A number of stores in the Netherlands including chemist Kruidvat have occasionally offered deals on unlimited day tickets or day return tickets for travel on the Dutch rail network. The NS itself also offers various options on specially discounted day tickets.
Note, due to the ongoing lockdown measures, these tickets have generally not been available for sale from Dutch stores.
Holland Travel Ticket
The NS sells the Holland Travel Ticket which is always available. It is valid for 1 day on all public transport in the country including trains (2nd class), buses, trams and metro. It comes as a disposable OV-chip card which means you must always check-in and check-out at the card readers for every segment of your trip.
The standard card costs €63 and can be used anytime during the day. The off-peak version costs €43 and is not valid for check-in during the morning peak 0630-0900 rush hour. You can check-in before 0630 and travel during the peak period.
It can be bought at the desk or ticket machines at stations. It is also possible to purchase the standard card online for a slight premium here
NS off-peak day returns
NS has various off-peak day return trip offers on its NS Spoordeelwinkel web store. It also has the occassional day return offer directly on its ns.nl site. During the lockdowns, NS pulled these tickets off the market.
In summer 2021, NS was offering an off-peak day return within Netherlands for €17.50 in 2nd class or €23.50 in 1st class. This was available for sale until 31 Aug 2021 to be used by 30 Sep 2021.
NS Spoordeelwinkel has a number of ongoing off-peak day return offers, generally priced from €23 in 2nd class and €30 in 1st class. It normally includes a voucher for either a sandwich and drink at a specified cafe or entry into an attraction.
Kruidvat (chemist) train tickets
Kruidvat used to offer Dutch rail day tickets (OV-chip cards) for unlimited travel a few times per year. Over recent times these became off-peak day return e-tickets. The last offer available went on sale at the end of February 2020 – the cost was €17 per ticket (or €16 each for 2 tickets, €15 each for 3 tickets).
Since then however it has not been able to sell these tickets due to the various lockdown and travel restrictions in place.
Other stores which have also offered NS day (return) tickets in the past are Etos (chemist), Albert Heijn (supermarket), Blokker (houseware) and HEMA (general store).
Should any tickets go back on the market in the future we will publish details here.
How to use the NS day tickets
NS day tickets are valid for travel on the entire Dutch rail network including NS and other operators: Arriva, Blauwnet, Breng, Connexxion (Valleilijn), Keolis and R-net.
Domestic rail travel is also valid on Intercity Direct (Schiphol-Rotterdam) and ICE International trains (Amsterdam-Utrecht-Arnhem) as long as you purchase the appropriate supplements. No travel is permitted on the Thalys or Eurostar trains.
The NS day tickets are generally in e-ticket format, although the Holland Travel Ticket comes as an OV-chip card.
For off-peak travel you are not allowed to travel during the Monday-Friday rush hours of 0630-0900 and 1600-1830. At weekends travel is allowed at any time.
E-tickets are personal and have your name on them. You can then either print out the ticket, download it onto a mobile or use the NS app. You must bring accompanying ID with you when you travel.
With e-tickets you do not check-in or out but you can use the special barcode to open gates if required. An increasing number of Dutch stations are using closed barriers.
For OV-chip card tickets, you must always check-in and check-out at the station card readers for every segment of your trip. The card is simply activated on the day you travel by checking-in for the first time. Once in use, the ticket will automatically expire at 0400 the following day. You cannot reuse it again.
NS day tickets glossary
kaartje – ticket
dagkaartje – day ticket
dal – off-peak
daluren – off-peak hours
dagretour daluren – off-peak day return
retour – return
Interesting itineraries for Dutch rail day tickets
The best use of these tickets is to take long trips and/or make multiple stopovers during your travel day. An obvious use is to head out to some outlying Dutch cities such as Maastricht, Middelburg or Groningen.
If you have an unlimited day ticket some example trips could be:
Amsterdam-Maastricht-Valkenburg, with possible stopovers in Utrecht, Den Bosch, Eindhoven or Roermond.
Amsterdam-Groningen-Leeuwarden and on to the Friesland coastal villages of Hindeloopen and Stavoren.
Amsterdam-Middelberg/Vlissingen with stops in Breda, Dordrecht, Rotterdam etc.
Or to plan your own route check out the NS (Dutch Railways) site
If you have a child aged 4-11 travelling with you they can purchase a standard Rail Runner ticket at the station for €2.50 which is also valid the whole day. Children aged 0-3 travel free.
Do beware that rail maintenance is often planned over weekends so check your route at the NS site before travel.
If you are not able to buy these special day tickets but want more info on rail travel tickets in the Netherlands then see our Dutch train tickets guide
This article was originally published in 2013 and has continuously been updated. Last update 16 November 2021.