The NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) is the main passenger railway operator in the Netherlands. The infrastructure is managed and maintained by network manager ProRail, which became an independent organisation in 2003. NS serves 1.1 million travellers with its 4800 scheduled domestic trains per day. NS International, previously known as ‘NS Hispeed’, is the international subsidiary of NS, offering international rail services from the Netherlands to other European destinations. The name ‘NS Hispeed’ was changed in 2014 to ‘NS International’ in order to place more importance on the international offering, as opposed to the hispeed offering. NS international train tickets are available on-site.
The NS has two different types of trains, the Sprinter and the Intercity. Shorter domestic journeys are usually offered by the sprinter which also stops at every train station along the route. The intercity includes long-distance routes and only stops at major stations along the route. First and second class seating is indicated by the class number on the interior and exterior on the train. Other facilities that are offered in all trains include space for storing your bicycle, facilities for travellers such as travel assistance for those with a functional disability and travel information over the intercom. Most trains operated by the NS also offer free WiFi on the train. In order to make use of this, simply select ‘connections’ on your laptop or smartphone, choose ‘WiFi in the train and you’ll be online in a matter of seconds. At the moment, all intercity trains are also equipped with toilets however not all sprinters are. If you are travelling on a shorter domestic journey with a sprinter, you can use the toilets at the stations.
NS International ensures that travellers can travel to over 2700 destinations from any Dutch train station. High speed trains such as Thalys, Eurostar, ICE and TGV are used to allow travellers to travel to European destinations. Travellers can travel to Paris and Brussels with Thalys from various Dutch train stations such as Amsterdam Centraal, Rotterdam Centraal and Amsterdam schiphol. Eurostar does not depart directly from the Netherlands, however travellers can first take the Thalys or Intercity Brussels and change to the Eurostar high speed train to get to London. The ICE trains, that belong to Deutsche Bahn, take travellers to various destinations in Germany such as Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich. Finally, there are two Intercity trains that offer international connections. The intercity to Berlin departs six times a day from Amsterdam to Berlin and the intercity to Brussels departs from Amsterdam and Den Hague.
First class travellers can make use of the NS International Lounge, which are equipped with comfortable writing desks, WiFi, modern meeting rooms (for hire) and a free drink. There is also a reading table with national and international newspapers to keep travellers updated with the latest news. Travellers can find NS International Lounges at Amsterdam Centraal station (Platform 1), Rotterdam Centraal station (Platform 1) and Schiphol (Arrival Hall 4). Additional advantages for first class travellers travelling with NS International include: