How does travelling work?
In the Netherlands, we use one card for all public transport: the OV-chipkaart. If you carry an OV-chipkaart with you, you will no longer need to think about different tickets for metros, trains, trams and buses. We advise you to buy the card at a train station when you arrive in the Netherlands.
Load before you travel
You will need to load the card before you start your journey. You can do this with money, which means you will be travelling on credit and will pay per kilometre travelled. Or you can do it with a travel product, such as a season ticket for commuting or a discount ticket for offpeak travel.
You must always check in and out with an OV-chipkaart. At the start of your journey, hold your card against the screen on a gate or card reader. Your card will be checked to ensure you have a valid travel product or sufficient credit. Then the gate will open, or the card reader will beep to confirm.
At the end of your journey, or when you transfer to another mode of transport, hold your card against the screen on a gate or card reader. The card reader will check whether you have travelled using a travel product or on credit. If you have travelled on credit, the card reader will display the cost of your journey. The boarding fare, minus the cost of your journey, will be returned to your card. Don't forget to check out! Otherwise you will lose your full boarding fare.
Steffie explains the OV-chipkaart
Travelling with the OV-chipkaart isn’t easy for everyone. That’s why we have launched an initiative to make communication about the OV-chipkaart simpler. This will take place on the Steffie website. On this website, Steffie will explain all aspects of the OV-chipkaart in a comprehensible way. She will do this using text and images and will give visitors a chance to practice. Curious? Take a look at www.uitlegovchipkaart.nl (unfortunately, this is not available in English, sorry)