Luggage Lockers / Bag Storage

There are a few ways to store your bags when railing the trails around The Netherlands. The first and most convenient are the luggage lockers (bagagekluizen in Dutch) at the train station. These are at all the large train stations (Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, etc.). They are really easy to find as signs are typically in English in the bigger stations or you can follow the pictogram.

Luggage lockers are easy to use and are apparently secure. I say apparently because if anyone tries to break into them they do emit a very loud siren. How do I know this - well one day while trying to force my stuck locker open I managed to set it off - although many onlookers gave me the evil eye and it was quiet embarrassing- no security came and I had to jimmy the door open to retrieve my bag. So ‘secure’ but not 100% secure – but then again what is 100% secure really? Although the prices are not really bad, if you are on a budget it’s better to just travel light then having to depend on luggage lockers.

Luggage Lockers Prices:

Small locker:
0-24 hours= €3.85
25-72 hours= €5.55(per 24 hours)
After 72 hours=€3.85(per 24 hours)

Large locker: 
0-24 hours= €5.70
25-72 hours= €8.45(per 24 hours)
After 72 hours=€11.25 (per 24 hours)

You pay for the first 24 hours upon storage and the rest when you return. If you loose your ticket the lost ticket claim will cost an extra €10.00. It is important to remember that you can only rent a locker for 3 days. If it runs longer than this you will pay €7.60 per 24 hours but your locker can also be opened by NS. After 10 days the locker will be emptied and a fee of €70.00 will apply – the removed luggage will be sent to a Lost Property Office in Utrecht.

How do They Work

  • The first important thing to remember is that they only accept card payments (Pin, Chip, Maestro, Visa or Mastercard). You have to make the payment in advance and the payment is for the 24-hour rental period.   
  • Choose a locker and put in all your bags. There are typically small (90cm deep, 45cm high and 40cm wide) and large (90cm deep, 60cm high and 40cm wide.) options. Close the door and go to the ticket vending machine terminal beside the lockers. 
  • On the screen you will see your locker number and they will await payment. 
  • Once payment is made the locker will lock and you will receive a card with a bar code printed on it. Be sure you have a card with a bar code- if the payment is not accepted you will get a card with no bar code this is just a receipt of a non-payment transaction. The locker door will reopen if this happens so be sure to double check your card and don’t walk away until you are sure the locker has locked!
  • When you return you simply need to scan the bar code on the bar code reader and your locker will automatically open. 
Top Tip: Take your time and choose the correct luggage to store before payment. If you wish to retrieve it after you have paid you will need to rent a full new 24 hour and pay again
The main rail company in Holland NS have made a video showing how this works- you can find it here. It is in Dutch but it’s pretty self-explanatory. 

Other Options

Schiphol Airport: Luggage storage lockers are no longer available. They were removed in Jan 2018. There is a left luggage office called a baggage depot. This is located  in the basement between Arrivals 1 and Arrivals 2.  Prices start at €6 and all the details of price, size and storage times can be found on this page of the airport information.
Eindhoven Airport: Luggage storage lockers are no longer available at Eindhoven Airport. They were removed December 2017If you arrive at a smaller station that does not have luggage locker wall then  you can still store your luggage in a depot typically located near or in the bike shop/bike rental point. The fees are generally €5/day. These have been replaced by the luggage locker walls so it is not always possible- but at smaller stations worth asking!
Typically hotels/hostels will have no problem storing your luggage for you if you have stayed there for the night- you can even try asking/calling an hotel you are not staying in and offering to pay – again worth a try and has worked for me in the past.
When traveling in the UK I used to take my bag to the nearest free museum/gallery and store my bags there as if I was a visitor- this really only works if you are just looking for a place for a few hours and perhaps a coffee or donation in return would be a nice gesture.
There are offices near Amsterdam central station called 'Drop & Go'. They offer storage and you can even use their outlets to charge your devices print a boarding pass weigh your bags or pick up keys- awesome idea! 

If anyone else thinks of storage options drop me a line and I will add it in

Travelling by train with a bike or dog - how to get your train ticket

Traveling with a pet
When traveling with your pet you do need to purchase an extra ticket. The prices are typically €3.00 (that is €3.50 if you book with a credit card) you can purchase this ticket from the ticket machines -as you can see from the images or from the ticket office. You need a ticket per dog/pet

ticket for dog on train

cycling in Holland
Traveling with a Bike
On some trains there is a special compartment for bikes. So be sure to board the train on the carriage where you see the bike symbol. If you have a folding bike you do NOT need a ticket- however you HAVE to fold the bike. Beware you will be fined if you do not fold your bike! The bike ticket costs €6.00 (€6.50 credit card fee). This ticket price may seem step but it is valid all day. You can also consider renting a bike during your travels. Many stations have OV bike rental stations attached to them making it easy to rent a bike upon arrival at your destination.

Be aware that there are some conditions associated with traveling with your bike. You can only take your bike outside of peak travel hours. Peak hours (or what they call in Holland de spits) 06.30 to 09.00 and 16.30 to 18.00 on weekdays. But you can bring the bike on the train anytime during the weekends/public holidays or during the summer (July-August).

If you are traveling on an international train (Eurostar; TGV; City Night Line; Thalys or the international ICE trains) the conditions and prices are different. You can see a full overview of these conditions per train listed here:

Buy a Ticket at the Station Ticket and Service Desk

Once upon a time it was easy to purchase a little yellow ticket at the service desk.  You just went to a ticket counter told them your hearts travel desires and for a small booking fee the staff provided you with a little yellow ticket and this was used to travel anytime that on your desired route. Ahh the good old days...........well actually, even with the modernisation of the stations in the Netherlands over the last few years you will be happy to hear that this has not changed too much. You can still buy regular point to point tickets at the train station service desk.  Just find the NS Tickets & Service desks (this is usually the counter with the large queue in front of it! If you are at a small station then look for the 7/11 style store called the 'Kiosk' with Tickets & Service sign and you can get information and your ticket.  
 These days the tickets are printed as single use OV ChipKaarts or Chipcards. Openbaar Vervoer (OV) is the Dutch for public transport. This allows you to check in and out at the barrier gates or at the free standing chip check in card readers when entering or leaving a station. You can’t pre-buy these disposable cards. They must be bought on the day that you travel. Just tell the member of staff where you want to go and they will print the Chipcard. The date (as well as the route) will be printed on the card. To validate this ticket you need to ‘check in’ entering the station and when you arrive at your destination you ‘check out’ when you leave (inchecken en uitchecken). This is not really rocket science but I do get asked a lot how this works so I have created a separate post about this. You can find it here.

Fees for Buying your Ticket at the Service Desk : The disposable chipcards have a €1 supplement when purchasing them at the ticket desk and when buying them from the ticket machines (all hail modern technology!). Remember that there are two types of ticket machines in the stations and the OV - Chipcard can only be purchased from the NS ticket machine with the blue sign and white NS logo across the top. You can read more about these machines and how to use them here.   

The staff at the ticket desk can also sell you a ticket or seat reservation for International trains to Belgium, Luxembourg and German but for this service they will charge you a service fee of €3.50 per booking per person (to a max €10.50 per booking). This applies to tickets that do not require seat reservations. If you want a ticket and a seat reservation the service free is a whooping €7.50 per booking per person (to a maximum of €22.50 per booking). These fees exclude credit card fees. Such high international fee booking costs are supposed to drive you to online payment methods but really they probably drive people to the Ryanair website! 

The Service Desk only Accepts the Following Payment Methods:
  • Cash
  • Dutch bank card
  • Credit card is ONLY accepted at the major stations (Amsterdam Centraal, Schiphol, Amsterdam Duivendrecht, Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena, Amsterdam Sloterdijk, Amsterdam Zuid, Rotterdam, Den Haag, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Arnhem, Maastricht, Groningen, Hengelo, Roosendaal) and at that ONLY VISA or MasterCard are accepted. A credit card transaction fee of €0.50 is applied.

Opening Times of Ticket and Service Desk: If you are depending on making a ticket purchase at the ticket desk then be sure to double check they are still open when you arrive. You can find their opening hours of the major stations ticket desks here smaller stations are generally open during work.

Personal OV - Chipcard

As a resident of The Netherlands you can apply for a personal OV - Chipcard. This is only applicable if you are living in the Netherlands and have a Dutch bank account and address. In order to get one of these cards you need to fill out an application form. If you are not computer savvy then I guess you will not be reading this - but in any case you can go to the station desk and ask for the application form. Once you have filled it in (and you have a photograph) they can help fill in the online details for you. For this pleasure they will charge you an extra €3 as well as the cost of the personal card €7.50. 

Remember that the personal OV-Chipcard these cards can ONLY be used by the person listed on the card (name and picture and DOB are on the card). If you lose your card and report it within 24 hours you can apply for a refund for the credit on your card. You can sync your personal chip card it to your back account so you never have to worry about running low on funds when at the train station you can simply check in and Rail the Trails. The main advantages of these cards are that you can purchase an ‘abonnment’ or subscription.   This may not apply to you internationals unless you are expats but here is the NS infographic showing the deals. I will explain in English underneath: 

OC ChipCard Schemes

  • Off Peak Discount (Dal Voordeel): Cost: €50 per year. With this subscription you can get a 40% discount on your travels anytime expect during peak hours 06:30-09:00 and 16:00-18:30 during weekdays. The card holder still gets the discount anytime during weekends.  
  • Discount at Anytime (Altijd Voordeel): Cost: €25 for a 1 month subscription; €240 for an annual subscription. This gives a 20% discount off travel during peak hours (06:30-09:00 and 16:00-18:30) and a 40% discount at all other times.
  • Free Weekend Travel (Weekend Vrij): Cost: €40 per month 2nd class and €65 per month 1st class. This subscription gives you free weekend (Friday 18:30 to Monday 04:00). During the off peak weekday travel you can get a 40% discount but there is no discount during the weekday peak hours 
  •  Off-peak free travel (Dal Vrij): Cost: €99 per month 2nd class /€172 per month 1st class. This deal allows free during off- peak hours.
  • Free Travel (Altijd Vrij): Cost: €382 per month (2nd class) or €649 (1st class). An annual subscription costs €309 per month (2nd class) or €519 per month (1st class). This allows totally unrestricted free travel for the holder.
  • Kids Free (Kids Vrij): Cost: €15 per year when travelling with an adult. All the cards I mention above are allowed to up to 3 Kids free subscriptions which allow children aged 4-11 to travel free with the card holder at anytime. 
Remember these personal cards and subscriptions are for Dutch residents only. Besides these 6 main subscriptions there are other offers such as senior and student discounts. The subscriptions can be bought online (if you use iDeal) by phone (via NS at 0900 202 1163) or at the ticket desk. If you already have a personal OV-chip card you can add some of the subscriptions mentioned above at the ticket machine. 

Please feel free to add any other discounts you think should be mentioned on this page and I will update it regularly.  

What is the OV- Chipcard and Should I Buy One?

OV Chipcard
If you are not a resident of the Netherlands and you are planning on travelling a lot by train then a good option is the anonymous OV-Chipcard. This card costs €7.50 and has no personal details on it (no name or photo for example) so it can be used by anyone! This card needs to be toped up before it can be used. 

Where can I buy the anonymous Ov-Chipcard?

  • At the train station ‘Tickets & Service’ counters or other public transport ticket desks
  • At the NS ticket machines (with the blue sign and white NS logo across the top)
  • Supermarkets (e.g. Albert Heijn) and tobacco shops or stationary shops such as the Bruna. You can check this website to find OV-Chipcard service points throughout the Netherlands. At these points you can purchase the OV-chipcard and also load credit onto a card:
How Do I Use My Anonymous card- IS IT WORTH IT?
The card may look like a great option but remember that this card costs €7.50 so it is only good value if you plan to travel more than 7 or 8 times by train. Remember the supplemental fee for an individual ticket at the vending machine or ticket office is €1. So the card saves you money on these supplemental individual ticket costs only if you plan to travel more than 8 times when you are in the Netherlands or if you plan to avail of ‘samenkorting’. 

1 Activating the OV - Chipcard
The anonymous OV- Chipcard only needs to be activated if you have purchased it from a source OTHER than the NS ticket desk/ticket machine (i.e another public transport operator). You can do that this at the NS ticket machine at the station. So for most tourists arriving in Amsterdam or Eindhoven airport you do not need to activate your OV - Chipcard as you will buy it from the regular NS train station. Just add credit to the card and start using it!

2. Topping up the Card
You can top up your OV- Chipcard with credit using the NS ticket machine. I have a separate blog post about how to use these machines. You can pay at an NS ticket machine with a foreign bank card that has the Maestro logo, a V PAY card or a Dutch bank card. You can pay with coins at some ticket machines but not all. Remember credit cards are usually not accepted (although this is slowly changing) and some credit cards (VISA or MasterCard) can be accepted for an extra fee at some ticket desks (not all!).

3. Fees for using the card
It is free to top up your card. When you travel with the OV-chipcard you are charge a ‘boarding fee’ The minimum boarding fee for travelling with an the anonymous OV-Chipcard is €20 when travelling in NS trains or €10 on Syntus trains and €4 when travelling by tram/metro or bus. This means when you chip in at the main station you are charged €20, and when you check in at the bus or tram station you will be charged €4. If you don’t have this minimum credit in your card you cannot check in. Of course the price of the train journey will not be €20! The price of travel in NS is based per kilometre (roughly 0.84c per kilometre although this varies throughout the country). The money taken from your OV-chipcardd is just a ‘boarding fee’. Once you check out at the end of your journey your train fee will be calculated based on the distance you have travelled and the cost will be debuted leaving the balance in your account. Of course this means that you always need to have a €20 balance on your card to use it! For tourist travel this makes it not such a good deal as you when you finish your journey you will have to go about getting that refund for any cash left over

4. Refunds for credit on the anonymous OV-chipcard
In my opinion this card is a lot of hassle for tourists. First of all you have to buy the card for €7.50 then you have to make sure it is always topped up to a minimum of €20. This means the initial cost is 27.50 before you even board a train! You have to remember all the time to top up your card to a minimum of €20 before you use it. Of course you can top up your card up to a maximum of €150 in one go but I don’t advice this. If you lose your chipcard you have no way of getting a refund. Once you finish your journey there may be credit left on your card and in order to get this back you need to go to the ticket counter to reclaim your balance. They will only refund up to €30 and they charge a €2.50 handling fees.

5. What happens if your card stops working?
This does happen from time to time! It happened to me once and I went to the NS ticket desk. They are not very helpful and told me I had to go online to apply for a replacement or fill out a form to apply for a refund for the amount on the defective card. You can find the eform here: There may be a cost involved in getting a replacement card in the case of loss, theft, change of personal details or a technical defect.

How to Buy and Use your eTicket for Dutch Trains

The Dutch National Railways (NS) website sell etickets. Yes it is a foreign website but don’t panic yet you can change the language to English. Clicking the English button in the top right hand corner will accomplish that difficult task for you. Just be sure to click on this button at the start of your travels through the website as at anytime clicking the language tab on the top of their website will take you back to the home page - very annoying!

Buying Train Ticket from NS

1 - Click in the ‘English’ Tab
2 - Click on the ‘Arrange and Buy’ tab
3 - Click on ‘Buy your eticket’.
4 - Enter your details and purchase your ticket.

Rules to Remember Before Buying Your eTicket
1. Remember when entering your details that they must be the same as the ID you will travel with. Did you know that by law everyone in the Netherlands is obliged to 'show their papers' when asked by officials such as police. That is a little besides the point but anyway this eticket is sold under the condition that you can show your ID to prove your identity. The name and date of birth on the eticket and ID must match.
2. You must download and print your etickets. They are only accepted when printed (A4 size). You can’t show your eticket on a device such as phone or tablet.
3. These etickets are non-refundable - so be careful when making your online purchase. The good news is that if there is a train delay you can get your refund as per typical NS rules.

Using your eTicket
You can use these etickets to gain entry to the station via the barriers with the ‘scan ticket’ symbol. It is not difficult to figure out. Find the electronic barrier with the barcode scanner symbol hold the ticket to reader. Turn around three times and scream 'Open Sesame' at the top of your lungs and the gates should open. Hoary you are in/out of the station congratulations!

If you have any problems there is usually a member of staff around. Over the last year there have been many changes in the stations across the Netherlands. For example electronic gate barriers are a whole new system for the locals too, so don’t be afraid to ask how it works the staff won’t take a bite out of you. They prefer kroketten. The electronic gates are being installed in more and more stations but not every station has them yet , so you don’t need to worry about scanning your ticket if there are not gates when travelling with the eticket

eTicket Disadvantages
Now it all seems easy right? Well there is one major disadvantage with this method for all international travellers; you can only pay by iDeal. If you have iDeal then this is perfect but I suspect that most international travellers will not have this so unless you can befriend lots of locals willing to lend you their bank card I advise you to check alternative options. This is a shame as etickets would be a great option for international travellers allowing you to plan travels in advance from abroad. There is another eticket solution however: It is possible to purchase tickets for domestic Dutch train travel on the website of the Belgium Railways (the European website not the regular Belgium Railways website.

Buying Train Ticket from SNBC

With these etickets you have the option to home print the ticket and if you can’t print your ticket yourself then you can collect it at the station. Another advantage of buying with this website over hte Dutch Railways website ( is that there are multiple payment methods (Visa, E- Mastero, GiroPay, MasterCard, iDeal, KBC online, Bancontact, American Express, Sofort, CBC Online, ING HomePay). Today as I researched a few trips from around the Netherlands (September 2014) I found that the prices on this website are consistently a few cents cheaper than on the actual Dutch railway.

Buying Train Tickets in the Netherlands

How and Where to Buy your Train Tickets for Travel in Holland
So you have arrived in the Netherlands (the low lands, Holland - however you wish to call it) and you want to explore. If you are not organised enough to have already purchased your train tickets....well don’t panic - Here are 7 ways to purchase your Dutch rail ticket.

1. Purchase an e-ticket:

These single use tickets can be purchased online here via the national railway company of the Netherlands (Nederlands Spoorwegen NS). More details on how to do this step by step in a seperate blog post.

2. Buy Your Ticket (Chipcard) at the Station Service Desk: 

If you choose this option the service desk will charge you a booking fee (this fee varies depending on the ticket you want to buy) and a credit card fee.

3. Buy an anonymous OV-Chipcard:  
This is a good option for non Dutch residents who you plan to travel around the Netherlands a lot. Don’t forget you have to keep it topped up to a minimum of €4-€20 and it costs €7.50 to purchase.

4. Travel with a Personal OV-Chipcard: 

These are great and really take the hassle out of travel but they are only for residents of Holland. There are various subscription options available as explained in this post on the Personal OV-Chipcard

5. Purchase your Ticket (Chipcard) at a Self Service Ticket Machine:

Most train tickets can be purchased via the yellow ticket machines. This does not save you paying a ‘service fee’ but it does save you from queuing. Read this blog to learn how to use the ticket machines

6. Discounted Tickets:

Tips and hints for getting a better value ticket such as the ‘koop kaartjes’ and ‘uutjes kaartjes’ from shops in the Netherlands

7. Rail Pass (InterRail or Eurail Pass):

Prices vary depending on where you purchase the pass and the class you choose from but range from €125 upwards.

Remember that it is not possible to buy tickets on the train so be sure to have one before you enter the platform. Queues at the ticket desk in the airport can be long so a little planning ahead saves time and money!

Discounted Train Tickets

Many people rely on the train station for buying train tickets but with a little advance planning you can get excellent deals on train travel in Holland. You can avail of these deals online or at certain shops in Holland.

Some shops sell 'day cards' and some sell special train tickets or ‘day out’ offers that are a huge saving on the full price tickets at the station. These tickets often include an activity (such as museum or restaurant voucher). Stores like the major supermarket chain Albert Heijn (similar to Tesco or Safeway in the US) as well as Blokker (a homeware store) and Kruidvatt (a low cost pharmacy) sell these from time to time. They have a limited amount of these and they are very popular so they do tend to sell out. Don’t be put off if these pages are in Dutch use Google translate or Google chrome and be sure to get these offers- they are great value.

An excellent page to check out if you are planning a mini adventure. They sell packages for days out such as Hotel+Train; Museum+Train; Restaurant+Train. Typically these will include an activity PLUS your train travel. Those who travel with expensive full price train tickets or rail passes must be really upset when they see these discounted prices! Please check this page FIRST before buying tickets at the stations!   

Example: If you want a day out at the sea side you can get a train ticket from Eindhoven to the nice seaside town of Zandfoort an Zee for about €40 return at the station. But at the spoordeelwinkel they sell a ‘beach day out ticket’ where you can get a return train ticket PLUS lunch for €26! Another example currently on sale from this website is the ‘Kunst and Culture (Art and Culture) train tickets. If you wanted to travel to Amsterdam to see a movie in the EYE or see the Body Works show you can get entrance ticket PLUS train for €20-30. Excellent deals! These offers change from time to time and the website is only in Dutch so look out for the terms and conditions as these tickets are limited to specific days. If you translate the page on Google Chrome it should be no problem.

This ticket offers a group deal for 4-10 people traveling together in 2nd class during weekdays (after 09:00) and on weekends and public holidays (all day). It costs €49 for 4 people and then €2.50 per person extra up to a maximum of 10 people. Every person can depart from a different station if they wish as long as they all go to the same destination! A nice hint is that with this ticket on presentation of your e-ticket you can a hot drink + croissant for only €2.50 at the KIOSK. Caution: Only available online from the webshop (so limited payment options for non residents!).
3. Albert Heijn
The supermarket chain Albert Heijn from time to time sells NS day passes for a reduced price. Typically they are for sale for under €20 and generally day cards cost about €50 so it is a great offer. Not always available so keep an eye on this website if you plan to travel to NL soon. 
If there are no offers at present then you can enter your email address and Blokker will send you information when a train ticket offer becomes available. Typically they sell day cards for under €20. These tickets allow free travel for one full day anywhere in the Netherlands 
5. Kruidvat
This drugstore has excellent day card offers from time to where you can buy a train card for under €15. These deals are the cheapest I have ever seen. They sometimes have a OV-day ticket that is valid for travel on all public trains, buses, trams and metros in the Netherlands. 
6. Day Cards 
For deals and offers on multiple day cards starts around 20-20 Euro. I am not sure who owns this website or how they are affiliated with NS but they only sell NS tickets

7. Other websites 
Be sure to check the websites of stores such as the c1000 supermarket ( and Jumbo ( the department store Hema ( the toy store InterToys ( for any deals they may offer. You can use the search term ‘NS’ or TreinKaartjes’

Rail Passes for travel in the Netherlands

In previous posts I have listed 7 ways to buy tickets when traveling by train in the Netherlands but rail passes remain a popular choice for International travelers. Where can you buy these and who offers the best deal?

The company that manages the Eurail ‘Product’ is called Eurail GIE. They have a network of sales agents who sell their passes. Be sure to purchase a pass only from these sources as these are the ‘authorized sales agents’. The unusual thing is that although each of these companies all sells the same product for the European railways they are still in competition with each other. So each company will have different offers from time to time. They have their own promotions and their prices can vary so it is good to shop around.  Traveling with a rail pass requires some planning so it is best to purchase from a company that has a good customer service and can help you plan your trip or explain the purchase process/coverage.   

When looking for a rail Pass in the Netherlands they are usually called ‘Benelux’ Passes and cover travel not only in The Netherlands but also in Belgium and Luxembourg too.

1. ACP Rail International

3. STA Travel
North America:

4. Rail Europe

5.  Rick Steves
Works in partnership with Rail Europe:

Top Tip: Shop Around- check the prices on each of these official websites. Some promotions are run by all the sales agents however as they are all competing for sales and so some promotions are exclusive, it’s worth doing a price comparison. Check before high season in February and after high season in November for the best deals.  Some companies may appear to sell cheaper passes- but there could be shipping or credit card fees. So be sure to check the full price when comparing prices. 

Another option is to purchase a pass via a travel agent. This will incur more costs as they will add their fee/commission to the price of your pass. With a lot of information available on line I recommend avoiding travel agents. Unless you really do not want to be bothered researching routes and plans for yourself- then of course the travel agent route is a good option. If you purchase a pass directly from a company if you have any problems you can contact them directly. If you travel from an agent you may need to go via the travel agent for advice on any plans. This may not be so handy when you are in Europe and need a quick answer to a question. Some Eurail sales agents offer direct assistance to customers via email or Facebook Twitter etc. They sometimes ask you for your order number before they assist you and this order number shows where you purchased the Pass. 

Passes require a lot of proactive work. However for travel in The Netherlands it is not so difficult to figure out as the train system is easy to understand and the country is small. You can travel on most trains with your pass and there are a few high speed trains such as the Thalys that travel from Holland to Brussels and France that require reservations but you can easily avoid this train and take trains fully covered by your pass.