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NS Group Ticket (Off-Peak) – Cheapest Dutch Train Offer

The NS Off-Peak Group Ticket (NS Groepsticket Daluren) is a special e-ticket from NS Dutch Railways which allows 2-7 people to travel together by train to the same destination station anywhere in the Netherlands.

The NS Group Ticket is only available online and costs €32 to €44 depending on the group size. You cannot buy the group ticket at the station.

The ticket is valid for 2nd class travel during off-peak periods. This means you cannot travel on weekdays between 0630-0900 (morning rush-hour) and 1600-1830 (evening rush-hour). You can travel all day at weekends. The ticket is also not valid on 27 April (King’s Day).

There is a designated main ticket holder and co-passengers on the group ticket must travel with that person the whole way. It is possible for a co-passenger to get on at a later station (en-route only) to meet up with the main ticket holder and travelling group.

The NS Group Ticket is a one-way (single) ticket and is priced as follows:

  • 2 passengers €32 (€16 per person)
  • 3 passengers €32 (€10.67 per person)
  • 4 passengers €35 (€8.75 per person)
  • 5 passengers €38 (€7.60 per person)
  • 6 passengers €41 (€6.83 per person)
  • 7 passengers €44 (€6.29 per person)

For a group this is the very cheapest way to travel long-distance on the Dutch Rail network! If you have kids remember that children 0-3 travel free and those aged 4-11 can buy a RailRunner ticket (valid all day) for €2.50. Go here for everything about Dutch rail tickets.

The lead passenger should make the booking and needs to specify the name of all accompanying passengers. Once payment is made (debit/credit card or iDeal) the tickets can either be downloaded onto a mobile, printed out or loaded onto the NS app.

The Group ticket can be purchased here.

E-tickets from NS are personalised with the name of the traveller. You need to have some form of ID with you when you travel.

With an e-ticket you don’t need to check-in or check-out as you have to do with the OV-chip card. A growing number of stations in the Netherlands have gate barriers. Find one with the “scan ticket” symbol and hold the square barcode on the e-ticket in order to get through.

Need to make a return journey? Then just buy a second Group ticket – the return option will be available during the booking process.

ns dutch railways train and passengers
NS train at Rotterdam Central

Consider a standard full-fare return ticket between say Amsterdam and Maastricht costs about €55 per person. The total for 7 passengers would be around €385.

The same return trip with 7 passengers could be made with 2 group tickets costing €88. This would be a saving nearly €300, which is certainly a significant sum.

Even with 2 people (standard return fare €110, 2 group tickets €64) you are saving €45.

A party larger than 7 people could simply buy multiple group tickets as needed.

The NS off-peak single ticket was originally introduced in 2018 for 4-7 passengers. In late 2021 the ticket was changed to include 2-7 passengers with a slight price increase.

The single group ticket replaced a 4-10 person group return ticket which ran from 2013 to 2018. NS had to pull the that ticket off the market due to its more lenient rules and the perceived fraudulent use. People were forming groups on social media and were using “hidden city” techniques to travel short of the final destination.

For any visitors making long domestic journeys on Dutch trains, the NS off-peak Single Group Ticket can certainly save a significant sum.

Last update 08 November 2021. This article was originally published in 2013 and has continuously been updated.

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