The Netherlands have an excellent public transport system. You can get almost everywhere by train, bus or tram. All you need is an OV-chipkaart. When it comes to getting around in Leiden it might be worth to consider buying a (secondhand) bike. Do you prefer travelling by car? You will find more on rules and regulations on driving a car in The Netherlands on this page.
Travelling by public transport
The public transport system in the Netherlands is excellent. No matter where you want to go, you can get there by train, bus, tram or metro. You can find more information on fares and the Dutch public transport system on 9292.nl.
When you travel by public transport you will need an OV-chipkaart. This is a smart card that can be used for all Dutch public transport services. When using a bus, tram, metro or train, you hold your OV-chipkaart in front of the ticket reader to check in. You do the same when you get off to check out. When you travel by train you are required to have at least €20,- worth of credit on your card. There are three types of OV-chipkaart:
- Personal OV-chipkaart
You can buy this one online. It can only be used by you and it can be charged with credit automatically. The personal OV-chipkaart costs €7,50.
- Anonymous OV-chipkaart
You can share this card with others. You can buy it at public transport service desks, from ticket vending machines in stations, at tobacco shops and in several supermarkets. The anonymous OV-chipkaart costs €7,50.
- Disposable OV-chipkaart
You can only use this card once and you cannot charge credit on it. You can buy the disposable OV-chipkaart from ticket vending machines.
You can find more information on the different types of cards and how to use the OV-chipkaart on 9292.nl.
Travelling by bicycle
The Netherlands are sometimes considered as a cyclist's heaven. All Dutch people have a bike. The flat terrain is ideal for cyclists and there is a continuous network of cycle paths (fietspaden) throughout the country. If you want to get around easily in the Netherlands and especially Leiden, consider buying a bike. Just make sure to buy a good bike lock as well. Dutch bicycles are popular among thieves. You can find more information on traffic rules and regulation for cyclists in the Netherlands on www.holland-cycling.com.
Travelling by car
If you want to drive a car in the Netherlands, there are a few things to bear in mind:
You need a valid driving licenseAn EU driving licence is valid for up to 10 years in the Netherlands. If your driving licence is issued by a country from outside the EU it is valid for up to 185 days. After that period you can trade in your foreign driving licence for a Dutch one at the municipality where you are registered. You can find more information on Dutch driving licenses on www.rdw.nl. Driving without a valid licence can result in a fine.
You need insuranceIf you own a car you are required to insure it. The cost of your insurance will depend on the type of car you drive and your driving history.
Your car is required to undergo an APK inspectionThe Periodic Technical Inspection (PTI, Dutch APK) is compulsory in Europe. If you own a car the RDW will sent you a notification when your car is due for inspection.
You need to pay Motor Vehicle TaxAs soon as you have registered a car on your name you need to pay Motor Vehicle Tax. The amount you need to pay depends on the weight and age of your car and the type of fuel. You can find more information on the website of the Belastingdienst.
Be informed about traffic rulesMake sure to stick to the rules. The Dutch government has issued a leaflet about “Road traffic signs and regulations in the Netherlands”. Be very careful with the cycling traffic: 'Strict Liability' is supported by Dutch law, which means that the driver's insurance is deemed responsible in a collision between a car and a cyclist.