The Netherlands has good train links to Germany and Belgium and on to France. All Eurail, Inter-Rail, Europass and Flexipass tickets are valid on the Dutch national train service, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (www.ns.nl). Major Dutch train stations have international ticket offices, and in peak periods it’s wise to reserve seats in advance. You can also buy tickets for local trains to Belgium and Germany at the normal ticket counters. For international train information, ring the Teleservice NS Internationaal on 09009296 (calls cost €0.35 per minute) or consult the website, www.nsinternational.nl. If you book ahead, NS charges a €3.50 reservation fee per ticket.
From Amsterdam, two main trains travel south. The first, an Intercity (IC), passes through Den Haag and Rotterdam and on to Antwerp (€28, 2¼ hours, hourly), Bruges (€39.40, 3½ hours, hourly), Brussels (€33.40, three hours, hourly) and Luxembourg City (€63.60, 6¼ hours, every one to two hours).
The German ICE high-speed service runs six times a day between Amsterdam and Cologne (€49.20, 2½ hours) and on to Frankfurt (€107, four hours); there’s a surcharge of €2 and €19 respectively. ‘Super Day Returns’ are available to Cologne for €58.50. There’s also a night train between Amsterdam and Munich (from €79) – expect fat surcharges for the sleeper berths. The IC to Berlin (€92.20, six hours, three daily) passes through Hanover.
Weekend return tickets are much cheaper than during the week. A weekend return Amsterdam–Brussels (departure Friday to Sunday, return by Monday) is 40% cheaper than a regular ticket.