First it was only France, then came Germany, Italy and later on Spain. Now we’ve added the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg – also known as Benelux! – for which we previously could only offer a handful of routes. So now we’re excited to announce that we cover all three countries and have a whole new range of destinations on offer.
The strength of a union
Situated between the north of France and the west of western Germany, you’ll find “Be” “Ne” “Lux”. It’s a region that finds its name from the three distinct countries that it is made up of: Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. It is these three countries that formed an economic union at the end of World War II, to join forces against their larger neighbours. And from this Benelux was born.
Harmonising rail travel
Although its purposes are primarily economic, the union also helped to make the sale of Dutch, Belgian and Luxembourgish train tickets easier. It allowed Benelux to be crossed by train as if it were a single territory. By adding Benelux to our network coverage, we’re not simply adding a single new country – but instead three. So this means that we’ve been able to include three entire new rail networks to our platform.
Heading to Benelux
As the capital of the low lands, Brussels represents the political heart of Europe and may have once had a reputation for being stuffy or bureaucratic. Yet in fact, Brussels is gaining a reputation as one of Europe’s must-visit cities, with its great nightlife and fantastic shopping as well as its well known beer and chocolate!
Travel to Brussels by train:
- From France: Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Lille;
- From the UK: London;
- From Germany: Cologne;
- From The Netherlands: Amsterdam.
Although Amsterdam is largely known for being liberal in every sense of the word, it is a city that encapsulates the true spirit of a global metropolitan village. It is lively, innovative and vibrant enough to be considered a world city, yet its quaint houses, historical architecture and never-ending canals all ensure that Amsterdam keeps its down-to-earth vibe. It is a remarkable city that has something to offer for all – as long as you don’t get in the way of the bikes!
Travel to Amsterdam by train:
Nestled in between France, Belgium and Germany, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg enjoys a central position in Western Europe, which means this tiny country is able to shine in the financial sector. It also offers a beautiful scenic railway network. The Grand Duchy can readily be crossed by train: to get to the North, just get off at front of the train. To reach the south of Luxembourg, just exit the train at the rear. The capital of this eponymous country, the city of Luxembourg, is certainly worth seeing, if only to enjoy its walled city – an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Head to Luxembourg by train:
Elsewhere in Benelux
These new tickets give you the opportunity to discover the lesser-known parts of Benelux. In Belgium, feel free to take a trip to Antwerp, Bruges or Liege. In the Netherlands, we let you discover Utrecht, The Hague, Gouda or Maastricht. Now that we can offer you tickets to all of these places, it would be a shame to miss out!
Taking the train in the Benelux
Thanks to Mick’s work, you can now book tickets to travel all throughout the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. This makes up a rail network of almost 7000 km in tracks.
Ticket prices and fares
For the Benelux, the ticket prices depends primarily on the length of your journey. The more distance that you cover – the more you pay. For example, here are some of the costs of an adult priced fare:
|Brussels – Bruges||€14.30||€22.00|
|Amsterdam – Haarlem||€5.20||€8,20|
|Eindhoven – Liège||€23.00||€37.70|
|Rotterdam – Antwerpen||€22.60||€36.40|
|Luxembourg – Gand||€45.00||€63.80|
When to book
Contrary to the practice for French, German, Spanish or Italian train tickets, the price of tickets for trains in the Benelux doesn’t depend on when you book. Instead, you will pay the exact same fare regardless of whether you book well in advance or on the day of travel. So the date of booking doesn’t really matter or influence your tickets.
No seat reservations
Unlike tickets for TGV trains or (the optional) seat reservations for Deutsche Bahn trains, there are no seat reservations given for tickets for any of the Benelux trains. This is much like the regional trains in France (TER), Italy, Germany and Spain. So when you receive your ticket, there is no seat number specified and instead you are free to pick your own seats on board, within your booked travel class.
If you have a Trainline account, you might already know that you can pre-book your tickets by adding them to your cart – if this is permitted by the rail operator. By pre-booking tickets, you can guarantee and secure the price of your ticket and your seat reservations for a certain amount of time. This can range between 30 minutes to more than a week. There’s no obligation to pay and instead the reservation just deletes itself if it isn’t purchased before it expires.
You can do the same with any of your booked Benelux tickets. Yet the pre-booking time unfortunately isn’t as generous as with other tickets – you generally have a few hours before the reservation expires. So think well about your decision, but not too long 😉
Train tickets for the Benelux
All of the train tickets that we sell for the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg are nominative e-tickets. This means that they are tied to the travelling passengers named and can’t be used by or sold to someone else. The e-ticket must be printed on A4 paper. Displaying the ticket on a phone unfortunately does not suffice – the ticket must be printed.
Refunding or exchanging E-tickets
The E-tickets are non-exchangeable. This simply means that if you wish to exchange your ticket (e.g. change the date or the destination), you can cancel the ticket and then purchase a new one. You can easily and quickly cancel your tickets on our website or with our apps. The ticket counters in Belgium, Holland or Luxembourg unfortunately cannot modify a ticket that has been purchased through us. Though send them our best railway greetings in any case.
Like all rail operators, the Benelux operators offer many fares. To make things as simple as possible, we sell two specific fares: Domestic and Standard. Their conditions are very similar, regardless of whether you’re travelling in Belgium, the Netherlands or Luxembourg.
In general, the tickets:
- cannot be exchanged
- can be cancelled (for a fee of €5 or €15).
Conditions for the Domestic and Standard fares
In Belgium, the fare is called Domestic. The Dutch and Luxembourgish have chosen to call it Standard. Although a difference in the name – they are both the same thing. These tickets are not exchangeable. They are refundable before departure. Either for a fee of €15 if cancelled on the day of departure or for a fee of €5 if cancelled before the midnight of departure.
Travel with your bike
If you’d like to travel within Benelux with a bike, then it’s super easy! First book a ticket online and then you can later buy a ticket for your bike at any ticket counter or ticket machine. Unlike SNCF trains, we do not sell bike tickets on our site for Benelux trains.
Here are the prices of bicycle spaces on trains in the Benelux:
- €5.00 for a one-way ticket;
- €8 for an unlimited number of journeys in a single day;
- for free if you have a folding bike.