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I think it is time for me to clear some things up about traveling in Dutch treinen (trains, singular trein). In everyday speech, the Dutch also introduced the verb treinen (literally ‘training’) to describe traveling by train. So just the word treinen can mean trains or ‘training’/traveling by train.
To describe how treinen usually goes, I will write a little story about it.
Right now I trein. I just came from Maastricht and just went through Utrecht Centraal (short for Utrecht Centraal Station – Utrecht Central Station). I had to switch treinen, called overstappen. At Utrecht Centraal, I went to the Albert Heijn (big supermarket chain in the Netherlands) to get some avondeten (dinner).
Then I headed back to the stationshal (station area) and looked for my spoor (platform). I had to go to spoor 11. When my trein arrived, I walked to one of the deuren (doors) and stood aside to let all reizigers (travelers) leaving the trein go first – the first habit of the Dutch. When I entered the trein, I found a place in a stilte-coupé (silent compartment – where people should be silent, so others can work). A man (man) came after me and took the seat next to me. Here, people barely ever ask you if they can sit next to you – just out of beleefdheid (courtesy) – and just sit down. Also, even when you are not in a stilte-coupé, but in a normal coupé, people barely start a gesprek (conversation) with a reiziger they do not know. I have noticed that in other countries, such as Germany, this happens more. How is that in your culture?
Some facts about Dutch treinen (those most prevailing in the country, of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) (The Dutch Railways) you should know:
– All NS treinen are yellow – except for some special editions. One was for example when koningin (queen) Beatrix resigned and her son Willem-Alexander succeeded her;
– Most treinen use electricity – there are only a few left that use diesel to move forward;
– There are Intercity’s (Intercity trains – the quick ones) and stoptreinen (local trains – the slow ones that stop at everywhere). The NS version of stoptreinen is called Sprinter, and colloquially often used too;
– You can take your fiets (bike) with you if you like against an extra charge of 6 euro;
– There is tweede klas (second class) and eerste klas (first class). The differences are that in the eerste klas the seats are nicer, the coupés less crowded (because less reizigers are paying for eerste klas) and in some treinen power outlets are provided;
– Generally, all treinen have free Wi-Fi;
– opposed to treinen in other countries, in the Netherlands treinen generally don’t wait at one station very long – so when you have to get off, get ready in time;
– Some trains are dubbeldekkers (double decker – with two floors). When you have a lot of baggage (luggage), do not sit boven (upstairs), because there is quite limited space for baggage there;
– When it gets very, very druk (crowded), it is accepted that you sit in the eerste klas;
– It normally is very druk during the spitsuren (peak hours), which are between 6:30-9:00 AM and 16:30-18:00 PM. The hours in between are called daluren (off-peak hours);
– Various winkels (stores) sometimes have aanbiedingen (special offers) for treinen, including Hema, Kruidvat, and Albert Heijn. For example, you can trein unlimited anywhere in the Netherlands for one day for 14 euro;
– when you want to plan your reis (trip), you can best use www.9292ov.nl or www.ns.nl. Both also have an application for smart phones;
– during weekends there are often werkzaamheden (construction works) on the rails (tracks), because in weekends it is the least druk. So it can happen that there is a bus instead of a trein taking you to your destination – no extra charge of course;
– other railway companies are Veolia, especially in the south; Arriva, especially in the north of the country; Connexxion and Syntus mainly in the east; and Breng mainly in the west. These companies only use stoptreinen.
– Most NS treinen, and all Intercity´s have WCs (restrooms) – of course not as neat as you have at home, but hey, they work! – The Tweede Kamer (the Dutch House of Representatives) decided that from 2025 all treinen in the Netherlands must have WCs.
I have noticed that in comparison, Dutch travel differently. Someone once told me this is due to the huge population that inhabits this small area on the surface of this earth. That they get in touch with so many people every day, and therefore don’t feel like talking with others so much. Or that they have so much work to do that they just lack the time to talk…
How do people trein, or travel in your culture? Any similarities or differences?