This step by step guide shows how to use the NS International website, to buy tickets for international train journeys to/from The Netherlands
NS International, is the website managed by Dutch national rail operator NS, which lives up to its name by specialising in selling tickets for train journeys to and from The Netherlands.
This ticket booking website has taken a unique and streamlined approach to its online ticket booking process, which is ideal if you are a regular user.
However, first time users should take time to absorb all the information that's presented and make any necessary adjustments to a booking.
In order to streamline the booking process for an individual, the booking screens on NS International are set up so that the default options when you look up a journey are:
So if you want to:
The only language options on NS International are Dutch and English.
All the screens below are taken from the English language version.
The unique approach that NS International takes to train ticket booking is evident on its home page; though what has changed lately is that you now select both a starting point AND a destination.
Though a common feature still missing from the home page is the opportunity to add your travel dates at this stage of the booking process; as shown below that comes later.
What also comes later is the option to book a return journey.
NS International used to only use the Dutch spelling of cities and stations on its search engine, even when using the English language version, but English can now be used.
Though note that you seemingly have to be proactive and make the switch to English.
2a: CHOOSING A JOURNEY (dates of travel)
As there is no opportunity to enter a travel date on the home page - this SECOND stage of the booking process on NS International, is where you choose a travel date.
If your travel date is fixed you can click on it.
Click on the row of months towards the top of the screen, if you want to book further ahead than the two months initially presented.
Finding the cheapest tickets:
However, as can be seen above, the dates underlined in yellow are the dates on which the cheapest possible (2nd class) prices are available.
Though not necessarily on all departures on each particular day - and also perhaps not on direct trains either.
If you initially don't see any yellow lines, you may need to select different months further ahead, in order to see on which future dates the cheapest possible tickets are available.
Though the cheapest price may only be available on journeys which involve a change of train.
Also note that the prices shown are for a one way (single) journey - the opportunity to ALSO add a return (two way) journey is available at the NEXT STAGE of the booking process.
Also available at the next stage of the booking process is the opportunity to select the departure time.
2b: CHOOSING A JOURNEY (time of travel)
When you have selected a travel date, you will access the journey details page, on which only the first six departures of the morning/afternoon/day will be shown.
What's been pointed out above is:
It isn't possible to select only direct trains when looking up a journey on NS International, but if they are an option on a route, they stand out on the departures list.
On a PC once, you've select a departure, its booking details will appear on the right; on mobile they will appear below.
What's worth looking out for is:
Selecting a ticket on NS International is a two-step process, because having selected your class of travel, you then have to scroll down to select a specific type of ticket.
The cheapest type of ticket will be pre-selected, but on the train services sold on NS International, the restrictions on using the cheapest tickets are more restrictive and may include that they can't be refunded.
Worth paying attention at this stage is:
NS International will sell journeys which include multiple connections within both The Netherlands and other countries;
So among other journeys it offers:
A journey from Amsterdam to Marseille has been looked up; and what's worth noting is:
Though the Route Details on NS International for journeys via Paris can be a tad misleading.
As NS International helpfully spells out, once you have selected a ticket, booking it is a 4-step process, the first of which is to check over what you're about to pay for.
Before clicking that 'Proceed to Payment' payment it can be worth pausing to take a look at how you can receive and use your ticket(s). Note that you typically won't have a choice of an alternative delivery method; and that some more specific info would be welcome, but what SMTJ has pointed out is:
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