Shops at the train station


There are over 400 train stations in the Netherlands thats quite a lot for a small country. The main train operator (NS) operate about 381 of these. You can see a nice overview of these here: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_stations_in_the_Netherlands. Typically you will find the same shops at the stations. In particular the main stations (Utrecht Central, Amsterdam Central , Rotterdam Central, The Hague Central, Schiphol Airport, Eindhoven, Leiden Centraal and  's-Hertogenbosch) will have the most of these shops/facilities:















Bruna sells books, newspapers, magazines, stationery and greeting cards.

AKO which stands for Amsterdamsche Kiosk Onderneming is a chain of over 100 bookstores and news stands in the Netherlands.

Kiosk Located at most stations. In smaller stations the Kiosk also sells the train tickets. They sell drinks cold and warm and snacks. 

DeBROODZAK  sandwiches/bakery/coffee 

SMULLERS Fast food - perfect for chips and mayo and it has an awesome wall vending machine for hot food!

JULIAS By far my favourite shop at the station and the best coffee and best service at the train stations. If you are peekish they have awesome sandwiches and pasta too.

GWK Travelex offer banking facilities at the bigger stations - offer money withdrawal using credit card, cheque or debit card seven days a week.  Advance ticket sales for major events.

HEMA  They sell snacks, ear phones, last minute gift ideas (stroopwaffles) to get an idea of what type of shop Hema is see their blog here

AHtoGo  Albert Heijn is a big supermarket chain in the netherlands- this to go version offers the basic as well as coffee and freshly baked goods.

RITUALS cosmetics and nice spa items- makes a great last minute gift shop.Their motto: ' We believe happiness can be found in the smallest of things. It is our passion to transform your everyday routines into more meaningful moments'. 


You can also typically find:
  • Starbucks
  • Burger King
  • Flower Shop


Luggage Lockers / Bag Storage



luggage lockers holland train stationThere are a few ways to store your bags when railing the trails around The Netherlands. The first and most convenient are the luggage lockers (bagagekluizen in Dutch) at the train station. These are at all the large train stations (Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague, Eindhoven etc). They are really easy to use and apparently secure. I say apparently because if anyone tries to break in they emit a very loud siren. How do I know this- well one day while trying to force my stuck locker open I managed to set it off- although many onlookers gave me the evil eye and it was quiet embarrassing- no security came to my aid....so ‘secure’ but not 100% secure! You can recognise them by the suitcase pictogram. Although the prices are not really bad if you are on a budget its better to just travel light then having to depend on luggage lockers.
Luggage Lockers at train station Amsterdam


Luggage Lockers Prices:
  • Small locker: €3.85/24 hours.
  • Large locker: €5.70/24 hours.
  • 24-48 hours: add 50%. This will be paid at pick up. 
  • 48-72 hours: add 100%. This will be paid at pick up
  •  Lost ticket claim €10.00. *Maxinium storage is 72 hours.  If luggage has to be removed a fee of €70.00 will apply and your luggage will be removed to a Lost Property Office in Utrecht.



   How do They Work
1. The first important thing to remember is that they only accept card payments (Pin, Chip, Maestro, Visa or Mastercard). You have to make the payment is in advance and they payment is for the 24 hour rental period.

2. Choose a locker and put in all your bags. There are typically small (
90cm deep, 45cm high and 40cm wide. ) and large (90cm deep, 60cm high and 40cm wide.) options. Close the door and go to the ticket vending machine terminal beside the lockers.
 

3. On the screen you will see your locker number and they will await payment.

4. Once payment is made the locker will lock and you will receive a card with a bar code printed on it. Be sure you have a card with a bar code- if the payment is not accepted you will get a card with no bar code this is just a receipt of a non payment transaction.  When you return you simply need to scan the bar code on the bar code reader and your locker will automatically open.

5. Be careful to choose the correct luggage to store before payment. If you wish to open it after you have paid you will need to rent a full new 24 hours and pay again

6. The main rail company in Holland NS have made a video showing how this works- you can find it here. It is in Dutch but its pretty slef explanatrory

Other Options

You can leave luggage at the airport when you arrive.  
Schiphol Airport: Offers various sized lockers they can be found on lower level between the arrival halls. They also have a bag drop off service. Prices start at €6 and all the details of price, size and storage times can be found on this page of the airport information. 

Eindhoven Airport:
Luggage storage lockers are available in the main hall of Eindhoven Airport, near check-in desk 1.This is near the AKO bookstore.They cost €6 per 24 hours. Euro Coins only! You start by paying €1 and you can pay rest upon return. 

If you arrive at a smaller station that does not have luggage locker wall then  you can still store your luggage in a depot typically located near or in the bike shop/bike rental point. The fees are generally €5/day. These have been replcaed by the luggage locker walls so it is not always possible- but at smaller stations worth asking!

Typically hotels/hostels will have no problem storing your luggage for you if you have stayed there for the night- you can even try asking/calling an hotel you are not staying in and offering to pay - worth a try!

When traveling in the UK I used to take my bag to the nearest free museum/gallery and store my bags there as if I was a visitor- this really only works if you are just looking for a place for a few hours.

There are offices near Amsterdam central station called 'Drop & Go'. They offer storage and you can even use their outlets to charge your devices print a boarding pass weigh your bags or pick up keys- awesome idea! 

If anyone else thinks of storge options or knows more about the availability at bike rental points please be sure to leave a comment. 

railthetrails


FAQ when using the OV-Chipcard

The OV-Chipcard sound easy but there are certain times you may ask yourself the following questions: 

What if I have to change trains on my journey?

As long as you are traveling with one transport company then this is not a problem. For example: If you are travelling from Amsterdam to The Hague (Den Haag) you may have to change trains in Leiden. For a journey like this you simply check in at Amsterdam. When you arrive in Leiden simply change trains and only when you reach your destination station (The Hague) do you check out. It is the same even if you have 3 or 4 changeovers. As long as you are travelling with all NS trains you check in at your start destination and check out at your last destination

What if I change transport type/company during my journey?

Remember that the OV-chipcard is a public transport card. There are many other companies besides the NS train company who participate in this transport card. In fact there are 19 public transport companies operating through Holland - for example Arriva and Synus trains as well as metro lines and buses such as connexxion.  If you wish to transfer your journey to the tram or bus (or another train company) you must check out first then check in again when boarding the bus/tram. At the end of your trip you check out again. 

What if you check in twice by mistake?

Don't worry there is a built in fail safe! Once you check in your card can not be read again by the scanner for 100 seconds. This means it is not possible to check in twice by mistake. So once you check in it is not possible to check in (or out) again at the same card reader for the next 100 seconds.

What if I check in but then decide not to travel?

So you are at the station you check in and then you decide (for whatever reason) not to take the train after all? Just wait for 2 minutes (or 100 seconds precisely!) and check out. Don't worry you will not be charged as long as you checkout within 20- 60 minutes at the same station. 

What if I forget to check out?

This must happen a lot.  The good news is that you can check out up to 6 hours after your journey has been completed. So if you forget you can always go back to the station and check out! The bad news is if you forget to check out you will be charged the full train boarding fee.  The best thing to do is to contact the customer service of the rail company you traveled with (for example NS: 030 - 7515155 -Monday to Friday 08:00-22:00 and Saturday 09:00-17:00). They can help you apply for a refund.

What if I am collecting someone at station or wish to drop someone off at the station- Will I have access to the station without a chipcard?
Only if you have a OV-chipcard with credit! You can check in with your card- and as long as you check out again 20-60 minutes after you will not be charged. When you check in you will then pay the boarding fare (€10-20 depending on the type of card you have). If you check out again within 20 minutes, you will not be charged. Your full boarding fare will be returned to your OV-Chipcard (some train companies such as Veolia may not return the full amount I am checking into this now and will update as soon as I get an answer from the company). 

If there are any other questions you have simply ask in the comment box below and I can add an update. The website of OV-Chipcard answers most of the common questions