Amsterdam has a number of direct international rail services which can connect you to Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, 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.
|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|
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 Austria, 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 the Eurostar Group.
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 normally runs up to 11x daily.
From Amsterdam the journey times are 1 hour 12 mins to Antwerp, 1 hour 50 mins to Brussels and 3 hours 18 mins 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. Comfort fares can be changed for a €15 fee (plus price difference) and are 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.
In late 2021 Thalys introduce a refurbished trainsets with new interiors, more space for luggage and screens with real-time info. The former ‘Welcome bar’ area has been converted to an unmanned ‘Kiosk’. The refurbished trains are slowly being rolled out into service.
Thalys will be rebranded and merged into the Eurostar brand from late 2023.
BOOKING: Book your Thalys tickets at NS International
Amsterdam-Brussels: Thalys or Intercity Brussels
Amsterdam passengers travelling to Brussels (and Antwerp) 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 11x daily), as described above.
Thalys fares from Amsterdam to Brussels 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 also runs on the high-speed track in the Netherlands although it is not a high speed train.
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 2 hours 48 mins, around 30 minutes quicker than the previous Intercity service which used standard Dutch tracks. The Amsterdam-Brussels travel time on Thalys is around 1 hour 50 mins.
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 service also offers cheaper “early bird” tickets for those booking online in advance.
Amsterdam-Brussels one-way costs €52.90 (2nd class) or €84.40 (1st class) – this is the standard flex rate ‘walk-up’ fare.
Early bird one-way fares start at €25 (2nd class) and €38 (1st class) for travel Mon-Thu; and €36.50 (2nd class) and €50.50 (1st class) each way for travel 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.
Also of note to travellers: there is an hourly Belgian stopping train service between the border town of Roosendaal (NL) and Antwerp; those travelling Amsterdam-Bruges should travel to Antwerp and then change to a Belgian intercity. For Amsterdam-Antwerp info see here
BOOKING: Book your Thalys or Intercity Brussels tickets at NS International
There is a direct Eurostar service between Amsterdam and London which runs up to 4x daily.
The journey time is just over 4 hours 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.
This is the Eurostar timetable for direct trains between London and Amsterdam:
|London St Pancras – Amsterdam Centraal||Departs||Arrives||Journey time|
|0616||1114||3 hours 58 mins|
|0816||1314||3 hours 58 mins|
|1104||1612||4 hours 8 mins|
|1804||2314||4 hours 10 mins|
|Amsterdam Centraal – London St Pancras||Departs||Arrives||Journey time|
|1747||1100||4 hours 13 mins|
|1347||1701||4 hours 14 mins|
|1647||1957||4 hours 10 mins|
|1847||2157||4 hours 10 mins|
[Note: Amsterdam is 1 hour ahead of London time]
Passengers departing either Amsterdam and Rotterdam have to go through a security and immigration check before boarding. The Eurostar facility is upstairs on platform 15b at Amsterdam Central station.
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, 3 course meal and drinks (including champagne) served plus newspapers and magazines.
Eurostar uses its newer E320 trains for the London-Amsterdam route which are made up of 16 coaches. Business Premier and Standard Premier are normally located in coaches 1-3 and 14-16. There is a Café Métropole bar facility in coaches 8 and 9.
For more info see our detailed review (Standard Premier class) of travel on the Eurostar between London and Amsterdam.
London-Amsterdam each way fares cost from £39 (Standard), £89 (Standard Premier) and £260 (Business Premier). The cheapest fares tend to be the direct train service booked as a return trip; the Eurostar+Thalys through-fares (with a change in Brussels) are normally more expensive.
Booking from the Netherlands, the cheapest Amsterdam-London one-way Standard fares are available from €91 return (€45.50 each way) or from €55 as a one-way. Standard Premier starts at €191 return (€95.50 each way). Business Premier is priced from €299 each way.
Note, because of border control processing limitations there are some capacity constraints on Eurostar train services – meaning not all seats can be sold. This has kept prices firmer, so you should try to book well in advance to secure the lowest available fares.
BOOKING: Book your Eurostar tickets at NS International
Of interest to some could be the rail and ferry option which includes the Stena Line ferry between Harwich and Hoek van Holland. Both ferry ports are accessible by rail.
Amsterdam-Frankfurt, Basel via Düsseldorf, Cologne: ICE International
The modern ICE International trains (ICE3 variants) 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 2 hours 11 mins to Düsseldorf, 2 hours 38 mins to Cologne (Keulen / Köln), 3 hours 42 mins to Frankfurt airport and 3 hours 55 mins 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 €30 (1st class).
Amsterdam to Frankfurt costs from €38 (2nd class) and €58 (1st class). Book in advance to secure the lowest fares.
The Basel bound ICE train departs Amsterdam Central at 0746 – 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 2159. Journey time both ways is around 6 hours 45 mins.
Standard Amsterdam-Basel tickets are priced from around €38 (2nd class) and €60 (1st class) one-way.
A nice feature of the ICE3 train is if sitting at the front carriage you can see through to the driver’s window. The ICE train has a bistro bar carriage in the middle of the train.
BOOKING: Book your ICE trip at NS International
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 20 mins with the lowest one-way prices from €38 (2nd class) and €58 (1st class).
The IC train has an on board bistro bar carriage for drinks and snacks. 1st class passengers can order from their seat.
BOOKING: Book your IC Berlin trip at NS International
Amsterdam to other destinations in Germany and beyond
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 Hanover, 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.
BOOKING: Book your trip to Germany at NS International
Amsterdam-Vienna/Munich, Amsterdam-Zurich: NightJet
Austrian Railways ÖBB operates a couple of ‘NightJet’ night train services to/from Amsterdam.
There is an Amsterdam-Vienna service which departs nightly from Amsterdam at 1930 and arrives in Vienna at 0919 the next morning – giving a journey time of just under 14 hours.
The train runs via Utrecht, Arnhem, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Frankfurt. It continues to Nuremberg where the train splits into a Munich bound section (via Augsburg) and a Vienna-bound section via Linz.
The arrival time in Munich is 0711 meaning a journey time of just under 12 hours.
From Vienna and Munich the NightJet trains depart at 2013 and 2250, respectively. They arrive together the following morning at Amsterdam Central at 0959.
NightJet operates a second night train service from Amsterdam to Zurich via Utrecht, Arnhem, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Mannheim and Basel.
The train departs Amsterdam at 2030, arriving in Zurich at 0805. From Zurich the train leaves at 2159, arriving in Amsterdam at 0905. The journey time is just under the 12 hour mark.
One-way tickets prices for NightJet range as follows: €30-€109 for a 2nd class seat; €60-€139 for a couchette bunk (4-6 people); €90-€169 for a sleeper cabin for 1, 2 or 3 people.
BOOKING: Book your NightJet tickets at NS International
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.
Total journey time between Amsterdam and Marseille is just over 7 hours and one-way tickets cost from €69 in Standard class and from €119 in Premium. 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. Prices from Amsterdam via Brussels start at €84 one-way.
The Ski-Thalys runs every Saturday between mid-December and the end of March.
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 around 9 hours. Bus connections from these stations run to all the main French ski resorts.
BOOKING: One-way prices start from €99 in Standard class. Tickets on sale from October, book at NS International
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 €32 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.
2nd class rail travel in Luxembourg is free.
BOOKING: Book Amsterdam-Luxembourg trips 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
Related articles: How to Buy a Dutch Train ticket and International Rail Borders in Netherlands
This article was originally published in 2010 and has continuously been updated. Last update 7 February 2023.
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