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Friesland: Taking the train in The Netherlands

Issue #04

Making (more) use of public transport is a great way to start with a sustainable lifestyle. Getting a train or bus instead of the car is better for the environment when comparing the carbon emissions of a car and public transport. The best way is, of course, to take the bike or go walking but when you want to travel long distances, public transport is the way to go. 🚊  

Dutch students can get a week or weekend subscription for public transport so they can travel for free during their studies. But how about the international students living in the Netherlands?  

The Dutch public transport card  

Unfortunately, international students living in The Netherlands can’t travel for free with public transport like Dutch students can. But with a Dutch public transport card, called OV-chipkaart, you can have some discounts on your travels. There are two cards that you can use which are the personal card and the anonymous one. You can buy the anonymous one at a NS card machine that you can find at train stations. You can order the personal card on this site:  

However, you can only buy a personal card when you have a Dutch bank account so you can pay via Ideal. People with an address in Belgium, Germany or Luxembourg can pay via PayPal as well. After you receive your public transport card (anonymous or personal), you can put money on it at the OV-machines at stations or sometimes in supermarkets. To see how much your trip will cost or if you want to plan your trip, you can go to  

Travelling with discounts  💵

If you have a day or weekend off from your studies and you want to visit another Dutch place with a discount, you can do this with your personal card. There are several discounts that you can get a subscription for when you have a personal public transport card. The money that you pay for this subscription will be collected from your bank account automatically.  

Photo taken by Martin at the train station in Leeuwarden 🚊

Here are a couple of the nicest and cheapest discount subscriptions:  

Dal Voordeel (€5 per month) 

This subscription gives you a 40% discount on weekends and outside of peak hours. The hours outside of peak hours are on workdays from 0:00 till 6:30, from 9:00 till 16:00 and from 18:30 till 24:00. During weekends and holidays there aren’t peak hours, so you’ll travel with a discount during the whole day.  

Weekend Voordeel (€2 per month)  

This gives you a 40% discount on the weekend.  

Altijd Voordeel (€23 per month)  

A subscription that gives you a 40% discount on the weekend and outside peak hours and a 20% discount inside peak hours.  

NS Flex (€0 per month)  

With the NS Flex subscription, you can choose for each month what subscription you want to have. So, for instance if you want to travel a lot during January on weekends you can go for the Weekend Voordeel subscription during this month. If you’re not travelling at all, you can choose for ‘no discount’ and you don’t pay anything that month.   

Subscriptions under €5 costs €10 in administrations.  

For all discounts you can check out this link:

If you don’t want a Dutch public transport card you can also check out the Spoordeelwinkel ( where they combine return train tickets with trips to for instance a hotel or museum for a discounted price.  

All in all, enough options to choose from when it comes to travelling with a discount in The Netherlands. I hope this helps and encourages you take the train or bus during your studies in The Netherlands and do you part in making the world a bit greener! 

#StayGreen! 🌎🌿

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