansion and reopened its doors in September 2012.stedelijk museum amsterdam

5. NEMO Science Center (545,000) - the children’s science museum also reported record annual visitor numbers.nemo science center amsterdam

6. Hermitage (381,000) - saw a decrease in numbers probably due to the temporary Van Gogh exhibition attracting more visitors in 2012.

7. Maritime Museum (330,000) – had 100,000 less visitors than the previous year when it was the “must-see” museum in Amsterdam.

8. Amsterdam Museum (296,000) - record year for the museum. Number also includes visits to the Willet-Holthuysen canal house.

See our Amsterdam Museums guide for up-to-date visitor info.

Kruidvat Dutch Rail Day Ticket on sale

The Kruidvat Trein Dagkaart (train day ticket) can be one of the best travel bargains in the Netherlands. For €13.99 you get 1 day’s unlimited travel on the entire Dutch rail network . Note, these tickets are only valid for travel at weekends for limited dates.
kruidvat train ticket offer december 2013

There is also an OV Dagkaart (public transport day ticket) offer available for €16.49 which gives 1 day’s unlimited travel on all forms of public transport in Netherlands including trains, metro, buses and trams.

The latest day ticket offers are available for purchase at Kruidvat chemist stores in Netherlands between 17th and 22nd December 2013. Online purchase is NOT possible.

The tickets are valid for 1 day’s travel at weekends between 21st December 2013 and 23rd March 2014.

The tickets are in the form of a disposable OV-chip card. The train ticket is valid on all domestic Dutch trains run by NS, Arriva, Breng, Connexxion, Syntus and Veolia. You should check-in and check-out with the card readers on NS journeys. For travel on the other providers you should date stamp your ticket before travel.

Travel is also valid on Intercity Direct and ICE International trains with the appropriate supplement.

The OV Dagkaart can be used as an OV-chip card on NS, GVB (Amsterdam), HTM/HTMbuzz (The Hague) and RET (Rotterdam). For all other valid transport providers (Arriva, Breng, Connexxion, EBS, GVU, Hermes, Qbuzz, Syntus, U-OV and Veolia) you should date stamp the ticket prior to travel.

Final notes, (1) the tickets are not refundable and (2) be aware that either severe winter weather or planned engineering works at weekends can disrupt travel plans.

If you wish to purchase the ticket(s) you should hurry to a Kruidvat store as they are popular and can sell out quickly.kruidvat store amsterdam

There are 10 Kruidvat stores in Amsterdam:

Nieuwendijk 160
Jodenbreestraat 96
Regulierbreestraat 22
Bilderdijkstraat 73-87
V-Limburg-Stirumstraat 58
Ferdinand Bolstraat 33-39
van Woustraat 98-102
Dapperplein 62
Linnaeusstraat 70-72
Kinkerstraat 244

Amsterdam-Brussels 2014 train fare increases

Yesterday (December 15th 2013) saw the introduction of the new rail timetable in Netherlands. Whilst Dutch domestic train fares are not due to go up until the new year, standard international rail fares between Netherlands and Belgium have been increased.intercity brussels

Let’s summarise some of the fare changes for standard rail travel using Intercity trains (these fares are not valid for the Thalys):

Amsterdam-Brussels tariffs 2014

2nd class single €39.20 (was €36) – 8.9% increase
1st class single €63.60 (was €58.40) – 8.9% increase

2nd class day return €50.40 (was €46.40) – 8.6% increase
1st class day return €81.40 (was €75) – 8.5% increase
(valid Mon-Fri after 0900)

2nd class weekend return €47.20 (was €43.20) – 9.3% increase
1st class weekend return €63.60 (was €70.20) – 9.4% decrease!
(outward journey Fri-Sun, return Sat-Sun)

The 1st class weekend return fare of €63.60 looks a little odd since it is a 9.4% decrease when all other prices are up 9% across the board. It is also exactly the same as the 1st class standard single. We thought it was a tariff input mistake though NSHispeed assures us this fare is correct.

Amsterdam-Zaventem (Brussels airport) is for now still showing as the 2013 fare (€38.40, 2nd class single).

Amsterdam-Antwerp:

2nd class single €28.80 (was €26) – 10.8% increase
1st class single €47.60 (was €43) – 10.7% increase

So following the FYRA train debacle in 2013, travellers are being hit with fare increases of up to 11%. As an indication, the official inflation rate in Netherlands is currently reported at 1.5% – though the “real” cost of living is probably going up at least 5%.