The ultimate guide to travel around The Netherlands for international students

Why knowing efficient ways to travel around NL matters? Not only you as a student can better schedule your future plans but it can also be beneficial to your budget.


Regardless of the rain, hail, wind, etc., the Dutch like to bike around! Personally, it feels like a sin not to own a bicycle in The Netherlands.

What impresses me about the Netherlands is that it is not only famous for having more bicycles than the total population but also for the infrastructures that make riding more effortless than ever. In The Netherlands, you can always find priority routes for cyclists which are painted in red. This makes it safer for you as a cyclist as you do not have to compete with other kinds of vehicles.

Owning a bicycle as a student in NL is not that difficult, so is losing one :D. Normally, students would go for second-hand bikes being sold on Facebook Marketplace or from someone they know. I bought one Gezellig brand fiets (“fiets” means bicycles in Dutch) at only 60euro and was over satisfied with it!

Travelling on a bike can be a form of happiness!

Public transportation

However, bikes are not always ideal for long commutes. Then buses and trains are perfect alternatives. Traveling in NL can be as easy as pie because it is a small country. For example, it takes just a little more than 4 hours by train from Groningen to Maastricht which is near the border between NL and Belgium. Besides, train and bus stops are within short distances, which compensates for the absence of trams or metros in some smaller cities.

I would highly recommend having an OV-chipkaart (Openbar Vervoorer (OV) = public transportation). With this powerful small card, you can hop on and off any kind of public transport available: from buses, trains, to trams or metros, etc. With an OV card, you, as an international student can subscribe to travel products sold by different Dutch travel providers. I preferably go for the 31euro subscription (*prices can be different depending on when you buy it) provided by NS which allows me to travel unlimitedly at the weekends by trains. With this subscription, I can FREELY visit any city in The Netherlands at the weekend. How cool is that?

What I find interesting about traveling by trains in NL is that you can bring your bike or pets on the trains, of course with just a little extra paid in advance. That basically means you can just travel everywhere, whether by train or bicycles. Wat gezellig!!!

Of course, there are also other cool travel products by NS (the Dutch train provider) that you can choose based on your personal needs. Having one of those travel products is an economical and flexible way to travel.

What is your favorite way to travel around The Netherlands? Do you recommend any better way(s) to travel economically? Let me know in the comment below!