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 Whenever you check-in on the bus or train, the corresponding deposit is withdrawn.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-chipkaart

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.

money saving options

Sometimes travelling with the OV-chip card is not the most cost-effective option especially if you plan on returning to Maastricht the same day. Often convenience stores like Kruidvat or Blokker offer cheap day passes for NS trains for around €17, -. However, stock usually doesn’t last long so you have to be quick. You can visit this website for an overview of different promotions or try the dedicated NS day pass Maastricht Facebook group.

Take a look at our page for other easy ways to save money when using Dutch public transport.

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