Flag of the Netherlands

Railways in the

Netherlands

NS train passing a windmill
Class VIRM double-deck electric multiple unit of NS passing a typical Dutch windmill

The first public railway in the Netherlands was opened on 20th September, 1839, between Amsterdam (d’Eenhonderd Roe) and Haarlem, a distance of about 19km. It was built to the unusual broad gauge of 1945mm. The line was extended in stages to Rotterdam, which it reached in 1847. Another company opened a line using the same broad gauge from Amsterdam to Utrecht in 1843, extending to Arnhem in 1845. However, the latter line was converted to standard (1435mm) gauge in the 1850s to facilitate through running with the German railway network via Emmerich. The original Oude Lijn (Old Line) from Amsterdam to Rotterdam was converted to standard gauge in 1866.

In 1860 plans were put in place for a comprehensive national network, which would be built to standard gauge. The State railway company began operations in 1863. By the end of the First World War, it had taken responsibility for operation of most of the main line railways, until in 1938 they were merged to form a new State-owned company: Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS).

National Network

Regional Passenger Operators

Other Passenger Operators

Freight Railway and Main Line Freight Operators

Infrastructure Companies

Industrial Railway

Tourist and Museum Railways

Miniature Railways

Metros and Trams

Friesland

A separate page gives a listing of station names in Dutch and Frisian for this province of the Netherlands.

See also:

There are no railways on the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba

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Photo image supplied by NS