You don’t have to be in the Netherlands a long time to realise that one of the first things you need is a bicycle. But even in our small country some distances are too large to bridge on our trusted rusty bike. However, not everyone has access to a car and to be honest, parking isn’t always the easiest.
But the Dutch wouldn’t be the Dutch if they didn’t have a very practical solution for this issue: Public Transport (OV). These days it is possible to travel through the entire country using different types of public transport: train, bus, tram, you name it.
Not only the 6830 km of rails in our country has a high density, all the terms related to travelling can be difficult to manage too. To help you out, we’ve put together a short list of words that you need to know that will make travelling a lot easier:
OV Chip Kaart
You can’t really go anywhere anymore without an OV Chip Card. This card resembles your bank card in that it is an electronic payment method. You put money on the card at the charging points at the train and metro stations or in some of the stores. Now you are able to use it to pay for your travels.
You check in using your OV Chip Card every time you enter public transport. There’s usually a little machine at the entrance of the bus or tram. For the train you check in at the portals at the entrance of the stations. Even more important is checking out when you reach your destination. You do this using the same portals as you use for checking in. That’s how they right amount of money is taken out of your account. So: “Vergeet niet uit te checken!”.
You’ll find the conductor in every type of public transport. He or she will check if you checked in correctly.
'NS’ stand for Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways). It’s the organisation responsible for all the train traffic in the country. You recognise them by their colours, which are blue and yellow.
Overstappen means transferring from one vehicle to another. This could be from train to train, from train to bus, bus to tram, or any other combination. Don’t forget your personal belongings and above all don’t forget to check out and back in when you change transport companies.
We wouldn’t be Dutch if we didn’t make it possible to rent bikes as public transport using your OV Chip Card. You do have to sign up for this online, but once you’ve done that you can pretty much get a bike at any train station in the country.