A number of Dutch stores including chemist Kruidvat occasionally offer deals on day tickets for unlimited travel on NS trains. In this article we will keep up-to-date on the latest rail offers available over-the-counter from various Dutch stores.
Here is a summary of the NS train day tickets (NS dagkaartjes) regularly on offer. Bear in mind that sales periods are short and the tickets are often unavailable. You will note that each store has slightly different travel validity restrictions for its tickets.
Note, due to the ongoing ‘coronavirus’ measures which includes limits on non-essential travel, these tickets have not been available for sale.
How To Use the NS Day Tickets
All the NS day tickets are valid for 2nd class 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 either in an OV-chip card ticket format or as a voucher for an e-ticket. As of late e-tickets are being sold more frequently, probably as the costs are less.
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.
E-tickets are personal and have your name on them. Your voucher receipt will state a special NS webpage to visit where you can enter your details and claim the ticket. You may also be prompted whether you want to upgrade the ticket to 1st class for a small fee.
You can then either print out the ticket or download it onto a mobile using 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.
Generally, the NS day tickets are valid during the week Monday to Friday for use outside of the peak hours and anytime during Saturday and Sunday.
On weekdays you can check-in with an OV-chip card ticket for a train trip before 0630, 0900-1600 and after 1830. You can actually travel during the rush hour periods (0630-0900, 1600-1830) as long as you have checked in during the off-peak times. You must however travel on a service within 30 minutes of check-in.
On the other hand, with e-tickets you are not allowed to travel during the peak hours.
Note, the standard off-peak Holland Travel Ticket is a day ticket which can be bought at the station at any time. It is valid all day and costs €42. You cannot check-in between 0630 and 0900; however there are no evening restrictions. It is valid on all forms of public transport in the Netherlands.
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.
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
Kruidvat offered an off-peak day return e-ticket for sale between 17 Feb and 1 Mar 2020. The cost was €17 per ticket (or €16 each for 2 tickets, €15 each for 3 tickets).
It was valid for travel off-peak on weekdays and anytime at the weekend until 13 Apr 2020. However, because the Netherlands entered a limited ‘lockdown’ during that time, the card validity was extended for the full 2020 calendar year.
Tickets were available at any Kruidvat store or online at kruidvat.nl. For online purchases there is usually a maximum of 15 tickets per client with payment possible by iDeal (Dutch bank transfer), Visa and Mastercard.
A voucher is sent to your email address (or purchased in store) and you can claim the ticket at the NS site using the voucher code.
Kruidvat Stores in Amsterdam
Kruidvat is a chemist chain with stores in most towns and cities of the Netherlands. There are 29 Kruidvat stores in the Amsterdam area including the following around the centre and beyond:
Nieuwendijk 160 (near Dam Square)
Kalverstraat 226 (near Muntplein)
Regulierbreestraat 22 (near Muntplein/Rembrandtplein)
Jodenbreestraat 96B (near Waterlooplein)
Bilderdijkstraat 73-87 (west Amsterdam)
Kinkerstraat 244 (west Amsterdam)
Van Limburg-Stirumstraat 58 (Westerpark area)
Jan Van Galenstraat 114h (west Amsterdam)
Ferdinand Bolstraat 33-39 (de Pijp)
Ferdinand Bolstraat 125-127 (de Pijp)
van Woustraat 98-102 (de Pijp)
Dapperplein 62 (east Amsterdam)
Rijnstraat 53-55-57 (Rivierenbuurt)
Maasstraat 46-48 (Rivierenbuurt)
Oostelijke Handelskade 1033 (KNSM island)
NS Day Return (NS Trein Dagretour Voordeeluren) valid after 0900 weekdays (no evening restriction), anytime at weekends. Price €19 for an e-ticket voucher. Last sale period: 3-16 Dec 2018. Last travel validity: 3 Dec 2018 – 27 Jan 2019. Also included a voucher for 1 bottle of water and muffin at AH To Go stores.
Albert Heijn (supermarket)
NS Day Ticket (Dagkaart – Dag Dal Vrij) valid off-peak on weekdays, anytime at weekends, e-ticket. Price €16.50 (or €14.50 for 3 or more). Last sale period: 8-22 Apr 2019. Last travel validity: 8 Apr – 10 Jun 2019.
NS Off-Peak Day Return (Dagretour Daluren) valid off-peak on weekdays, anytime at weekends, e-ticket. Price €16.50 for 1, €15.50 for 2, €14.50 for 3 or more. Last sale period: 4-17 Nov 2019. Last travel validity: 4 Nov – 29 Dec 2019.
Other stores which occasionally offer NS day tickets: general store HEMA and houseware retailer Blokker.
This article was originally published in 2013 and has continuously been updated. Last update 26 October 2020.