Rail Travel

Rail Passes for the Netherlands – InterRail, Eurail and Domestic

A rail pass is a special ticket which allows unlimited train travel for a certain period in a specific region. There are a number of different rail passes available which cover travel to/from Amsterdam and around the Netherlands.

This article highlights the use of InterRail and Eurail passes in the Netherlands as well as some tips for other Holland rail passes. Obviously, rail travel has been impacted by the ongoing ‘coronavirus’ measures.

InterRail Pass

This pass is only available for European citizens and residents including Turkey.

The InterRail Global Pass is a rail pass valid for travel in 33 countries around Europe:

Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

You have the choice of buying continuous passes of either 15 days, 22 days, 1 month, 2 months or 3 months giving unlimited travel during the duration of the pass; or flexi-passes which offers 3,5, 7, 10 travel days during a 1 month period or 15 days within a 2 month period.

Current adult prices (2020) for a 1 month Global Pass are €670 (2nd class) and €893 (1st class).

Youths aged 12-27 pay €503 (2nd class) and €670 (1st class) whilst seniors over 60 pay €603 (2nd class) or €804 (1st class).

A child pass is available for children 4-11 – up to 2 child passes are allowed for free per accompanying adult pass holder. Children 0-3 travel free without a ticket.

The InterRail pass allows free travel on most regional and local trains that do not require reservations.

Note, in the pass holder’s country of residence it is only valid for travel on the first and last day.

An InterRail ticket comes in one of 2 formats – a standard paper ticket where you fill out each journey by hand; or a digital Mobile Pass on a smartphone – this requires an internet connection at least once every 3 days for verification.

InterRail Pass use in the Netherlands

The InterRail pass is valid for all standard NS train services in the Netherlands including Intercity and sprinter trains – see Dutch Train Types for more info. It is also valid for travel on other Dutch train providers including Arriva, Blauwnet, Breng, Connexxion (Valleilijn), Keolis and R-net.

dutch train seats
2nd class seats on NS (Dutch Railways) train

InterRail pass holders also get access to the NS International lounges at Amsterdam Central, Breda, Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport.

Interrail ticket holders do not need to pay a supplement for travel on the the domestic Intercity Direct trains running Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport-Rotterdam-Breda.

It is also possible to travel freely on the Amsterdam-Berlin Intercity and ICE international trains (Amsterdam-Dusseldorf-Cologne-Frankfurt), although you can pay an optional €6 to reserve a seat on the ICE.

Note that there are compulsory reservation fees for the high-speed Thalys train (Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris). Amsterdam-Brussels costs €15 (2nd class) and €20 (1st class). Amsterdam-Paris costs €25 (2nd class) and €30 (1st class).

To travel Amsterdam-Paris without the Thalys take a standard Intercity train from Amsterdam to Antwerp, then take a Belgian Intercity to Lille Flandres. From Lille Flandres take a Regional TER to Amiens and then finally take an InterCités (€10 reservation) to Paris Nord. This trip takes around 7 hours 40 minutes compared to the 3 hour 20 minute Thalys.

If you want to cross the Dutch border to Belgium or Germany by standard regional trains then see our article International rail borders in the Netherlands

Travel on the Eurostar (London-Amsterdam) is now included with an InterRail pass. There is a compulsory reservation fee of €35 (Standard) or €43 (Standard Premier).

Interrail passholders get 30% off the Stena Line ferry between Harwich and Hoek van Holland – both ports are accessible by rail/metro.

InterRail Benelux Pass

Another option is the Benelux Pass for unlimited travel on NMBS/SNCB in Belgium, NS and other Dutch domestic trains plus trains in Luxembourg. The passes are valid 1 month and allow travel for 3, 4, 5, 6 or 8 days.

Prices for adults (aged 28-59) start at €121 (2nd class) or €161 (1st class) for a 3 day pass to €190 (2nd class) or €253 (1st class) for a 6 day pass.

Obviously you should work out beforehand exactly where you plan to travel and whether normal point-to-point tickets would work out cheaper.

For more info see International Train Services to/from Amsterdam

Eurail Pass

This European rail pass is available for non-European residents and popular with North Americans, Australians etc.

Like the Interrail pass, the Eurail Global Pass is valid in the following 33 countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

Eurail Global passes come as flexi passes: 5 or 7 travel days within 1 month; 10 or 15 travel days in a 2 month period; or continuous passes of 15 days, 22 days, 1,2 or 3 months.

Current adult prices (2020) for a 1 month Global Pass are USD $757 (2nd class) and USD $1,009 (1st class).

Youths aged 12-27 pay $568 (2nd class) and $757 (1st class) whilst seniors over 60 pay $681 (2nd class) or $909 (1st class).

Eurail also has One Country Passes – the Netherlands comes under “Benelux” which includes Belgium and Luxembourg. It’s also possible to combine the Benelux pass with a Scandinavia, Germany or France pass.

Similar to the InterRail ticket, supplements are required on premium rail services such as the Thalys and night-time trains.

Continuous InterRail and Eurail passes are a great way to get a flavour of many European cities. The trick is to compromise between travel and stopping over. Travel during night-time can save on accommodation costs but can be tiring and you won’t see much scenery at night.

Remember that southern countries have relatively cheap rail tickets so to get better value from the pass you should also tackle some of the more expensive rail nations in the north of Europe.

ns train amsterdam central
NS (Dutch Railways) double-decker Intercity train at Amsterdam Central

Domestic Rail Passes in the Netherlands

NS Day Travel Card (NS Dagkaart) – This allows 1 day’s unlimited travel on any NS train in the Netherlands. It must be bought on the day of travel only by anyone with a personal or anonymous OV-chip card. It costs €54 (2nd class) or €88.02 (1st class) in 2020.

This ticket is only good value if you really have to do a significant amount of rail travel requiring multiple stops in a single day.

Holland Travel Ticket – This is a 1 day ticket (disposable OV-chip card) which gives unlimited public transport in the Netherlands. It costs €62 for the standard ticket or €42 for the off-peak version (peak hours are 0630-0900).

Rail Runner – Children 4-11 accompanied by an adult with any NS ticket pay €2.50 for a “Rail Runner” ticket which is valid all day. Children under 4 travel free.

Dutch Rail Day Ticket offers – A few times a year various Dutch shops such as chemist Kruidvat offers unlimited travel day cards on the Dutch rail network. These are valid for a specific date range and cost around €16.

These discount rail passes are targeted at locals rather than visitors and can be exceptionally good value. for more, see Cheap NS Train Day Tickets

How To Book International Tickets

You can check timetables, prices and make bookings for all international train services including Eurostar, Thalys, TGV, ICE at the NS International site

This article was originally published in 2011 and has continuously been updated. Last update 23 October 2020.

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