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Haarlem to Groningen day trip by train or car?

Our family of 3 will have one full day prior to the start of our summer RS tour to travel from Haarlem to Groningen for a day trip to visit an ex-exchange student friend. We are planning to take the train....but I wondered whether we should consider driving? It looks like renting a car could be significantly cheaper than 3 round trip train tickets....but I'm not sure whether that would still be true once taxes, fees, and gas are factored in? Also, this is our first trip to the Netherlands, so I'm not sure how challenging driving and navigating this trip might be? I'm thinking the train might be the less stressful option, but wanted to get opinions from others who know more. Thanks!

Posted by
25571 posts

How do you like driving around Buffalo or Rochester? The highways in the Netherlands, particularly around the Randstad - between sort of Rotterdam and Amsterdam - are quite dense, complicated, and tightly packed with traffic that is sometimes quite slow. Fuel is some of the most expensive in already expensive Europe but distances are quite short.

It is about 2 hours each way if you have good traffic, about half an hour longer by train with a change in Amsterdam and a quick connection at Amersfoort.

It will depend on your preference.

Posted by
2828 posts

Nigel, there is no point in travelling to Groningen (from Haarlem or Amsterdam) via Amersfoort any longer, now that there is a faster new rail link via Lelystad-Zwolle (Hanzelijn).

Posted by
25571 posts

BTW - when you are Groningen if you have a little time left over there is an exceptional Resistance / Deportation museum there. When I was there all the exhibits were in only Dutch (and some Hebrew) but it is so well laid out and clear that in some cases labels are missable. And of course Dutch is so easy to understand anyway - just sound out the words and usually the meaning is pretty easy. The different thing about the museum is the way they make viewers think. You're not allowed to just stroll around. You see the events through people on both sides of the line and the middle and are challenged to think of consequences and make decisions, and how to live with the consequences of those decisions. An excellent museum, IMHO.

Posted by
468 posts

Hi Nigel -- thanks for the information on the museum -- it sounds fascinating! And I'm sure our Dutch friend would help translate for us! About how much time should we plan to spend there?

Posted by
25571 posts

a couple of hours should do it if you are involved, 90 minutes if not.