Public transport

Transport basics

Do not be freaked out by transport in the Netherlands; it is actually really easy to find your way around. Internationally, there are a number of airports that are well connected by train to Groningen. These include Schiphol (Amsterdam airport), Airport Eelde, Rotterdam and Eindhoven. For shorter journeys you can use buses and trains. A bike is handy for travelling within Groningen. Thanks to Groningen’s small size you can get across most of the city in under half an hour and parking your bike is almost always free of charge. Some of you may have cars, which can come in handy for travelling. You should bear in mind, however, that it is very difficult to get around the city center by car, so a bike is probably a better option for everyday life.

Busses and trains


Most places within Groningen are easily accessible by bike but the bus is your best bet if you are commuting from Groingen’s outskirts. Trains are also a better option if you need to travel to another city or country. Although buses stop in nearby cities, they take significantly longer and may even be more expensive.

Bus lines to Zernike are: 1, 9 and 15. Bus lines to the UMCG are: 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7. Bus lines to the Grote Markt (central place in the city center): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. All start from central station. Unfortunately, there are no bus lines during the night, so you have to grab a cab if you crawl out a pub late at night.. You can plan your bustrip with 9292.



Groningen has three train stations: Groningen Centraal, Groningen Europapark, Groningen Noord / Station Noord. Trains leave from Station Noord to Central station at least twice an hour – same goes for the other way. There are two different train companies: Arriva and NS. Arriva trains mostly go to places in Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe. If you want to board a train to travel longer distances, for example if you decide to go to Amsterdam, you will have to take one of the trains provided by the national railroad company NS .

If you need more information on the routes of the different train lines and you want to see the network map of Groningen and surroundings, you can check this page.



The main way of paying for Dutch bus and train services is by holding an OV-chip card in front of the card reader at arrival and departure. If you forget your OV-chip card or you have not purchased one yet, then it is still possible to buy regular tickets (disposable OV-chip cards). For trains this can be done at an NS ticket machine in any station. The machines are easily recognizable by their large size and yellow colour. If you’re travelling by bus, you can buy paper tickets from the driver in cash or with debit card. Please take into account that paper tickets are almost always more expensive than paying for your travel with an OV-chip card.

Student OV-Card

The OV-chipkaart is your first step to mastering transport in the Netherlands. It was introduced in 2002 to replace paper tickets. Since 2014 NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) have stopped selling regular paper tickets at the station. Although you can buy regular bus tickets from the bus driver and disposable OV-chip cards for trains at the station, paper tickets are almost always more expensive than using your own OV chip card. Furthermore, owning an OV-chip card may allow you to take advantage of certain student benefits.

You can buy an OV-chip card online, at ticket machines or at a public transportation service desk. You can order a personal chip card online from the official site. If you are eligible for the student travel product, you need to couple your product with your OV-chip card. You can do this by visiting this site. After you have successfully linked your card, you can load your product on your chip card at a pick-up device and are ready to travel. You can learn more about the OV-chip card on the official website.

How to use!
In order to pay with your OV-chip card, you must first top-up your card with money. To ride the bus you need at least €4,- on your chip card. To ride the train it’s €20,- (or €10,- if you have the student travel product). This money functions as a kind of deposit. You can top up you chip card at the ticket machines at train stations or via the internet. Whenever you check-in on the bus or train, the corresponding deposit is withdrawn. Upon checking-out the deposit will be refunded and your ride billed. The deposit is a safety measure to prevent travellers from not checking out. Rates depend on the public transport provider you’re travelling with, but you always pay per kilometer. You can calculate the cost of your travel in advance on by planning your journey.
When using an OV-chip card you must check in and out. You do this upon departure (checking-in) and arrival (checking-out) by holding your OV-chip card in front of the card readers on the bus itself or at the train station. You must always check in and out, even if you are on your free travel period or changing operators as failing to do so might lead to fines or losing your credit. So if you are switching from a NS train to an Arriva Transport train, check out at NS and in at Arriva Transport. If you have forgotten to check out, you can fix this on the official OV-chip card website.

Benefits ov-chipcard
If you are studying in the Netherlands and are receiving studiefinanciering, you are eligible for the student travel product. This product enables you to travel for free or at a discounted rate with Dutch public transport. You can choose between free travel on weekdays or during the weekend. If you choose to travel for free during the weekdays you’ll also receive a discount during the weekend (and vice versa).  You must apply for a personal OV-chip card in order to use the student travel product. Click here to visit the official student travel product website or visit the website for more information.