Visa & travel

Visa

If you are staying in the Netherlands shorter than 90 days you might need a visa (MVV) to enter the Netherlands. This depends on your nationality. 

You DO NOT need a visa for a stay of up to 90 days if you are a national of one of the following countries: check overview  . You can enter the Netherlands with a valid passport under the visa waiver programme. 

You DO need a visa for a stay of up to 90 days if you are a national of one of the following countries: check overview  . Please contact the embassay or consulate of the Netherlands in your country for more information.

Getting to Maastricht

Schiphol Airport

If you arrive at Amsterdam airport, the easiest and cheapest way to get to Maastricht is to take the train. Schiphol train station is situated directly below the airport. You can pick up a free baggage trolley from the platform. Via Schiphol Plaza you can walk straight to the departure or arrival hall. Train tickets are available from the yellow ticket machines near the platforms at Schiphol Plaza or from the ticket offices, which are situated close to the red/white-checked cube at Schiphol Plaza. Trains depart for Maastricht twice an hour. 

Buy a one way ticket ("enkele reis") to Maastricht Central Station. Intercity trains are faster than local trains ("stoptrein" or "sprinter"). When in doubt, you can always ask someone at the ticket office. You will soon notice that almost everyone in the Netherlands speaks English fairly well. For journey advice and time tables you can also check: www.ns.nl/en  .

Once you arrive at Maastricht central train station, you can either take a taxi to the Guesthouse (address: Brouwersweg 100) or take city bus 1, 2, 5, or 6 (get out at St. Annadal busstop and walk 5 minutes to the entrance of the Guesthouse).

Brussels Airport

If you are arriving at Brussels airport and are unable to join the airport pick up service you can easily take a train to Maastricht or you can book a shuttle to Maastricht.

Shuttle

  All Airport Services   (Belgium) 
  Taxi Patrick   (Belgium)

A one way pick up from Brussels Airport (‘Zaventem’) costs about € 90 (euro) for one car. You can split the costs between you (depending on how many people fit in the car/van). Make sure to tell them how much luggage you have as well as with how many people you travel.  

Train
The cheapest option is to take a train to Maastricht. There is a train station in the basement of Brussels airport; level -1, just follow the signs. You can buy a ticket to Maastricht there and you can ask for a printed itinerary. 
For more information, consult the website of the Belgian Railways .

Once you arrive at Maastricht central train station, you can either take a taxi to the Guesthouse (address: Brouwersweg 100) or take city bus 1, 2, 5, or 6 (get out at St. Annadal busstop and walk 5 minutes to the entrance of the Guesthouse).

Other airports

There are a couple of other airports you can fly into. 

The Netherlands

  • Eindhoven Airport, the Netherlands
  • Groningen Airport, the Netherlands
  • Rotterdam The Hague Airport, the Netherlands
  • Maastricht Airport, the Netherlands

Germany

  • Cologne Bonn Airport, Germany
  • Düsseldorf International Airport, Germany
  • Düsseldorf Weeze Airport, Germany
  • Frankfurt Airport, Germany

Belgium

  • Brussels Charleroi Airport
  • Liege Airport

Getting around in Maastricht

Getting around Maastricht and the Netherlands is easy. Cycling is the preferred mode of transport in the city and throughout the country there is an extensive system of public transportation of buses, trams, subways and trains.

Below you will find an overview of the main options for getting around in the Netherlands. We also advise you to have a look at the Journeyplanner. This website will help you plan your public transport throughout the Netherlands. You can also visit the website of the Dutch Railways.

The bicycle

If you really want to sample Dutch life and get around quickly and easily, make sure you buy a bicycle. Get one just like the Dutch use as a serious form of transport: a sturdy, no-nonsense bicycle, preferably not too expensive so that if it gets stolen you will not feel too bad. Be sure to buy a good solid lock and fix your bicycle to an immovable object, in order to discourage bicycle-thieves. In fact, most Dutch students spend more money on the locks than on the bicycle itself.

Bicycle theft: If your bicycle gets stolen, you should report it to the police. Once you have the official police report you can visit the police station every last Saturday of the month to see if they have found your bicycle. If the police do not retrieve your bicycle, you have the opportunity to buy one of the other bicycles that were stolen, retrieved by the police but not picked up by the owner. These bicycles can be bought at a very low price.

General bicycle laws: Please note that the laws for cyclists in the Netherlands are quite strict. Although there are many bicycle facilities such as bicycle lanes on the streets and bicycle parkings, you are advised to pay attention to the road signs etc. One-way streets that are nevertheless accessible for bicycles are clearly labelled as such; deciding to drive into one-way streets in the wrong direction can result in a heavy fine. Also, make sure that when buying a second hand bicycle the brakes and more importantly the lights actually WORK. The police do regular check-up rounds on the inner city streets in particular and they will pay no attention to the fact that you are a foreign exchange student and therefore not familiar with Dutch laws.

Specific regulations for Maastricht: In the city centre and at the central railway station you are only permitted to park your bicycle in the provided racks. There are more than 5000 public racks throughout the city centre as well as five supervised bicycle parks where you can park your bicycle for 50 cents a day. If you park your bicycle anywhere else there is a risk that it will be removed and confiscated. If you want to check whether your bicycle is confiscated you can contact Gemeente Maastricht. Also please note that it is not allowed to cycle in the pedestrian area of the city centre.

Trains

The Netherlands has a dense railway network that offers frequent service as well as the quickest way to travel between city centres. The carriages are modern and clean and, although many Dutch people complain about delays, the trains usually run on time. On the train you have a choice of carriages: first or second class, which is indicated with a large 1 or 2 painted on the outside of each wagon. First class costs about 50 % more and gives you a slightly larger seat in a compartment that is less likely to be full. Smoking is not allowed on any train, and is also prohibited in the station and on the platforms (although there are special zones on the platform where smoking is permitted; these zones are indicated by a tall pillar, containing ash trays and the words “rookzone”. Anyone caught smoking outside these zones will get a heavy fine).

Travel information

Transportation companies provide frequent bus and tram services. Amsterdam and Rotterdam also have subways (called: ‘metro’). From Maastricht you can go by train to practically any destination in the Netherlands. Some destinations can be reached directly from Maastricht; for other destinations you have to transfer to another train at a station. Information about departure times of the public transportation can be found on the 9292 website. Information about departure times of trains going to and leaving from Maastricht and ticket prices can also be found on the NS reis website: you can also download the apps for NS reis and 9292. On the Holland website you can find tips for interesting places to go in the Netherlands.

OV-chipkaart: The ‘OV-chipkaart’ is a new means of payment for the public transport system. The smart card is the size of a bank card and contains an invisible chip. The OV-chipkaart can be loaded with credit in Euros with which you can travel anywhere within the Netherlands. There are personal, anonymous, and disposable cards. The disposable card can be purchased at the station vending machine. The anonymous OV-chipkaart can be bought at the ticket office and vending machines at the station. These cards allow the holder to travel immediately. The personal OV-chipkaart can be purchased from your public transport company or the OV-chipkaart customer service department 0900-0980 (€0,10 p.m.).