An ICE train departs from Amsterdam Centraal for Frankfurt

Amsterdam to Köln / Cologne / Koeln by train

All that’s good to know about taking the train from Amsterdam to Cologne / Köln / Koeln

Fabulous state-of-the-art German ICE trains provide the super easy rail link between these two cities.



From Amsterdam Centraal / Amsterdam CS to Köln/Cologne Hbf

Travel Information

Final Destination: Frankfurt (Main) or Basel SBB

The trains also calls at: Utrecht, connect from Rotterdam and Arnhem connect from Nijmegen; and Dusseldorf

There has a been a major recent change on the Amsterdam to Köln/Cologne rail route, namely the trains which are heading on to Frankfurt (Main) are now calling at Köln Messe-Duetz station, instead of the city's main rail station Köln Hbf.
The only daytime train from Amsterdam to Köln Hbf is the daily train heading to Basel, which typically departs Amsterdam just after 08:00.

Making a connection between Koln Messe-Duetz and Koln hbf is fairly awkward, particularly if you'll have luggage etc, as the connection up to the trains on to Koln hbf isn't step-free.
So it's worth looking up the location of your final destination in the city, as transferring to the U-Bahn (Metro) at Messe-Deutz could be an easier option than trying to access Koln hbf.
All four U-Bahn lines from Messe-Deutz call at Neumarkt, while lines/routes 3 and 4 also go to Appelhofplatz and Friesenplatz; and lines/routes 1 and 7 also go to Rudolfplatz.

Monday to Saturday 6 x trains per day
Sunday 5 x trains
the usual first regular departure of the day does not operate on Sundays.


Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 6 months ahead of the travel date

When making an online booking, check that you’re looking at booking info for the direct trains.

Look for journeys times of around 2hr 45mins, a ‘0’ and only ‘ICE’ shown in the journey details

Trains departing at different times can be cheaper than others leaving on the same day, so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares.

(Trains can be diverted from the direct route, particularly at weekends, and when they are, the journey time will be longer).


Seat reservations are included when booking 1st class tickets.

However, if you book 2nd class tickets, or will be travelling with a 1st or 2nd class rail pass, reservations are optional - and these can be busy trains, particularly on Friday afternoons/evenings, Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
NS Intl from €19

NS Intl Guide

NS is the Dutch national rail operator and it operates a bespoke website for the booking of international rail journeys from and to The Netherlands.
Therefore it offers tickets for journeys by:

  • Thalys trains to Bruxelles and Paris
  • IC trains to Berlin via Hannover and Bruxelles via Antwerpen
  • Eurostar to London
  • ICE trains to Basel and Frankfurt (Main) via Koln
  • the Nightjet trains to Austria and Germany

NS International also sells tickets to a range of destinations in Austria, Czechia, Denmark, Italy and Switzerland, which involve a change of train in Germany, along with the destinations in France, which can be accessed by making a connection in Bruxelles.

DB Bahn from €19

DB Bahn Guide

DB is the national railway operator in Germany, so its website can be used for booking journeys by German express trains; the ICE and IC trains and it doesn't charge booking fees.
It also sells tickets for journeys by direct trains on all international routes from Germany regardless of whether DB is operating the train service.

It also sells an extensive range of end-to-end journeys which involve making connections both within Germany and in neighboring countries, but journeys between Germany and Britain cannot be booked on DB.

A key feature of DB website worth keeping mind is that it offers 1st class ticket purchasers complimentary seat reservations on journeys both within and to/from Germany.

Seat reservations for daytime in both 1st and 2nd class can also be booked separately from tickets.

Save A Train from €19

Save A Train Guide

Trainline from €19

Trainline Guide

Happy rail from €19

Happy rail Guide

Happy Rail is a Netherlands rail ticket agency which sells tickets for both national and international journeys within a range of countries including Belgium France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland.

HappyRail doesn't charge booking fees in the conventional sense, but if you're not Dutch you can expect to pay additional transaction fees, which will be added to the total cost.
That's because the most common form of online payment used in The Netherlands is 'iDEAL' and HappyRail doesn't charge a transaction fee for 'iDEAL' payments, but only Dutch residents can sign up to 'iDEAL'.
Other forms of payment include Visa debit cards will incur a fee.

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - NoHigh Speed (partial journey)

Good to Know

Note that Koeln is the Dutch spelling of Cologne, so this name for the city will be used on the train information screens at Amsterdam Centraal.

This is nearly always a stress-free journey, which showcases the best aspects of European international train travel.
The stations at both ends of the route have ideal city centre locations and the ICE 3 trains definitely have a wow factor!

Though what's a tad odd about this journey is that you'll be on board a train that's in the Top 5 on a 'fastest trains in Europe' list, but there's no high speed railway line between Amsterdam and Cologne.

So this route isn't particularly fast and it isn't going to wow scenery fans, but there's still lots to see as the train passes through numerous towns and cities.
And if you sit on the left, you'll see a typical Dutch canal between Amsterdam and Utrecht; so you can sit back and watch the boats go by.

Take the stress out of your journey Everything planned to your specification, so sit back and relax… Try Concierge

Please support ShowMeTheJourney

Help keep us advertising and paywall free!


This second version of ShowMeTheJourney is exciting and new, so we are genuinely thrilled that you are here and reading this, but we also need your help.

We’re striving not to let anything get in the way of providing the most useful service possible, hence a facility has been set up with DonorBox which can be used to support the running costs and make improvements.

Instead of advertising or paywalls, your financial support will make a positive difference to delivering an enhanced service, as there’s a lot of ideas which we want to make happen.

So if you have found the info provided here to be useful, please consider saying thank you.

See if there’s a unique journey guide for your trip, featuring info on the trains, tickets & stations.
Leaving From
Going To

This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.