NS International has partnered with Deutsche Bahn, Eurostar, NMBS, ÖBB and Thalys, connecting the Netherlands with major cities and regions in Belgium, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Our aim is to make the train the logical preferred choice for distances of up to approximately 700 kilometres. This will benefit the environment and the economy, as high-quality rail connections will attract investments to the Netherlands and create a favourable climate for international businesses and trade. We promote this by providing fast connections for Dutch passengers to the high-speed rail network in Germany, reducing travel times to Berlin, increasing the frequency of our services between Amsterdam and London / Paris, providing faster connections to Belgium and adding new destinations.
Market demand plummeted due to the COVID-19 crisis and the resulting measures in the Netherlands and neighbouring countries. As a result, international services were cancelled or their frequency was strongly reduced.
Shorter travel time to Berlin
By 2024, timetable adjustments, improvements to the Dutch and German infrastructure and new, faster DB trains will combine to reduce the travel time to Berlin by thirty minutes, to less than six hours. The first gains were already seen in December 2020, with several trains to and from Berlin cutting travel times by ten minutes.
More frequent services between London and Amsterdam
NS had everything in place to provide a direct service between Amsterdam and London (via Rotterdam) starting on 30 April 2020. Due to the COVID-19 measures, the launch of this service was postponed to 26 October of that year. Since then, passport and luggage checks have been carried out at Amsterdam CS and Rotterdam CS, and the travel time to London has dropped to well below four hours.
Adding new destinations
In 2020, NS and ÖBB, its Austrian counterpart, had prepared to launch a daily night-time connection from Amsterdam (via Munich) to Innsbruck and Vienna starting 13 December. However, due to urgent negative travel advice by the Dutch, German and Austrian authorities, demand was practically nil. The partners decided therefore to start the night train connection in 2021, as soon as travel between these countries returns to normal. Since October, passengers have been able to book the night train (changing in Düsseldorf) online via nsinternational.nl.
In 2020, NSInternational.nl was given a .com extension to improve findability outside the Netherlands. Furthermore, 3,000 German destinations were added to the booking module on these websites, bringing the total of destinations available online to approximately 7,500. Groups of up to nine individuals can book a journey to Germany online. Passengers can also use the app to book ICT Brussels tickets, and now receive customised travel information before setting out on their journey.
Intercity service between Randstad and Aachen
In 2020, in collaboration with ProRail and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, NS initiated a study into the possibilities for introducing an Intercity service between the Randstad conurbation and the German city of Aachen in 2025.
In 2020, the ICE between the Netherlands and Germany celebrated its twentieth anniversary. Since its launch, over 23 million passengers have used this connection.
Train-Plane Action Agenda
The Train-Plane Action Agenda was presented to the Lower House of Dutch Parliament in November 2020. The agenda, drawn up by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, KLM, ProRail, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and NS, concerns measures aimed at strengthening international train services as an alternative and supplement to air travel to Paris, Brussels, London, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Berlin.