Stakingen in Frankrijk/Strikes in France

Give international train journeys wings

The train should be the first choice for shorter international journeys. That is better for the environment and the economy. We are getting there. Between 2010 and 2018, the number of international trains on offer increased from 38,000 to 48,000 seats per day. That equates to the capacity of 550 full Boeings 737 per day. How can we better connect European cities? Through intensive cooperation between railway companies, infrastructure managers and governments.


  • Towards Germany: the train from Amsterdam to Berlin in less than five hours, and the acceleration and expansion of ICE International towards Cologne, Frankfurt and Basel.
  • Towards England: a direct Eurostar connection to London and higher frequency on the Amsterdam - London route.
  • Towards Belgium and France: more seats a day and faster connections.

Efforts NS

We are doing our utmost to make international train traffic to and from the Netherlands more pleasant. Together with our international partners, we already offer various connections to the east, south and west. Train journeys to thousands of destinations can be booked directly. But we are more than just an online train travel agency. We look across borders. We seek to work with international partners to develop attractive travel products and make them accessible to travellers.

Action needed

A good example is AirRail. Together with partner rail carriers, KLM and Brussels Airlines, NS offers Intercity Brussels and Thalys the opportunity to book a train journey as part of an air journey. For example, the first part of a journey via Brussels to New York via Schiphol can be made by train, with one ticket and one booking. In 2017, 50,000 journeys were sold via AirRail, enough to fill two KLM Embraer 170 planes a day. Together with Deutsche Bahn (DB), we also intend to offer AirRail for German trains with destinations in the direction of Cologne and Frankfurt.


The EU wants to expand Europe's high-speed train network faster. A study is currently being carried out in Brussels on the tax advantages for air travel. By the end of 2018, conclusions and recommendations are expected on the distribution of taxes and ticket charges between rail and air traffic. In our country, train journeys are taxed with VAT and we pay infrastructure tax. Meanwhile, no VAT is levied on airline tickets and kerosene is not taxed. The Dutch authorities can help by creating a level playing field.