The OV-chipkaart is the official payment method for public transport in the Netherlands and a must for anyone living here. You can use it for buses and trams in The Hague (HTM), as well as for train travel throughout the Netherlands (NS).
It is fully electronic, so you no longer need to think about paper tickets. Simply load credit onto the card or add a ‘travel product’, such as a single journey, a monthly pass for commuting or a season ticket.
Creating an OV Account
Creating an OV account is super simple and easy to do. Simply follow the signup instructions on the OV website.
You do not have to commit to buying a card instantly, so take your time to consider which type of OV card is best for your needs.
Different Types of OV Chipkaarten
There is a selection of different OV Cards, depending on what you need.
Personal OV Chipkaart
- If you use public transport often, then the personal OV-chipkaart is best suited for you. With a personal OV Chipkaart you can add several travel products at the same time, such as free student discount, easily top up your credit on the website and if you should lose your card it can easily be returned to you.
- The anonymous card is not linked to an individual as the personal one is. This means that you cannot add any travel products onto the card.. The anonymous card can be used by more than one person, though not at the same time. This card is recommended more for tourists, rather than for residents of The Hague.
- It is also possible to purchase a single-use card that is valid for a set number of hours or days. This is however usually significantly more expensive than using an OV Chipkaart.
Public transport is quite expensive in the Netherlands, but there are some discounts that all students can take advantage of and save some money:
- NS Flex is a flexible subscription which allows you to travel on all kinds of public transport, so you can take the train, bus, metro or tram whenever you want, without having to always top up your OV card.
- No balance: Carefree checking in and out
- “Clear-cut” bill at the end of the month, only for the travel you took.
- Easy to switch to 1st Class seating
- Available with, or without a Season Ticket
- One-off 10€ subscription fee + Monthly cost of travel you took
- This is a 40% discount for travel with NS Rail
- Valid on weekdays (off-peak hours; Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.), weekends (Friday evening 6.30 pm to Monday morning 6.30 am.) and public holidays (all day)
- 40% for 3 fellow travellers also valid with other train operators and on Dutch routes of Intercity Berlin and ICE International.
- Only requires 10€ balance to check in
- 56€ a year (or 5€ a month)
Dutch students automatically receive free public transport from the government as a part of the so-called "Studiefinanciering" offered by the Education Executive Agency (DUO). It is possible to apply for student financing as an international student, however there are certain eligibility criteria.
To be eligible for free transport you must:
- Be a Dutch national or you have a residence permit type II, III, IV or V.
- Have a DigiID
- Have a personal OV-Chipkaart
- Be enrolled at University