I have been abroad for more than four months, yet I still haven’t posted anything beneficial regarding my exchange. Therefore today I am going to explain about how to travel within the Netherlands! Yeay!
I found it difficult and expensive to travel at first here, so I think this will be very useful for those who wishes to travel cheaper in Holland 😛 Let’s start by pointing out each of the transportation options:
Everybody might suggests that if you are staying for more than 2 months, the first thing to do after finding your room in Holland is to find a really good bike, along with better chains and locks for the bike. At first I thought it was so funny having to buy a lock which costs more than the secondhand bike, but considering the probability for the bike to get stolen… we might have no option, hahaha. Let’s say we can get a good secondhand bike for 70eur, but the chain and lock can cost 20 – 40eur! So you will be grateful if you can find a bike sold together with its lock :’)
Why’s a bicycle so important anyway? As the quote saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, Dutch people choose to bike almost everywhere within the city. Particularly in Groningen, the city I live in, the southern part of the city can be reached from the northern part in just around 30 minutes biking, while if we take the bus it might take longer time! It’s an effective and healthy way to travel around the city 🙂
- As the wind in Holland is considered strong (
especially for this super tiny thin Indonesian), we might feel as if the wind is facing us all the time. Make sure we know where the wind blows, because sometimes it’s easier to bike on the same direction as the wind (the wind pushing us is very helpful!)
- Put your jacket or coat on when biking, especially during the autumn and winter (of course, Nasha!). One thing I find useful is to check the weather forecast before going anywhere, so that we can decide whether to bring the jacket or not.
- It’s better not to bike anymore than biking without lamp (and get caught). It charges you 40eur if you get caught biking without lamp and without any companies who have bike lamp on. 😛
If the weather gets too cold, or if we’re lazy enough to take out the bike from the shed, a bus can be an option to travel. There is a nice app we can use to know the bus schedule and options other than google maps: 9292! It depends on what we like to use, but I prefer 9292 to check the bus here. The ticket price is different in every city (in Den Haag I have to pay 4eur for 1-hour trip with the bus, but in Groningen it’s 2eur for 1-hour trip). If we stay more than 1 month and use the bus quite frequently, it is better to have the OV-chipkaart, a top-up bus, tram, train, metro card we can use anywhere around the Netherlands. Travelling with the card is cheaper, especially in the big cities which one way trip can cost you 4eur (with the OV-chipkaart it’s usually around 1eur, depending on the distance travelled). However, since it costs 7.5eur to get the card, I suggest to buy it only if you stay more than one month here (if it’s one month stay, borrow someone’s bike!)
- Pay attention to the bus schedule, as some buses arrive 1-2 minutes earlier than the scheduled time.
- If you have the personalized OV-chipkaart, there’s a possibility to get 40% discount travelling with any bus/tram/train 🙂
Holland is quite small to travel (compared to Indonesia, of course), so we might travel during weekend to other cities! There are several train companies, but the biggest one is NS. There is an NS mobile app named Reisplanner to help knowing the schedule and ticket price for every journey we have. Or simply go to the website and check the schedule! 🙂 Usually the longest route costs about 25eur.
What’s interesting is that NS frequently issue a one-day card (named dagkaart – day card), which we can buy in the affiliated store during several period, and use it on the designated period. For example, if there is a promo this week in store A for a dagkaart period February-April, I can buy it now and use it during February-April. However, the price sometimes change, depends on the promo, and one ticket only valid for one day.
Another way to travel cheaper is by having the group ticket. Within 10 people together, we can travel to the same destination on the same day with only 70eur (7eur for each person!). However, we have to look for 9 other people who want to travel on that exact date, and it’s not that easy to find 😛
This is a transportation option I found in Rotterdam. The system is the same as the bus, so get your OV-chipkaart prepared here! 🙂
In some cities, tram is another option other than buses (or metro). In Amsterdam, the tram takes us to most parts of the city, and it’s a much much cheaper way to travel within the capital city! The one day ticket for bus and tram in Amsterdam costs about 7eur (late 2014 price).
In my opinion, the public transport system is excellent. As a person who usually plans everything before doing, the exact schedule shown on the app helps a lot to calculate the estimated time to arrive at the destination. Therefore, our time is not going to be wasted 🙂