NETHERLANDS LOCAL TRANSPORTATION

NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen/Netherlands Railways) operates the main line railways throughout the Netherlands. But almost the entire country is accessible by public transportation, thanks to local and regional buses, and streetcars which are known as trams in the Netherlands.

Public Transport Companies

Transit systems serving the largest cities are GVB (Amsterdam), HTM (Den Haag/The Hague), and RET (Rotterdam). These are the main operators of trams, along with buses.

Regional and interurban bus service in the Netherlands was previously provided by bus companies assigned to regions of varying sizes. In 1999, many of these companies merged to form Connexxion. Although in subsequent years, Arriva expanded its presence in the Netherlands to serve the most areas. In addition, significant areas are served by Keolis (formerly Syntus). And additional companies serve additional areas.

English is minimal at the official web sites of these regional bus companies. Even where English exists, information is often more complete at the Dutch versions. When looking for information, useful Dutch words are dienstregeling (timetable), lijnennetkaart or plattegrond (map), lijnfolder (line folder), or busboekje (bus booklet). Much information can be downloaded as PDF files. In some areas, a busboekje is a convenient booklet containing all of the bus schedules for an entire region, sometimes with a few hundred pages.

An alternative method for identifying bus companies, is through Google Maps. One can zoom into an area, and find the little blue squares identifying the bus stops. And clicking on a square reveals a route number and a link to the provider's web site. Almost every place in the Netherlands is near a bus route.