Brussels is the capital of Belgium and a principal European political centre – located around 200km from Amsterdam.
Travel between Amsterdam and Brussels is possible by high speed and standard rail, airline flights and coaches. Note that there have been some significant changes to service frequencies due to the ‘coronavirus’ measures.
1. Amsterdam-Brussels by Train
Travelling by train between Amsterdam and Brussels is certainly the best option in terms of time and convenience and gets you into the heart of both city centres. It can be easily booked using via the NS International site with prices starting at €25 one-way.
There are currently 2 options available:
(1) The high speed Thalys service which runs from Amsterdam Central station to Paris Gare du Nord via Brussels Zuid/Midi station. The Thalys also stops at Amsterdam Schiphol airport, Rotterdam Central and Antwerp.
Thalys normally runs 7-9x daily (weekdays), 4x daily (Saturdays) and 5-6x daily (Sundays) and the Amsterdam-Brussels journey takes just 1 hour 50 minutes. Note, Thalys is running a greatly reduced service at the moment.
There are also London-Amsterdam Eurostar trains (1-2x daily) which serve the Amsterdam-Brussels route both ways.
(2) The Intercity Brussels normally runs hourly (13x daily) between Amsterdam Central and Brussels Zuid/Midi. The train makes stops at Schiphol, Rotterdam, Breda, Noorderkempen (Belgium), Antwerp Central, Antwerp Berchem, Mechelen, Brussels Airport, Brussels North and Brussels Central. The Amsterdam-Brussels journey takes around 2 hours 50 minutes.
Note: Some Intercity Brussels services (up to 4x daily) operate between Den Haag HS and Brussels. If travelling from Brussels to Amsterdam on a Den Haag bound train, then change at Rotterdam for Amsterdam.
Thalys: Classes of travel on Thalys are Standard, Comfort and Premium with all seats having individual electric power outlets.
Standard has 2nd class seating, free WiFi and food/drink can be purchased at the bar. Standard tickets can normally 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. Comfort tickets are either cheaper non-flexible fares or changeable ones – which can be changed for a €15 fee (plus price difference) and are 50% refundable. Access is granted to the NS International lounges at Amsterdam, Schiphol airport or Rotterdam.
Premium is a proper 1st class ticket with 1st class seating, free WiFi (with more data), food/drink served at your seat and and free access to an international press app. Premium ticket holders can access the Thalys lounges in Brussels as well as the NS International lounges. Tickets are freely changeable and 100% refundable.
Thalys tickets are bookable up to 4 months out. The cheapest Standard Mini fares for Amsterdam-Brussels will cost €29-€35, though you should book as early as possible. Standard fares cost €44-€82, Comfort fares cost €45-€95 and Premium fares range cost €97-€117.
Travel on the less frequent Eurostar starts from €27 (Standard) or €32 (Standard Premier) each way.
Intercity Brussels: Standard prices (2021) are in effect for travel using intercity trains although cheaper “early bird” fares (book online in advance) are also available. Amsterdam-Brussels one-way costs €49 (2nd class) or €77.80 (1st class).
Early bird one-way fares start at €25 (2nd class) and €35 (1st class) Mon-Thu and €33 (2nd class) and €47 (1st class) each way Fri-Sun. Early bird fares are valid on any service on the ticket day.
Holders of Dutch Railways NS discount cards receive a slight fare reduction off the standard fare for the Netherlands segment of travel.
As Belgium and the Netherlands are members of the Schengen Zone agreement you do not need to go through a passport control check when travelling between Amsterdam and Brussels.
How to book train tickets online: Amsterdam-Brussels rail tickets can be easily booked at the NS International site which covers Thalys and Intercity Brussels.
For more info see our International trains to/from Amsterdam page.
2. Flights Amsterdam-Brussels
It is possible to fly between Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) and Brussels Zaventem (BRU) airport. The scheduled flight time is around 45 minutes – although by the time you take into account travel to/from the airport and waiting for your flight – you are much better off taking the train.
Dutch airline KLM (Skyteam) currently has 2-3x daily flights from Schiphol to Brussels – the “Cityhopper” service uses small Embraer 190 jets. Return airfares start at around €110 – note KLM charges for checked luggage but you do get a complimentary drink and snack onboard.
The reality is this flight route is mainly aimed at transfer passengers on longer-haul routes.
There are train stations at Schiphol and Brussels airports which can get you to the centre of town in 15-20 minutes. The Brussels airport train to central Brussels runs up to 4x hourly.
3. Amsterdam-Brussels by Coach
The coach is the cheapest travel option between Amsterdam and Brussels with a journey time of around 3 hours
Flixbus is a German coach company that offers services between Amsterdam Sloterdijk and Brussels Noord. It currently operates a 1x daily service with fares starting at €17 one-way. Book your Flixbus ticket here
Blablabus (formerly Ouibus) normally has a daily Amsterdam-Brussels premium coach service although these have been temporarily suspended. Fares start at €17 one-way. Coach stops are at Amsterdam Sloterdijk station and Brussels Zuid/Midi station.
This article was originally published in 2010 and has continuously been updated. Last update 6 April 2021.