Never say never…as I did not expect to have the opportunity to work in another country. After spending almost a year working in the Netherlands recently…which was initially planned to be only 5 weeks… I would like to share some of my experiences.
Travel – the Dutch complain about their public transport system just as much as the British, but for me it was a great improvement to my regularly experience in the UK commuting into London.
They have OV pre-paid cards much like the London Oyster card, which can be used throughout the entire Dutch public transport system, trains, trams, metro(underground), buses – fantastic, top it up at the beginning of the week and your sorted for a week of travel.
The down side is that you pay the equivalent of approx. £7 for the OV card, which is not refundable and you must keep a min of approx. £15 on the card at all times otherwise you cannot travel. Which when compared to the London Oyster; refundable deposit on the card, min of £6 loaded on the card to travel. It is more expensive and makes the OV card less attractive. The Dutch also have a very confusing discount model for fares when using the OV vs cash for a ticket. Although I did not receive any discount when using my OV???
Fares are generally cheaper than the UK, approx. £9 one way for a 40-50mile journey.
Long distance (don’t stop at all stations) trains are double-deckers, with free WI-FI, with a good speed/capacity, for Facebook, Twitter and email etc…, although not quite good enough for streaming UK radio J.
All trains display full route information with timings for each station arrival, clearly showing any delays, when they occur, which is often a couple of mins here and there – nothing major. Due to the network format when engineering work takes place there is often an alternative route to take.
My experience of the buses, trams and metro was just as positive. All in all I would highly recommend public transport in the Netherlands!