The OV Chipkaart

In the Netherlands, we use the OV (Openbaar Vervoer (Public Transport)) chipkaart to access all forms of public transport. There are two types of OV chipkaarts: 

  1. Anonymous: This card does not include one’s name or photo. Thus can be used by multiple people. This card can be purchased both on and offline. Possibilities include:
    • Service desks on train stations 
    • Service desk for other public transport 
    • Certain supermarkets such as Albert Heijn 
    • Certain newsagents such as Primera 
    • Certain stationary stores such as Bruna 
    • The OV Shop 
    • Use the Service Points Finder to locate a location near you. 
    • For more information about the anonymous OV chipkaart visit the following link
  2. Personal: This card is intended for more personalised use, it will include a photo, your name and date of birth. It should be noted that personal travel products such as particular passes for commuting or abonnements (subscriptions) can only be loaded onto the personal card. Also travel discounts for certain ages is only possible on the personal card.
    • This card can be ordered online. 
    • Alternatively, you can fill in a form at a service desk in the station, please note that this could entail additional costs.
    • For more information regarding the personal OV chipkaart, visit the following link.  \

Please note the Netherlands is in the process of phasing out cash payments in many modes of transport thus having an OV chipkaart, debit card or credit card is essential. If you have cash, please contact a service desk nearby. All major stations will have an OV service.

Checking in and Out

When you check in, you will hear one beep, when you reach your destination you have to check out, if you hear two beeps you have checked out. Moreover, remember to check out of one mode of transport before checking into another mode of transport. 

There are different rules for checking in and out depending on which mode of transport you are using.

Checking in and out on the station Checking in and out inside the mode of transport
Train Metro
Bus Tram
Topping up your OV Chipkaart

If you have an anonymous OV card, you can use one of the OV machines to top up your card. These can be found at various locations such as stations, certain supermarkets and other stores. Use the service point finder to locate a machine in your area.

If you have a personal OV card, you can also link it to your bank account. This way it will directly deduct money from your account ensuring that you have enough money on your card to travel. Certain modes of transportation demand that you have a minimum amount to check in, such as the NS train. 

Losing your OV CHIPKAART

If your personal OV card is lost or stolen, you should report it through My OV . This will block your card within 24 hours, so that it cannot be misused. If you do not have an OV account, you can call the OV customer service at 0900-0980. When calling have your bank details ready to receive a refund of the money on the card as well as pay for a refund card. If your previous card had a subscription, the subscription will be transferred to your new card. 

Anonymous OV cards, are not protected against misuse. Therefore, they cannot be blocked or replaced. You must purchase a new card.  

Types of Transport

There are various ways to commute in the Netherlands depending where you are. The most popular way to plan your trip is using 9292. The service combines all modes of transport available and offers the travel advice, including disruptions and alternative routes. You can use the website or download the app. Alternatively, there are some modes of transport such as the NS where you can also plan your trip using the website or the app. However, these are limited to the service they are offering.  

Train

The Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways (NS)), runs trains all over the country. You can use your OV card to check in and out at the stations. Furthermore, there are subscriptions and discounts that the NS offers, you can check their website for further information. 

Whether you have checked is regularly controlled by the train conductors. You will be obliged to some them some form of checking in. 

There are two types of trains the NS has, Sprinters that stop at every stop and InterCitys that stop at major cities. 

There are also some regional train services such as Arriva, please note that you must check out of one mode of transport before you check into another mode of transport. 

Bus

Almost all regions of the Netherlands, have a bus service. Most bus services are in the process of phasing out cash payments. Use your OV card to check in and out or buy a single ticket by the driver using debit/credit card. 

Tram/Metro

Some of the bigger cities also have tram and metro services. You can check in and out inside the tram whereas for the metro checking in and out can be done at the station 

Arriving at Schiphol

Many universities have a pick-up service for international students, you can check with your university if they have such facilities. If not, in the main hall there are service desks providing information regarding public transport services. Direct trains are available to many of the university cities.

Alternatively, there are also taxi services available at the airport. You can book directly at the airport or call at +31 20 601 3400. Unlike some other countries, the Netherlands does not have a strong taxi culture, most of the time they must be pre-booked. 

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