All aboard: Dutch public transport spends millions to encourage more people to travel

Only essential travel? Not anymore. The Dutch public transport company OV has launched a multi-million euro advertising campaign to encourage more people to travel. 

The campaign aims to show that everyone can travel safely by train, bus, metro, and tram again. Perhaps they’re too optimistic about the current return to summer?

Of course, the Dutch government doesn’t explicitly discourage non-essential travel — but does recommend travellers avoid crowds, travel outside rush hour and take extra time in case their chosen time is too full.

“Our first goal is, of course, to say to the travellers: ‘Come on, you can travel with us in a responsible, good way again,’ explains Pedro Peters of umbrella organization OV-NL to NOS Radio 1 Journaal. “But then stick to the rules of the game that we have agreed with each other.”

More fines expected to be issued

Currently, Dutch public transport is around 50-60% of the capacity it was before coronavirus. OV wants to see that increase to 80% by the end of the year.

Of course, we’ve all seen people who think they’re being sneaky on the train slide their mouth mask down to their chin (quick tip: sitting in a seat does not make you invisible, nor immune to the rules.) However, Peters insists that 90% of travellers do follow the requirements.

Municipal enforcement officers (BOAs) will be taking tougher action against rule-breakers. “We will be in public transport more often to check whether you stick to the agreements. And if you do not, you will still be fined quicker than before,” says Peters. Many more fines are expected to occur in the coming weeks as public transport gets busier again.

Do you feel comfortable taking public transport? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: DutchReview/Canva

Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Sam isn’t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.


  1. I have a VRIJ subscription to travel. I use it often.

    It’s my (repeat, MY) experience that most people adhere to the regulations. The major exception is younger (14-20) people speaking on their cellphones who pull down their mask to talk. This occurs mainly during travel to or from school.

    A significant other group of rule breakers are people of any age who are NOT speaking English or Dutch on their cellphones; this occurs at any time.

    Another group of rule breakers are those who seem to think it’s permissible to pull their masks down to drink or eat: When I say eat I don’t mean just to pop a mint into their mouth but to eat an entire sandwich or a candy bar. Of course pulling your mask down for ANY reason is not permissible but it takes a certain amount of audacity to sit on the train eating a sandwich with the mask down below your chin!


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