How to Buy and Use your eTicket for Dutch Trains

The Dutch National Railways (NS) website sell etickets. Yes it is a foreign website but don’t panic yet you can change the language to English. Clicking the English button in the top right hand corner will accomplish that difficult task for you. Just be sure to click on this button at the start of your travels through the ns.nl website as at anytime clicking the language tab on the top of their website will take you back to the home page - very annoying!


Buying Train Ticket from NS



1 - Click in the ‘English’ Tab
2 - Click on the ‘Arrange and Buy’ tab
3 - Click on ‘Buy your eticket’.
4 - Enter your details and purchase your ticket.

Rules to Remember Before Buying Your eTicket
1. Remember when entering your details that they must be the same as the ID you will travel with. Did you know that by law everyone in the Netherlands is obliged to 'show their papers' when asked by officials such as police. That is a little besides the point but anyway this eticket is sold under the condition that you can show your ID to prove your identity. The name and date of birth on the eticket and ID must match.
2. You must download and print your etickets. They are only accepted when printed (A4 size). You can’t show your eticket on a device such as phone or tablet.
3. These etickets are non-refundable - so be careful when making your online purchase. The good news is that if there is a train delay you can get your refund as per typical NS rules.


Using your eTicket
You can use these etickets to gain entry to the station via the barriers with the ‘scan ticket’ symbol. It is not difficult to figure out. Find the electronic barrier with the barcode scanner symbol hold the ticket to reader. Turn around three times and scream 'Open Sesame' at the top of your lungs and the gates should open. Hoary you are in/out of the station congratulations!

If you have any problems there is usually a member of staff around. Over the last year there have been many changes in the stations across the Netherlands. For example electronic gate barriers are a whole new system for the locals too, so don’t be afraid to ask how it works the staff won’t take a bite out of you. They prefer kroketten. The electronic gates are being installed in more and more stations but not every station has them yet , so you don’t need to worry about scanning your ticket if there are not gates when travelling with the eticket



eTicket Disadvantages
Now it all seems easy right? Well there is one major disadvantage with this method for all international travellers; you can only pay by iDeal. If you have iDeal then this is perfect but I suspect that most international travellers will not have this so unless you can befriend lots of locals willing to lend you their bank card I advise you to check alternative options. This is a shame as etickets would be a great option for international travellers allowing you to plan travels in advance from abroad. There is another eticket solution however: It is possible to purchase tickets for domestic Dutch train travel on the website of the Belgium Railways (the European website not the regular Belgium Railways website.



Buying Train Ticket from SNBC


With these etickets you have the option to home print the ticket and if you can’t print your ticket yourself then you can collect it at the station. Another advantage of buying with this website over hte Dutch Railways website (www.ns.nl) is that there are multiple payment methods (Visa, E- Mastero, GiroPay, MasterCard, iDeal, KBC online, Bancontact, American Express, Sofort, CBC Online, ING HomePay). Today as I researched a few trips from around the Netherlands (September 2014) I found that the prices on this website are consistently a few cents cheaper than on the actual Dutch railway.