A rail pass is a special ticket which allows unlimited train travel for a certain period in a specific region. There are a number of different rail passes available which cover travel to and around Netherlands.
This article highlights the use of InterRail and Eurail passes in Netherlands as well as some other local options...
This pass is available for European citizens and residents (including Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria). The "Global InterRail Pass" is valid for travel in some 30 countries around Europe. You have the choice of buying the following passes: flexi-passes of 5 travel days out of 10, 10 travel days out of 22 or continuous passes of either 15 days, 22 days or 1 month.
Current adult prices for a 1 month pass is €638 (2nd class) and €977 (1st class). Youths under 26 pay €422 for a 2nd class pass whilst seniors over 60 pay €575 (2nd) or €880 (1st).
The pass is valid for travel in: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.
The InterRail pass allows free travel on most regional and local trains that do not require reservations. Note, it is not valid for travel in the pass holder's country of residence. Your ticket includes a travel report table which you need to fill out for every journey taken.
InterRail Pass use in Netherlands
For domestic travel in Netherlands you can freely get on any Intercity (IC) or Sprinter type trains - see Dutch Train Types for more info. First class InterRail pass holders also get access to the NSHispeed lounges at main Dutch stations.
The new high speed FYRA trains (domestic and international) require a compulsory reservation fee of €4 (2nd class) and €6 (1st class). German ICE international trains can be used without reservation though it is recommended to make one, especially at peak times - the cost is €5 (2nd class) and €6 (1st class).
For travel on the high-speed Thalys service between Amsterdam and Paris (via Brussels) you must pay a special supplement - this is €39 (2nd class) and €62 (1st class). Note, at peak times the Thalys can be very busy and rail pass supplement ticket numbers are restricted. It may well be cheaper to book a separate Thalys ticket well in advance.
Travel on the Eurostar is NOT included with an InterRail pass. A passholder fare can be purchased - for example, London-Brussels costs €75 (2nd class) and €152 (1st class) - again, do check normal ticket prices which can be cheaper if booking in advance.
Supplements are also payable on TGVs in France (from €6) and fast train services in various countries. Night train services out of Amsterdam (and elsewhere) require compulsory reservations - prices (€9-€110) will depend whether you book a seat, couchette or sleeper.
Interrail passholders can get discounts for UK-Netherlands ferry services - 30% off Harwich-Hoek van Holland (Stena) and 25% off Newcastle-Ijmuiden (DFDS).
InterRail Benelux Pass
Another option is the Benelux Pass for unlimited travel in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. The passes are valid 1 month and allow travel for 3, 4, 6 or 8 days. Prices for over 26s start from €119 in 2nd class.
Obviously you should work out beforehand exactly where you plan to travel and whether normal point-to-point tickets would work out cheaper.
This is available for non-European residents and popular with North Americans, Australians etc. The Global Pass is valid in the following 23 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. (Note the absence of Great Britain).
Eurail Global passes come as flexi passes: 10 or 15 days in a 2 month period, or continuous passes of 15 days, 21 days, 1,2 or 3 months. Adult (over 26) prices - valid for 1st class travel - start from US$752 up to $2,079. Discounts are available for 2 adults travelling together.
Eurail also has cheaper regional flexi-passes - for example Benelux, Benelux + Germany or Benelux + France or you can create your own "select pass" by choosing which countries you want to travel to.
Similar to the InterRail ticket, supplements are required on premium rail services such as the Thalys and night-time trains.
Continuous InterRail and Eurail passes are a great way to get a flavour of many European cities. The trick is to compromise between travel and stopping over. Travel during night-time can save on accommodation costs but can be tiring and you won't see much scenery at night. Remember that southern countries have relatively cheap rail tickets so to get better value from the pass you should also tackle some of the more expensive rail nations in the north of Europe.
Dutch Rail NS Day Passes
Day Travel Card - This allows 1 day's unlimited travel on any NS train in Netherlands. It can be bought by anyone with a personal or anonymous OV-chip card. It costs €49.20 (2nd class) or €83.60 (1st class) in 2013.
Children 4-11 accompanied by an adult with any NS ticket pay €2.50 for a Rail Runner - valid all day. Children under 4 travel free.
Kruidvat Day Tickets - A couple of times a year Dutch chemist chain Kruidvat offers unlimited travel day cards (valid weekends only, limited dates) in 2nd class on the NS network for just €14. These are targeted at locals rather than visitors. They can be exceptionally good value but sell out very quickly.
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