Advice for Sustainable Travel in the Netherlands


We love taking a sustainable approach to travel and encourage other travellers to do the same. After traveling to over 20 countries on basically every mode of transportation there is, I can confidently say that the Netherlands takes sustainable travel to the next level.

The Netherlands is known for its progressive environmental initiatives and is as a shining example of a country committed to reducing its carbon footprint! This article delves into the realm of sustainable travel, with a particular focus on eco-friendly methods, usability, and planning. Review our basic itinerary at the end of the post and get more detail on the cost of that trip here

A picture of Rotterdam Central station. There is a blue and yellow train and a sign that reads Rotterdam Centraal.
Sustainable Travel in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has long been at the forefront of sustainability efforts. With its well-established public transportation system, the country promotes efficient and eco-friendly modes of travel. The cities (even outside of Amsterdam) are designed around foot and bicycle traffic. They have even solved intercity connections with the most eco-friendly solution!

Train travel, in particular, is the standout option, aligning seamlessly with the Dutch commitment to environmental conservation. The emphasis on reducing carbon emissions and fostering sustainable practices makes train journeys an ideal choice for the environmentally conscious traveller. Plus, it is easier than ever to use.

A windmill in the middle of a very green field in the Netherlands
Benefits of Train Travel

Choosing train travel over other modes of transportation, like cars or flights, brings a boatload of environmental benefits. Trains are inherently more energy-efficient and emit significantly fewer greenhouse gases compared to planes or cars. The Dutch railway network’s reliance on renewable energy sources further enhances the positive impact of train journeys, contributing to the overall eco-friendly landscape of the country.

The Netherlands boasts an extensive and efficient rail system, making it remarkably easy to travel quickly and conveniently. The well-connected network of train lines links major cities, picturesque towns, and even remote countryside areas, which makes it a great way to explore. The Dutch railway system ensures that travellers can easily reach their destinations without unnecessary delays. This makes planning an amazing trip incredibly easy.

Personal Experiences and Planning

Having personally embarked on sustainable train journeys in the Netherlands, I can attest to the profound impact of this choice. Not only can you travel slower and really take in the country, but you also get to go to unique and hidden places. Our trip consisted of staying taking day trips to Amsterdam, The Hague, and Gouda from our home base in Utrecht.

Here is how we plan trips:

  1. Make a 30-minute radius circle (by train) from the city that you most want to see. Like Amsterdam
  2. Look for smaller cities within that circle

3. Make a 30-minute radius circle (by train) from those locations.

4. Pin all of the places that you could get to! Do some research and get organized. 

5. Finalize your plan. In our case, we picked our home base in Utrecht! (Which is absolutely stunning and everyone should go there). Other considerations were Fryslân and Gouda

Practical Tips for Sustainable Train Travel

For those eager to embrace sustainable travel in the Netherlands, incorporating eco-friendly practices is key. Additionally, these practices often save on cost.

  1. Plan stays in accommodations with green certifications near train stations.
  2. Walk wherever you can or take public transportation.
  3. Utilize bike-sharing services or book an accommodation that includes a bike for local exploration.
  4. Pick up a 7-day Eurail pass so you can stay outside of main cities and explore further.

*Bonus tip – for a small additional fee, you can bring a bike with you onto the train!


In conclusion, sustainable train travel in the Netherlands is more than a transportation choice; it’s a commitment to a greener, more responsible way of exploring the world. As travellers, let’s embrace the beauty of the Dutch landscapes while contributing to the preservation of our planet! The journey is not just about the destination; it’s about the positive impact we make along the way.

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Brad at Foley Exploring

A couple of engineers traveling the world full time and creating this blog to bring real and useful travel knowledge to light.

We take a modular approach to travel, meaning that you will find building blocks to organize and create your own perfect trip!

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