Public transport in Amsterdam

All you need to know about getting around Amsterdam from public transport to bikes to student discount cards.

Amsterdam has an extensive public transport system including trams, buses, trains, metros and ferries.

Arriving at Schiphol

If you're arriving at Schiphol Airport, there are direct trains to Amsterdam Central Station.

Buy an OV chipcard

It is wise to buy a public transport card - called an OV chipkaart - at the train station at Schiphol Airport. This saves you money compared with individual ticket purchases. You can top up at train stations and use it for all public transport in the Netherlands. If you want to travel by train, the minimum credit on your card must be €20. For all other public transport, no minimum amount is required.

You can buy an OV-chipkaart at the train ticket desk at Schiphol Plaza or at the yellow ticket machines. The ticket machines accept payment by debit and credit cards (V-Pay, Maestro, Mastercard, Visa and American Express) using pin and/or contactless. The machines do not accept bank notes.

Or, you can buy a Student Mobility card. See the information below.

Other transportation options from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Taxis are expensive: the cost of a taxi ride from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam varies between €40 and €70 (January 2022).  Uber(opens in new window) or Bolt(opens in new window) may be cheaper.

Not travelling through Schiphol Airport?

All major train or metrostations have ticket machines as well.


Plan your route

Most public transport in Amsterdam is operated by the GVB(opens in new window). The national railways are operated by NS(opens in new window). in new window) 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 advice.


Do as the locals do


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(opens in new window) every semester
  • Companies like Swapfiets(opens in new window) 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!

Discounts for international students


The Dutch government offers a free student travel card in combination with study allowance for specific nationalities and under certain conditions. 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(opens in new window) (DUO) for more information. Contact DUO(opens in new window) if you have any questions.

Exchange students

Unfortunately, exchange students cannot apply for the free student travel card or study allowance 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.

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(opens in new window) or for local transport on the Amsterdam public transport(opens in new window) 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.

Student Mobility: public transport card with discount for international students

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(opens in new window) and have it sent to your new Dutch address. If your plans change because of the current situation you can easily cancel your order and get a full refund.

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

Find out more about Student Mobility(opens in new window)