Public transport

The Netherlands is known for its numerous numbers of cyclists. Cyclists are not always willing to keep to the traffic rules. Car drivers, therefore, have to be very careful around cyclists. In the Netherlands, we drive on the right side of the road and overtake on the left side. Traffic coming from the right has right of way unless this is indicated otherwise. In built-up areas, buses and trams have right of way when they leave a bus or tram stop, unless indicated otherwise.  

Car and motorbike

Car drivers are obliged to wear safety belts and motorcyclists must wear a helmet. Using a telephone while driving a car is punishable with a fine and only allowed when using a hands-free device. Car drivers and motorcyclists always have to carry a driver’s licence, registration documents and insurance papers (at least for statutory liability (WA)). It is obligatory to take out car insurance in the Netherlands. You can choose for statutory liability (WA) including fire and theft, WA with an extensive coverage for storm damage etc. or All-risk insurance.

In the Netherlands, all cars have to undergo an annual MOT. The first obligatory MOT takes place four years after commissioning the new car. The garage will check the whole car. Only licensed garages can conduct MOTs. Most garages hold this licence.

Public transport

To be able to travel by public transport (bus, tram, metro or train), an "OV chipkaart" (public transport chip card) is required. The OV chip card can be bought at train and bus stations and in larger supermarkets or newspaper agents. You can choose between a personalised and an anonymous OV chip card. The personalised OV chip card is automatically charged up via your bank account as soon as the balance is insufficient. The anonymous OV-chip card requires you to charge up the balance yourself as soon as this is insufficient. You can do this at most stations and larger supermarkets and newspaper agents. It is also possible to charge up your card at the Primera on Coimbrapad (just underneath the library) at USP/De Uithof. For more information on the OV chipkaart website.

From the age of 60, it is possible to obtain a public transport discount (40% discount on train travel) and from the age of 65 for all types of public transport.

Most buses, trams, metros and trains run from 6 AM to 0.30 AM.


Buses service all parts of the Netherlands. Most buses run every half an hour, more frequently in the towns and cities. In the cities, night buses are usually available too.


Trains service all parts of the Netherlands. Trains are recommended when travelling from town to town. Utrecht is very centrally located and therefore the nodal point of the Dutch Railways (NS). From Utrecht, you can travel to all Dutch cities as well as abroad. Trains stations are often called NS stations. The Dutch railway network is one of the most frequently used in the world.


Trams only run in the cities Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Delft. Arnhem is the only city in the Netherlands boasting trolley buses.


Metros are available in Amsterdam and Rotterdam only.


Schiphol (Amsterdam) is the most important and biggest airport in the Netherlands. KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) is based here. Four smaller airports are located in Eindhoven, Maastricht, Rotterdam and Groningen.

For more information, please visit Travelling to Utrecht.

Useful links

You may want to check out:

  • Dutch railways (NS) travel planner: provides an easy to use travel planner for trains and ticket price indications.
  • Public transport planner: provides travel information about buses, trains, trains and metro from all companies.
  • OV chipkaart: the OV chipkaart is a reloadable card containing credit, used for all public transport in the Netherlands.
  • U-OV: U-OV is the regional public transport provider.