In the city center of Amsterdam, you won’t need a train. You can easily get around with a bike, taxi, or metro. However, if you want to visit other parts of Amsterdam or go to places like Zaanse Schans, Keukenhof, or Rotterdam without a guide or tour, you can take the train. The Netherlands is a small country, so you can reach most of the exciting places within half an hour by train. In this article, we provide detailed information on how the train system in The Netherlands and Amsterdam works. All trains from the city center depart from Amsterdam Central Station.
From Schiphol to Amsterdam Central Station by train
When flying from England to the Netherlands, you will arrive at Schiphol Airport. Schiphol is a very large airport and is one of the largest in Europe. You can easily take the train from Schiphol to the city center. This train ride takes 17 minutes. If you want to arrange your tickets in advance, you can book them below.
Get your train ticket at the station
If you want to get tickets last minute at the station, it’s not a problem. In the photo below, you can see where you need to go for your train tickets. Most stations in the Netherlands use this machine for ticket sales.
At Amsterdam Central Station, there’s a higher chance of being able to purchase train tickets at a counter. You can book a day ticket, one-way ticket, or round trip.
Discounts for train tickets
Tip! If you’re traveling in a group, make pairs. In the Netherlands, you can also book a companion ticket, which saves a lot of money. If you want to bring your bicycle on the train, it’s possible but you’ll have to pay extra. Also, when the train is crowded, bicycles may not be allowed. This depends on the conductor. There are many discounts for children when traveling by train.
The most affordable and convenient train ticket for tourists in Amsterdam
Amsterdam & Region Public Transport Pass offers one, two, or three consecutive days of unlimited access to public transportation throughout Amsterdam and the surrounding area. You can conveniently pick up your pass at one of the redemption points, including Schiphol Airport, upon arrival.
With this pass, you can freely use buses, trams, and metros in Amsterdam, making it easier to navigate and explore the city. Additionally, you can venture out to nearby destinations like Volendam, Zaanse Schans, and Haarlem, which is perfect if you’ve found a great hotel deal outside the city center.
If you’re arriving by plane, this public transport pass allows you to travel from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam city center. It also covers unlimited train travel (2nd class) between selected stations in Amsterdam and the Amsterdam region.
Once activated, your ticket remains valid for the number of consecutive calendar days you have chosen. Note that your smartphone voucher is not the actual ticket. You can exchange it for an OV-chipkaart (public transport card) by scanning the barcode at designated GVB ticket machines or counters.
Remember to use your card to check-in at the beginning of each journey and check-out at the end of each trip. For transfers between different transport operators, such as buses, trams, or metros, you need to check-out at an NS card reader before checking-in with another operator.
Order here your Amsterdam & Region Public Transport Pass:
Or buy your train ticket online…
It is also possible to purchase your tickets online through the NS app. First, download the NS app and take a look at how it works. You can set the language of the app to English. Don’t wait until you’re at the station to arrange your tickets, as it may cause stress. It’s much nicer to prepare in advance. Through the NS app, you can also choose from discounts, day tickets, round trips, or one-way tickets.
Check in / Check out
Beep beep. When you hear this sound, you know where to go to check in or check out. If you choose a day return ticket, you need to check in and check out. Officially, this is also required for a single ticket, but it doesn’t matter much. It is important for the day return, otherwise the gates at Central Station won’t know if you’ve checked in. It’s a small effort but of great importance. You can check in at this pole.
What is the interior of a Dutch train like?
Trains in the Netherlands are very well maintained. In 2023, brand new trains have been introduced. You can recognize second class by the blue seats, and first class by the red seats. There isn’t much difference between first and second class, except that first class offers a quieter environment. However, we recommend purchasing tickets for second class.
In some parts of the train, you will find seating for groups of four, in other parts for couples, and in some sections, you will find long rows of seats. These all fall under second class in the Netherlands. The new trains also have charging points where you can charge your phone. Occasionally, there is Wi-Fi on the train, but the connection may not be very strong. Electronic boards clearly indicate your current location and upcoming stops on your journey!
By train to the Zaanse Schans
We fully understand that not everyone wants to join a tour or have a guide when visiting the Zaanse Schans. Some things you just want to do at your own pace. However, the Zaanse Schans is located outside of Amsterdam, so you will need to take the train to get there. When traveling by train to the Zaanse Schans, you should take the train towards Uitgeest station. This train runs approximately every half hour.
Once on the train, you should get off at Zaandijk – Zaanse Schans station. The journey takes about 20 minutes. From there, it’s a 1.4-kilometer walk to the Zaanse Schans, which can take around 20 minutes, or you can also take the bus, taxi, or rent a bicycle.