Arriving in Amsterdam

Public transport

Amsterdam has an extensive transport system including trams, buses, trains, metros and (free) ferries. Amsterdam can be reached easily from Schiphol Airport by national train. The local company GVB operates most public transport within Amsterdam.

Arriving in Amsterdam: a step-by-step guide (video AUAS)

OV chipcards

The GVB in Amsterdam and the Dutch National Railways (NS) are not the same operators. You can buy single tickets, but travelling using an OV chip card is easier and much cheaper. With this card you can travel by train, bus, tram and metro in the entire country - one card covers all possibilities!

An OV chip card is a smart card which you load with travel credit. You can buy one (for €8) & load the card with travel credit at the ticket office of major train stations or at the yellow ticket machines. These ticket machines accept payment by debit and credit cards (V-Pay, Maestro, Mastercard, Visa and American Express) using a PIN or contactless. The machines do not accept banknotes.

To travel by train, your OV-chip card needs a minimum credit of €20. For other public transport, no minimum amount is required.

Anonymous OV chip card or personal OV chip card?

The anonymous OV chip card is not linked to your personal details, but you have to go to a machine everytime you want to load credit on it. These machines can also be found at supermarkets and shops like Primera, AKO and Bruna. Subscriptions or travel discounts are not possible on this card.

With a personal OV chip card you can benefit from various subscriptions which you can load on to your card, such as travelling at a 40% discount outside peak hours. You can set it to automatically top itself up with credit via your Dutch bank account. Another service you can use if you have a personal OV-chipkaart is renting an OV-bike ( € 4 per 24 hours). Very nice if you are visiting a different Dutch city! You have to apply for a personal card via this form . You will need a Dutch address and a Dutch bank account!

Or, you can buy a Student Mobility card, which is an OV chip card & general student discount card at the same time. See the information below.

Not travelling through Schiphol Airport?

All major train or metrostations have ticket machines as well.

Staying for longer than 1 year in the Netherlands?

Yes, the Dutch government does offer a (free) student travel card in combination with study allowance for specific nationalities, but only under certain conditions. The student travel card is a loan (€ 104,22 per month)! Only if you graduate within 10 year, the loan will be converted into a gift. Please note that this is a complicated process and it will take a fair amount of time to arrange it. See the official government website (DUO) for more information. Please contact DUO directly if you have any questions.

Exchange students

Unfortunately, exchange students cannot apply for the student travel card or study allowance from the government as mentioned above.

Other discounts

You could consider a seasonal ticket or subscription, which could be cheaper depending on how many times you travel per week/month to a university building. These options can only be loaded only on a personal OV chip card, not an anonymous chip card.

In the Netherlands, buses and trains are operated by different companies. If you want to get a discount subscription, you have to apply for that on official websites of different public transport companies. You can find more information about seasonal tickets for national trains on the NS website or for local transport on the GVB website. Combination subscriptions for train & public transport within Amsterdam are possible.

You could also opt for the Student Mobility card, which gives you a discounted rate on national trains (not on local transport in Amsterdam), as explained below.

Unfortunately, exchange students do not receive any discount on public transport from the Dutch government. Choosing a suitable subscription is a complicated process, especially for international students. Therefore, Student Mobility created a custom-made mobility card for international students. You can connect your credit or debit card, so you don’t have to top-up the card every time you travel. On top of the mobility card you also receive an ISIC student-ID, a worldwide accepted student-ID that provides access to the biggest student discount network.

The card provides 15% discount on national trains. Currently there is no discount on tram, metro or bus in Amsterdam. However, the Health campus and Business campus can easily be reached from several train stations in Amsterdam.

Next to the card you can also arrange a bike and get your first train ticket from the airport once you arrive in the Netherlands.

Reserve the Mobility card prior to your arrival in Amsterdam on the Student Mobility website and Student Mobility we will inform you in time about the pick-up in Amsterdam or your delivery options!

Student Mobility is an independent organisation and not related to the AUAS. For questions, please see their website.

Find out more about Student Mobility

http://9292.nl/en is a useful website and app which incorporates all public transport operators in the Netherlands. This website shows timetables, a map of the journey, costs of the journey and season tickets advise.

Taxis are expensive: the cost of a taxi ride from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam varies between €45 and €70 (June 2022).

Or try alternatives like Uber or Bolt .

All settled and want to feel like a local, save money on public transport and exercise at the same time? Buy a bike!

  • second hand bikes are often offered (by other students) through social media
  • Most bike shops also sell second hand bikes for reasonable prices
  • ASVA (the Amsterdam Student Union) organizes bike sales every semester
  • Companies like Swapfiets offer a rental bike with full service for a fixed monthly fee
  • Invest in 2 good locks! Always lock your bike at two points, preferably attached to a fence or bicycle stand.

Going back home at the end of the semester? Easily sell your bike again!

Published by  Student Affairs 8 August 2022