Basel / Bâle to Amsterdam by train

How to take the direct trains from Switzerland to The Netherlands

There are now two options for taking a direct train from Basel to The Netherlands

  1. Ride a sleek German ICE train on a journey from north-west Switzerland to Amsterdam via Arnhem and Utrecht.
  2. Taking the new overnight service which conveys sleeping cabins and couchettes.


Option 1: travelling by day

Travel Information

Final Destination: Amsterdam Centraal/Amsterdam CS

This train also calls at: Arnhem and Utrecht

Departing from Basel:

This is the only direct daytime train service between Switzerland and The Netherlands and it is usually scheduled to depart from Basel Bad Bf station at around 15:20.
Though due to the length of the journey, this train is particularly vulnerable to having its schedule altered due to works on the line, especially at weekends.

It also usually commences its journey at Basel SBB station at around 15:15.

1 x train per day


Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 6 months ahead of the travel date

Finding this 1 x direct train of the day when booking online can be tricky; there will also be a plethora of alternative journeys available, all of which involve making a connection.
So look for the journey usually departs from Basel Bad Bf station at around 15:30.

Choosing your departure station:

This train commences its journey at Basel SBB station and then calls at Basel Bad Bf.
So use Basel Bad Bf as the 'from' station when looking up tickets for this train; they can be much cheaper than  journeys from Basel SBB.

A choice of tickets on the DB website

Three types of tickets are always available: Sparpreis and Super Sparpreis and Flexpreis.

A key difference between these types of tickets is refunds:

  • Super Sparpreis tickets are cheapest, but they can't be refunded at all.
  • Sparpreis tickets can be refunded for a fee, but the refund will be in the form of travel vouchers to be used for alternative / future journeys.
  • Flexpreis tickets can be refunded at no additional charge.

The other key difference is that both types of Sparpreis tickets are only valid on the specific departures selected when booking, but the Flexpreis tickets live up to their name, as they can be used on any departure on your travel date.

Note that none of the tickets can be exchanged to a different departure.
There's no need for this to be available for Flexpreis tickets, as they aren't train departure specific.
If you book a Sparpreis ticket and want to travel by a different departure you can refund it and then use the travel voucher towards the cost of the new booking.
Super Sparpreis tickets can't be exchanged or refunded.

Seat reservations

Seat reservations are optional on ICE trains on this route - take note if you will be using a rail pass.
They cost €4.90 when travelling in 2nd Class and €5.90 when travelling in 1st class.
They are included within the cost of booking 1st class Flexpreis tickets and both 1st and 2nd class Flexpreis Plus tickets.
Specific seats can be selected from seating plans - you don't have to accept the seat(s) that you will be automatically offered.

When booking Super Sparpreis, Sparpreis and 2nd class Flexpreis tickets, you have the option of purchasing seat reservations later.
It can be worth re-looking up a journey a week or two ahead of travel, because the DB website will indicate how busy a departure will be.
Although if you do book your reservations later and your journey involves more than one train, you will then have to pay for separate reservations per train.

Booking on the DB website

You can find this direct trains more easily by making a proactive selection of 'Direct Trains Only'.
Or to see all the combinations of trains and journey options, some of which may be cheaper, take off the 'fastest connections' default.

The alternative route via Paris:

If the limited numbers of discounted tickets for this direct train have sold out, travelling via Paris can be the cheaper option - on a combination of Lyria trains from Basel to Paris and then by Thalys train from Paris to Amsterdam.

However, there are two points to be aware of:
(1) the journey via Paris involves a transfer across the city between two Paris stations (the ticket price won't include the transfer),
(2) the trains to Paris depart from Basel SBB and not Basel Bad Bf.

So if the discounted tickets for the direct train have sold out; then search again, changing the 'from' station to 'Basel SBB', or use the non-station specific city name.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
DB Bahn *

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.

NS Intl *

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.

Happy rail *

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.

Omio *

Omio Guide

Omio is an online ticket agency which offers tickets for rail journeys in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain.

The three key advantages of using Omio are

  • it offers prices in multiple currencies
  • it usually offers price comparison with other modes of travel including flights and buses
  • when visiting Europe, you can book journeys in multiple countries in one transaction.

The disadvantage of booking with Omio is that it often adds a booking fee to the final price; therefore when it does so without offering a price advantage, SMTJ doesn't tend to offer Omio as a booking option.

Save A Train *

Save A Train Guide

On this journey

Journey Features

High Speed (partial journey)

Good to Know

On departure from Basel the part of train heading to Amsterdam is usually joined to another train that will be heading to Dortmund.
If you only see 'Dortmund' on the departure screens, then it's likely that the info will ALSO apply to this Amsterdam train.

The train journey from Basel to Amsterdam:

This journey has three distinct phases:

(1) From Basel to Frankfurt Flughafen, this is a fairy typical German express train journey, though the train will be on a higher speed line from Offenburg to Karlsruhe.

(2) Between Frankfurt and Siegburg/Bonn, to the south of Koln, the train will be travelling at around 280 km/h on Germany's fastest high speed lines; so this part of the journey has a wow factor.

(3) Between Koln and Amsterdam it is the many towns that the train passes through which add interest, as the train will unsurprisingly travelling across a flat landscape.

Option 2: travelling overnight

Travel Information

Final Destination: Amsterdam

The train also calls at: Arnhem (07:51), connect for Nijmegen; and Utrecht (08:33), connect for Rotterdam.

The train is usually scheduled to depart from Basel SBB station at 23:13 and from Basel Bad bf at 23:23 and arrive in Amsterdam Centraal at 09:14.

If your journey is commencing in Basel city , heading to the German 'Bad bf' station in the city will typically be both faster and cheaper.
Though before calling at Basel Bad bf, train will also call at the main Swiss station in the city, Basel SBB; join the train at Basel SBB if you will be connections from other destinations in Switzerland; or the EC train from Milano, which typically has a 25 min connection into this train

1 x train per night


Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 6 months ahead of the travel date

The train conveys:

  • Compartment Seats (Sitzwagen)
  • Couchettes (Liegewagen); 4 berths AND 6 berthsm
  • Standard sleeping cars (Schlafwagen) with 3 bed, 2 bed and 1 cabins
  • Deluxe sleeping cars with showers (Schlafwagen) with 3 bed, 2 bed and 1 cabins

The first price you will see on the OBB ticketing site will be for the compartment seats.

Click the train details below for more info including the rail pass reservation fees:

Rail pass users must reserve before boarding these trains,

You can now book rail pass reservations without paying booking fees on the OBB website (OBB operates these trains).Though the process for doing so isn't particularly obvious, hence this step-by-step guide.
By booking online you can avoid the booking fees which will be payable at the station in Switzerland.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost

OBB Guide

OBB is the national rail operator and its booking service offers journeys by express trains within Austria, as well as international journeys which don't involve making a connection outside of Austria.

It pays off to book online, as the discounted 'Sparscheine' tickets are only ever made available on the website, and when making international journeys to and from Austria, these Sparscheine tickets tend to be cheaper.
OBB can offer particularly good value for money when travelling with children on international rail journeys, but something to watch out for when travelling between Austria and Germany on daytime trains, is that reservations are an optional extra; but if you book 1st class tickets with the Germany railways website DB, the reservations are complimentary.

OBB often takes a unique approach to its booking path, but a key thing to keep in mind is that the first price you will see for any journey is that of a Second Class seat.
The costs of upgrading to first class, a reservation, or a sleeping cabin etc, is then added to this price.

DB *

DB 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.

On journeys within Germany and on most international journeys from and to Germany on trains operated by DB:

  • For journeys by the express trains, EC. IC and ICE trains an adult (on German railways an adult is a person aged 15 and over) can take up to four children aged 6 - 14 with them at no additional charge.
  • Tickets need to be booked for children aged 0 - 5, but there is no charge for them.
  • Those aged 65 and over can take journeys at a discounted rate.
  • Dogs, which are too large to be placed in pet carriers, require tickets which cost 50% of the adult rate.

When booking both types of the discounted 'Sparpreis' tickets seat reservations are an optional extra, so need to be added when booking if you want an assigned seat(s).


SBB Guide

SBB is the main national rail operator in Switzerland, but tickets for journeys by the other significant operators including BLS and SOB can be be booked on the SBB website.

SBB also sells tickets for journeys to many destinations which involve a combination of SBB trains and services provided by the many independent operators who serve the Alpine resort towns.
However, if you will be making a long-distance return day trip, look out for he possibility of SaverDay passes being cheaper than tickets.

Though if you download the SBB app, booking tickets on SBB's mobile services can be simper than using the website.
Also watch out for the fact that booking international tickets can be comparatively quirky.

On this journey

Journey Features


Good to Know

This train is in effect two trains combined into one departure:

  1. A Nightjet train which conveys the sleeping cabins and couchettes
  2. An EC train, which uses the same types of coaches as those used on daytime services
    When booking tickets if you want to sit in a seat(s) choose the EC options.
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