Moving to a new place brings many challenges and opportunities; that’s common knowledge. However, moving to a new country can surprise and change you even more than you think! This is why it’s important to be well informed and make the most out of your temporary (or permanent) stay in a foreign country.
Transportation in the Netherlands: do’s and don’ts.
Yes, transportation. How does it work in the Netherlands? Most of you must know about the cycling culture we have. However – did you know that Holland has one of the most well regulated public transportation systems? Below, we have listed all the transportation possibilities in the Netherlands and we included some of the best tips!
We know that you are expecting this one, so why not start with it? The Netherlands is a country in which the bicycle is the most used transportation tool. A quick stop at the supermarket, dropping off your kids at school or cycling 10K to the office? No problem – I will grab my bike! And no – not just in the summer. Cycling is something we do all year round. Rain, snow, ice, storms and sunny weather – our bikes can handle it all.
The main benefits of cycling?
It’s super healthy, it will save you a subscription for the gym and sometimes it’s the fastest way to get around. Think of all that traffic that you will skip. Also, Holland is not that big, so most of the things you will need will be just a 20-minute bike ride. Also, the roads in Holland are perfect for cycling. Cyclists have their own paths and there are special signs on the road that show bike routes.
How to get a bike?
You can buy a new bike in the store; there are a lot of places where you can buy a new bike. However – if you are staying for a couple of months, a new bike can be an expensive investment. Try buying a second hand bike. You can check online, for example on marktplaats.nl. You can easily score a bike for somewhere between 50 to 100 euro’s, which is a good price.
How do I find my way around?
Of course – getting lost is a part of living in a new city. However, by using smart apps and the Internet, you can calculate the fastest route to your destination. Just use Google Maps’ bike route option or use apps on your phone like Naviki. Also, the Maps option of Apple shows the fastest biking route.
One of the most notable things in the Netherlands is the well-arranged public transportation. Usually it’s on time and clean. Delays are usually just a couple of minutes, except when it’s stormy or snowy. So, generally, the public transportation is highly reliable and gets you form A to B wherever that might be. In all cities, there are busses. In larger cities, like Amsterdam, Delft, Rotterdam and Den Haag for example, there are trams. In Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Den Haag, there is also a metro. All cities in the Netherlands, even smaller towns, are well connected with each other either by busses or by train. The train is a frequently used option by us Dutchies. Many train stations also offer the option of an OV-bike (a public transportation bike) to travel further from the train station to your final destination. And what if you want to party all night and you can’t afford a cab? The public transportation companies have special night busses that will bring you home for a very reasonable fee.
The main benefits of public transportation?
It is a much cheaper option than driving a car and you will skip the traffic. In the Netherlands, students get a public transportation card from the government, with which they can travel for free during the week. Be sure to apply for one! Also there is one single public transportation card that you can use for all public transportation companies – the OV-chipcard (pictured above). You can put money on this card and then travel with all public transport carriers easily.
How do I find my way around?
It is rather difficult to know which transition is the best. Thank goodness the Dutch take their public transport very seriously. With 9292 you can check at all times at when exactly your train, bus, metro, tram or ferry leaves. You can check online via their website, call them or check their app for real-time information. There is also an app for just the train schedule, called the NS-app. However, the 9292 app shows the fastest route with all possible options and you can select which way of transportation you prefer.
Of course, you can also take a cab to your destination. However – taxi’s in the Netherlands are very expensive, especially when you compare it with the costs of public transportation. While it might be a good option to take a cab at night, you might just want to take your bike. However; Uber is also slowly gaining popularity in the Netherlands, especially in larger cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The costs of an Uber are cheaper then regular taxi’s, but availability is also important.
The main benefits of a cab?
Taxi’s are very safe in the Netherlands. The cars are usually top-notch, the most used model is a Mercedes, and the drivers are certified. Usually they use a pre-fixed price, which ensures that the price is fair. However; this is usually a very expensive price, so our advice is to always to try and negotiate. If you’re lucky you might just arrange a good price.
How do I get around with a cab?
Unlike New York’s famous cabs, the tradition of hailing a taxi does not exist in the Netherlands. Instead, you can just call a cab to pick you up or go to taxi standpoints in the city. But, ordering a cab is always better, since a lot of cabs are reserved beforehand. In that case, the taxi can’t take you to your destination. You can reserve a cab by calling the Taxi Centrale in the city that you need a cab. BTW: cabs are not yellow, but have a blue license plate (just like in the picture).
Just to state the obvious: walking is very normal in The Netherlands. Why? Our cities, and country in general, are not that big. Also, there is almost always a store, a bank or a bus stop on walking distance.
The main benefits of walking?
Well, aside from it being healthy and mind soothing, walking is the best way to get to know a new city. Explore the small and lovely streets and allies that cities like Amsterdam, Delft and Leiden have. You will find great local small café’s, vintage stores and bookstores.
How do I find my way around?
Taking a map with you might not advance your plan of blending in with the locals, so why don’t you try out some apps? Besides Google Maps, there are apps like Stay.com who will show all restaurants, bars, shops or interesting places that are near you.
Hopefully, this information will make your stay easier. Our main point? Ditch the gym and just take your bike our for a stroll and walk some more! Do you have any other tips? Leave them below in the comments!