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anonymous OV Chipkaart

My son and I will be in the Netherlands for 9 days visiting universities in 3 cities--Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Maastricht...would purchasing an OV Chipkaart for each of us make the most sense since we will be traveling around the country, or is it more economical to just buy passes as we go? Thanks for any assistance with this!! Tammy

Posted by
11280 posts

The Anonymous OV Chipkaart worked well for me when I was in the Netherlands in April 2012. I stayed 4 nights in Amsterdam, 2 nights in Utrecht, and 4 nights in Delft, and took daytrips to Leiden, Keukenhof, the Hague, and Rotterdam. I took transit within some of the cities, too. It was great to be able to just tap my card everywhere, without having to buy new tickets each time. One thing to be aware of; as a visitor without a chip and pin card or a Dutch bank account, the only practical way to refill the card is with cash at a rail ticket window. However, unlike buying actual rail tickets, there's no penalty for doing this (in other words, a €20 rail ticket costs €20.50 when bought at a window, but to put €20 of credit on your card, it costs €20).

The value question is tricky to figure out, isn't it? The card costs €7.50, and then you load it with credit. The local transit fares are then calculated to the penny, and are about half (or even less) the fares of single tickets. You have to have at least €4 of credit on the card to use it for city transit. It can also be used for trains between cities. In that case, you must have at least €20 of credit on the card. In addition, you can get a refund at the end of the trip, but not the full amount (I forget the details), so I just saved mine for a future trip (it's good for something like 8 years).

So, just for convenience, it may work for you. On the other hand, Utrecht and Maastricht are small, and you may not be taking much local transit (I walked everywhere in Maastricht, and I think I took 2 buses in Utrecht). So, if you don't get the card, you may do well just getting a pass for your days in Amsterdam, and walking in the other cities.

Posted by
2828 posts

For 10 days, it is a good choice to buy 2 OV-Chipkaarts for yourselves, and be done with it.

The cars allow you also to easily use local public transportation on each city, not only the trains. So it makes travel very easy. Utrecht uni. has some buildings scattered on the old town, where you could walk to from the main station, but it also has two big campuses on the outskirts of the city where using buses make sense. Most Maastricht uni. buildings are on the other side of the river from the station, except the medical center which has a train station nearby. Amsterdam has 3 campuses of 2 major universities + more scattered buildings.

OV-Chipkaart makes it cheaper to use buses/trams than single-ride tickets.

You can plan all your trips on

Posted by
76 posts

Hey, I'm leaving in a week. I was just going to buy paper tickets for the trains, but I have an OV-chipkaart from my 2011 chip with €15 left on it, I was just going to use for my trams and busses.

So, here's my question. If I use my OV-chipkaart for trains and when I get off the train and checkout there isn't enough money on my card, what happens? I know the personal cards are linked to bank accounts, but not the anonymous ones.

And how does that chipkaart work if I'm traveling internationally from Arnhem to Brussels? (through Roosendaal)

And does that make my trip more expensive when I get off the train in 's-Hertogenbosch to visit friends?

Posted by
76 posts

First, 2014 - 2011 = 3. Since the card is good for 5 years, it had better not be expired.

Also, there are trains that run from Arnham to 's-Hertogenbosch, and also trains from 's-Hertogenbosch to Roosendaal, so your answer makes no sense.