Amsterdam has a number of direct international rail services which can connect you to Belgium, France, Germany, UK and beyond. High speed rail travel in Europe is a good alternative to flying and gives a real feeling of travel.
In this article we overview all international trains running to/from Amsterdam. Note that there have been some significant changes to service frequencies due to the ‘coronavirus’ measures.
How To Book Rail Tickets: You can check timetables, prices and make bookings for all the international train services listed below at the NS International site. You can also check European timetables and book many tickets at German Railways Bahn.de site
International Rail Map Amsterdam
Firstly let’s start with our international rail network map for scheduled trains operating to/from Amsterdam Central. The map covers rail services from Amsterdam to Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK.
The Amsterdam-Paris rail route is served by the Thalys, an international high speed train service owned by SNCF French railways in partnership with Belgian railways.
In the Netherlands the Thalys travels on the HSL-Zuid high speed line from near Amsterdam to the Belgian border reaching speeds of up to 250km/h.
The Thalys runs between Amsterdam Central and Paris Nord and makes stops at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Brussels Zuid/Midi. It is currently running 7-9x daily (weekdays), 4x daily (Saturdays) and 5-6x daily (Sundays).
From Amsterdam the journey times are 1h 12 to Antwerp, 1h 50 to Brussels and 3h 18 to Paris.
Seats on the Thalys are sold in a similar way to airline tickets. Non-flexible, advance purchase fares are cheapest whilst prices rise significantly closer to the travel date or if buying changeable or flexible fares. Tickets are available up to 4 months in advance of travel.
The Thalys has a 3 class service: Standard, Comfort and Premium – all seats on the Thalys have individual electric power outlets.
Standard has 2nd class seating, free WiFi and food/drink can be purchased at the bar. Standard tickets can be changed for a €15 fee (plus price difference) and are 50% refundable. There are cheaper Standard Mini fares which are not changeable or refundable.
Comfort has 1st class seating, free WiFi and food/drink can be purchased at the bar. Access is granted to the NS International lounges at Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport or Rotterdam.
There are 2 types of Comfort fares – a cheaper non-flexible ticket; or the changeable fare which can be changed for a €15 fee (plus price difference) and is 50% refundable.
Premium is a proper 1st class ticket with 1st class seating, free WiFi (with more data), food/drink served at your seat and free access to an international press app. Premium ticket holders can enter the Thalys lounges at Brussels and Paris as well as the NS International lounges. Tickets are freely changeable and 100% refundable.
The cheapest Amsterdam-Paris Standard Mini fares cost €35-€65 one way. These are bookable up to 4 months out.
Standard one-way fares range €65-€135 and Comfort fares are €72-€155.
The fully flex Amsterdam-Paris Premium fares are €135-€205.
From Paris Nord you can connect onto the French TGV network to destinations throughout France – but you will have to transfer to one of the other Paris stations using the Metro/RER or taxi. You can buy Paris Metro tickets on board in the Thalys bar.
It is expected that from 13 December 2020 Thalys will restart some direct services to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and Marne-la-Vallée (Disneyland Paris).
BOOKING: Book your Thalys trip directly at NS International
Amsterdam-Brussels, Amsterdam-Antwerp: Thalys / Intercity Brussels
Amsterdam passengers travelling to Antwerp and Brussels have a choice of services on the route.
The high speed Thalys train runs from Amsterdam/Schiphol/Rotterdam to Antwerp and Brussels Zuid/Midi (up to 9x daily), as described above. There is also a high speed Eurostar service running Amsterdam-Brussels 1x daily.
Thalys fares from Amsterdam to Brussels or Antwerp are the same and range as follows: €29-€35 (Standard Mini fares, book up to 4 months out), €44-€82 (Standard), €45-€95 (Comfort) and €97-€117 (fully-flex Premium).
There is also the slower Intercity Brussels train which operates up to 13x daily between Amsterdam and Brussels Zuid/Midi. The Intercity Brussels service now also runs on the high-speed track in the Netherlands.
The Intercity Brussels train makes stops at Schiphol, Rotterdam, Breda, Noorderkempen (Belgium), Antwerp Central, Antwerp Berchem, Mechelen, Brussels Airport, Brussels North and Brussels Central.
The Intercity Brussels journey time from Amsterdam to Brussels is just 2 hours 48 minutes, around 30 minutes quicker than the previous Intercity service which used standard tracks.
Intercity Brussels has 1st class (2-1 seating configuration) and 2nd class (2-2) tickets for sale. There is an onboard trolley service where you can buy drinks and snacks.
Standard fixed (distance based) prices are in effect with no reservation necessary for international intercity travel. The new service also offers cheaper “early bird” tickets for those booking online in advance.
Amsterdam-Brussels one-way costs €48.40 (2nd class) or €77.20 (1st class). Early bird one-way fares start at €25 (2nd class) and €35 (1st class) Mon-Thu and €33 (2nd class) and €47 (1st class) each way Fri-Sun. Early bird fares are valid on any service on the ticket day of travel.
Those holding NS discount cards can receive a slight fare reduction (off the standard fare) calculated on the Netherlands segment of travel.
Other services of possible interest to travellers: there is an hourly Belgian stopping train service between the border towns of Roosendaal (NL) and Essen (BE) – this connects to a stop train to Antwerp; those travelling Amsterdam-Bruges should change to a Belgian intercity at Antwerp.
BOOKING: Book your Thalys/Intercity Brussels tickets at NS International
Amsterdam-London (via Brussels): Eurostar + Thalys / Intercity Brussels
There is a direct London-Amsterdam Eurostar service which runs daily. This departs from London St Pancras at 1104 and 1716, arriving in Amsterdam at 1611 and 2214 respectively.
The total journey time is 4 hours 7 minutes and the train stops only at Brussels Zuid/Midi and Rotterdam. The Eurostar high speed train service travels up to 300km/h and runs via the channel tunnel which takes about 20 minutes to cross.
A direct Amsterdam-London service has finally been started in late October 2020. The trains depart from Amsterdam at 0747 and 1647, arriving in London at 1057 and 1957, respectively. This gives a journey time of 4 hours 10 minutes.
Passengers departing either Amsterdam and Rotterdam now need to go through a security and immigration check before boarding. Some trains are timetabled to stop in Brussels for around 30 minutes.
There is also still the possibility of travelling betweeen Amsterdam and London via Brussels. You make the trip between Amsterdam and Brussels Zuid/Midi (as described above) followed on by a Eurostar train between Brussels Zuid/Midi and London St Pancras.
There are up to 5-6x daily Eurostar trains running between London and Brussels with a journey time of just over 2 hours.
The total journey time between Amsterdam and London if travelling via Brussels is from 4 hours 40 minutes using the Thalys and 5 to 7 hours if using the Intercity Brussels.
However you should allow plenty of connecting time in Brussels for transferring onto the London-bound Eurostar. We recommend arriving in Brussels at the very least 45-60 minutes before your scheduled Eurostar departure.
At Brussels you will need to check-in through a gate barrier and then queue for a Belgium passport control, a security check and then a UK border control. Boarding starts around 20 minutes before departure.
There are 3 classes of travel on the Eurostar:
Standard – effectively 2nd class with 2-2 configuration seating, food and drink can be bought at the bar coach.
Standard Premier – a 1st class “lite” offering with 2-1 seating, a light meal and drinks served at your seat and magazines available.
Business Premier – a full fare business product with 2-1 seating, lounge access, meal and drinks served plus newspapers and magazines.
For more info see our detailed review of travel on the Eurostar between London and Amsterdam.
Purchasing ex-UK from Eurostar you can buy London-Amsterdam tickets for £35 (Standard) and £79 (Standard Premier). The direct services have the greatest availability of cheap tickets; Eurostar+Thalys fares are more expensive.
From the Netherlands the cheapest Amsterdam-London one-way fares are priced from €40.
The popular through-fares from any Dutch station to London are offered by NS International. 2nd class fares for travel with Intercity Brussels+Eurostar can vary between €59 to €220 one-way.
1st class fares are priced between €99 and €360 each way. Try to book ahead to get the lowest fares. Note that tickets to any station in the Netherlands are not available for purchase from Eurostar’s UK site at the moment.
Amsterdam-London one-way tickets with Thalys+Eurostar are priced from €59 (Comfort 2+Standard) or €109 (Comfort 1+Standard Premier).
BOOKING: Book your Amsterdam-London Eurostar trip at NS International
Of interest to some could be the rail and ferry option which can offer reasonable prices between London and any station in the Netherlands and includes the Stena Line ferry between Harwich and Hoek van Holland.
Amsterdam-Marseille, Amsterdam-Bourg St Maurice: Thalys specials
ZonThalys is a special “Sun” Thalys service aimed at Dutch holidaymakers which runs weekly (on Saturdays) during July and August only. The train operates as a normal Thalys from Amsterdam to Brussels – but then continues on to Valence, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille St Charles.
Note, there was no ZonThalys service in 2020.
Total journey time between Amsterdam and Marseille is just over 7 hours and one-way tickets cost from €61 in Standard class. This is a very popular service and the cheapest tickets sell out fast – so book early. Tickets normally go on sale around the end of February. Book at NS International
Alternatively there are TGV services originating from Brussels running year round which bypass Paris and serve many major destinations in the south of France – including Lyon, Marseilles, Nice and the French Riviera, Montpelier and Perpignan.
The Ski-Thalys runs every Saturday between mid-December and the end of March. It is scheduled to run in the 2020/21 season.
From Amsterdam it makes stops in Rotterdam, Antwerp and Brussels before heading to Chambery, Albertville, Moutiers Salins, Aime La Plagne, Landry and finally Bourg St Maurice. Travel time between Amsterdam and Bourg St Maurice is 9 hours. Bus connections from these stations run to all the main French ski resorts.
One-way prices start from €99 in Standard class. Tickets on sale from October, book at NS International
Which station in Amsterdam? See our Amsterdam Rail Map which shows all Amsterdam train stations.
Amsterdam-Frankfurt via Düsseldorf, Cologne: ICE International
The modern ICE International trains run from Amsterdam Central to Frankfurt (Main) Hbf up to 6x daily.
Jointly operated by DB Bahn (German Railways) and NS (Dutch Railways) the ICE train makes stops at Utrecht, Arnhem, Oberhausen, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Frankfurt airport. One train a day also continues on to Basel in Switzerland.
Journey times from Amsterdam are 2h 11 to Düsseldorf, 2h 38 to Cologne (Keulen / Köln), 3h 42 to Frankfurt airport and 3h 55 to Frankfurt Hbf. There is a high speed track between Cologne and Frankfurt where speeds can approach 300 km/h.
ICE one-way ticket prices between Amsterdam and Düsseldorf or Cologne start from €20 (2nd class) and €40 (1st class). Amsterdam to Frankfurt costs from €38 (2nd class) and €60 (1st class). Book around 6 months in advance to secure the lowest fares.
The Basel bound ICE train departs Amsterdam Central at 0808 – from Frankfurt airport it heads to Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Offenberg and Freiberg before arriving at Basel SBB at 1447. For the return leg, it departs Basel at 1513 arriving back in Amsterdam at 2158. Journey time both ways is around 6h 45.
Standard tickets are priced from around €40 (2nd class) and €80 (1st class) one-way – book 4 months ahead for the lowest fares.
A nice feature of the ICE train is if sitting at the front carriage you can see the driver’s window. The ICE train has a bistro bar carriage in the middle of the train.
DB Bahn (German railways) operates an IC (Intercity) train service 5x daily between Amsterdam Central and Berlin Ostbahnhof. The journey makes a good number of stops: in Netherlands at Hilversum, Amersfoort, Apeldoorn, Deventer, Almelo and Hengelo.
German stopping stations include Bad Bentheim, Rheine, Osnabrück, Hannover, Wolfsburg, Stendal, Berlin Spandau and Berlin Hauptbanhof, the main station of the city.
The journey takes around 6 hours 15 minutes with the lowest one-way prices (Europa Spezial) from €39 (2nd class) and €60 (1st class).
The IC train has an on board bistro bar carriage for drinks and snacks. 1st class passengers can order from their seat.
Amsterdam to other destinations in Germany
Passengers heading to other destinations can use the ICE or IC trains from the Netherlands and then connect onto other German rail services. Connections are normally made at Hannover, Düsseldorf or Frankfurt Main – from here you could travel to the likes of Hamburg, Stuttgart and Munich.
If travelling from the Netherlands to beyond Germany it’s sometimes best to buy 2 separate tickets – ie Netherlands-Germany and Germany-destination, as DB Bahn only offers special fares to/from Germany.
There are no direct services from Amsterdam to Luxembourg. You have the option of various routes via either Belgium or Germany.
The easiest way to travel (just one connection) is to take a train from Amsterdam to Brussels and then take an intercity service from Brussels to Luxembourg. This costs from €40 one-way if taking the Intercity Brussels or from €70 one-way if taking the faster Thalys. Journey times are from 5 hours 35 mins to 6 hours 25 mins.
BOOKING: Book at NS International
Night Train: Amsterdam-Vienna
From 13 December 2020 an Amsterdam-Vienna NightJet service was due to be launched by Austrian ÖBB. However this has been put back to sometime in 2021.
The train will serve Munich, Innsbruck and Vienna and the Amsterdam-Vienna trip is expected to take 14 hours with one-way prices starting at €60.
BOOKING: Book at NS International
Buying International Train Tickets
International train tickets can be easily bought at NS International counters at main stations including Amsterdam Central and Rotterdam Central. However, they will charge you a €7.50 per person service fee (max €22.50 per booking).
You can buy some limited tickets at the NS automatic ticket machines at stations – generally to Belgium, western Germany, Lille and Luxembourg.
To save the desk booking fee, it is best to book online in advance at the NS International site
This article was originally published in 2010 and has continuously been updated. Last update 28 October 2020.