The bicycle is an important means of transportation in The Netherlands. We have a good public transportation system with an efficient railway network.
In Holland cycling is part of daily life. The Dutch use their bicycles as means of transportation rather than just a recreational sport. The bike is used for, for example, shopping, going to the gym, going to University or to see your friends. The bicycle is without any doubt the most practical way of transportation to get around Utrecht’s busy city centre. We recommend that you buy a used bicycle that does not look too new or expensive, as bicycle theft is rather common. Buying a very good lock (or two) is a must.
Rent a bike/Swapfiets
Very populair and a good option instead of buying a bicyle is Swapfiets. For a fixed monthly fee you can get a bicycle. As long as you have an active subscription, they will maintain your Swapfiets bicycle and fix everything that is broken.
At secured bicycle-shelters, bicycles can be parked safely and cheaply. There are several in town, U-stal lists all locations, with maps (in Dutch: 'bewaakte stallingen').
Bicycles can also be rented at most railway stations.
The OV-bicycle is a system run by the Dutch railway (NS). It is a system of bicyles available at all stations in the Netherlands. You can rent a bicycle at any station for a fixed amount per day. You do this with your OV-chipcard. Read more.
Bus & Tram
You travel by bus, tram and subway in the Netherlands with an OV-chipcard. This is a card the size of a bankcard which you charge with credit in euros and you can then use for travel by train, bus or tram anywhere within the Netherlands. It works via a check-in/check-out system. You can choose between a personalised OV-chipcard or an anonymous one. Read more about purchase and use of the OV-chipcard.
If you are not a frequent traveller there is also the possibility to buy a single-use U-OV travel ticket, U-OV Day ticket in the bus or in the ticket vending machines at the tram-stops or at Utrecht Central Station. Please note that it is only possible to pay by pin (Maestro). Cash payment is not possible.
At the OV Service & Tickets stores located in the main hall of Utrecht Central Station (trains) it is also possible to buy a U-OV Day ticket or a Province Off-Peak Day ticket. For information on tickets please visit the U-OV website
Both city and regional buses depart from and arrive at the central (bus) station just outside and under Utrecht Central Station. A map of the bus platforms can be found here (in Dutch).
For more information on public transport in Utrecht please visit the U-OV website.
There is also one tram-route in Utrecht, with a frequent service between Utrecht Central Station and Nieuwegein and IJsselstein. The tram departs at the Jaarbeurs side of Utrecht Central station.
Please check U-OV (in Dutch) for discounts when you travel more requently with U-OV.
The train in the Netherlands is fast and easy and generally quite punctual. Many students travel by train. You can use your OV-chipcard or purchase a ticket at the trainstations from yellow ticket vending machines. You can pay with cash or an ATM bank card (maestro). You will find ticket windows only at major stations and you will pay a service fee for purchasing your ticket there. Buy a ticket and/or make sure you have enough balance on your OV-chipcard before boarding the train. You will always need to check-in your ticket or OV-chipcard before boarding the train.
Most Dutch students receive a public transportation pass as part of their student financing. International students are in some cases eligible for a public transportation pass and student financing. Please check Student Financing for more details.
ISIC continually promotes the interests of international students in the
Netherlands and will make sure the cardholders get the best possible
That is why ISIC created the ISIC/OV-chipkaart; a custom made mobility card for international students with lots of benefits. For more information about this card please visit ISIC.
Buying a bike
It is possible to buy a reliable recycled/ second-hand bicycle at Fietspunt Utrecht. They even offer a two month guarantee for bikes as of € 60,-. Fietspunt will also do repairs and maintenance, generally within 24 hours.
Another good location for bikes in the area is www.laagcatharijne.nl.
Alternatively you can buy a (second-hand) bike at a bicycle shop. Their prices will generally be higher.
General information for all public transport is available at telephonenumber 0900-9292 or www.9292ov.nl (select the English language in the upper right corner of the page).