This is the card for all public transport in the Netherlands. You order it online via the official website [Ronny add here], AFTER you have an address.
If you don’t have an OV chipcard, you pay more for each fare. So if you plan to travel Netherland using its [excellent] public transport, or move in as an expat, consider buying this card.
There are two general kinds of this card:
anonymus ov card - without your details, name, address, etc. Maybe good for a really short trip, but not for the long run: there are no discounts with the anonymus card.
person specific ov card - this will be, of course, with your details, and can be with discounts. For example, a 40% off after rush hours.
There are good discounts on the website from time to time, so you better keep track of it. Also, there all kind of special cards for a few days, or family day card, with or without bicycles and so on.
This card can be pre-charged by its user with money for traveling, or [when personalized and not anonymus] connected to your bank account. Usually OV company doesn’t make mistaked in calculating the fare charge, so it can be ok to let them charge your account directly.
Upon entering a bus/train etcעריכה
Check in with your card, and don’t forget to check out as well. This is different than in other places, and the fare will be more expensive when not checking out. The fare’s price is determined by the distance you travelled, hence the importance of checking in and out.
Trains can be delayed, and if they are late by half an hour, passengers recieve half the fare price back, as a reimbursement. If the train is late by an hour, passengers recieve full fare refund. This can more or less point to the punctuallity of trains most of the time, I guess.
For any question, ask the information and or service desk at the central station. It is better to ask than get on the wrong train [been there, done that, and it was rather emberrasing]. They can also give you change if you need it for something at the station area.
Trains are really quiet, it even says so on the windows [“stille”, “silence”]. It is not accepted to talk loudly, shout, speak on the phone. listen to music without earphones and so on.
There is usally a screen in every train floor and kart [karon Ronny] than says the next station, arruval time. and connection to other destination from that station.
This is also the information the train workers says upon arrival to the station [in Dutch], so don’t get cunfused with all the place names you hear every time the train stops.
Busses are also pretty quiet, and there is free wifi in them :-). Plus, a screen that says the next 5 or so stations and arrival time to each one of them.
This is pretty neat, and synchronized with a computer screen in the station itself that says the time until the next line.
Drivers are really kind and helpful, so if you are not sure ask them to avoid getting on the wrong bus and ending up in Maastricht or some other far away destination :-)
At the centraal station there is a bus station with a board, saying all the lines for the next half an hour or so, and the specific platform a few minutes before the bus arrives.