Train etiquette on Dutch trains: 8 things you’ll always see

Ah, train journeys in the Netherlands: not the worst, yet not the best.

We all have our fair share of annoying passengers that we just love to have a dig at. The sort of passengers that you might come into the office and complain about. 

We could list 25 — but we’re only going to make you sit through eight of them. Without further ado Here’s a lowdown on the type of passengers that you have probably experienced at least once (or 100 times).

1. The bag hoggers

These are the people who treat their bag as a human being. Some even go so far as they’ll let you stand just so their bag could rest well in that extra seat. Maybe these people believe that bags need to sit down too?

Your comfort < their bag. Image: Depositphotos

The truth is they simply don’t want you sitting next to them. Or anyone for that matter.

Maybe life sitting next to a stranger is too big of a risk, you could be sick, smell bad or heaven forbid you may talk to them. That’s simply not up for discussion here. Where the bag fits, it sits. 💺

2. The nose pickers

Maybe they left their pin card at home and weren’t able to eat anything throughout the day. What else can you do if you’re left to waste away? That’s when a nice stringy bogey can come in handy and solve your hunger crisis. 👃

You don’t want to recognise these people, but you just can’t help it. You’re so disgusted, that it’s impossible to look away.

READ MORE | A guide to night buses and night trains in the Netherlands

Frankly, they don’t seem to mind if people notice. After all, they are always in an absolute trance when picking their nose.

3. The loud people in the silent carriage

These are the people who want you to hear their conversation about what they’re having for dinner, whether they’ve dumped Martin yet, or the story of telling their boss where to shove it.

Really, we should all be rooting for these people. “You go girl, you dump Martin and quit your job!” 👏

Yep, we’ve all had them: loud cellphone storytellers in the silent carriage. Image: Depositphotos

In reality, we aren’t drunk in a bar and we don’t want to hear about a stranger’s life. We’ve probably just finished a stressful day at work and want to read a book in peace.

Other people are desperate to watch a video on YouTube, but oops they’ve forgotten their earphones. Never mind I’ll just play it out loud, they say to themselves.

Next thing you know, you’re listening to DutchReview’s crash course on Dutch words, involuntarily. I mean, DutchReview videos are never a bad thing, of course, but in the SILENT section? 🤐

4. The people who take ‘the silent zone’ too literally

The silent zone can also seem like a military operation. Some passengers take the ‘silent’ zone to the extreme.

You could be putting a coat on or even crossing your legs over to get more comfortable, and this passenger darts their eyes at you in disgust. You made a slight noise there, whilst crossing your legs, and that’s just not acceptable in the silent zone.

a-picture-of-person-on-a train-silent-cabinet
Then you have those who mistake the silent carriage for a silent movie. Image: Depositphotos

In this situation, there are two types of passengers — the direct passengers who don’t even worry about being out there. Then the other type who shoots evil glares at you, huffs and puffs and shushes you every 5 minutes. 🔕

5. People eating hot food on the train

I hate to say I have been this person many, many times. I will also add that these people are also the worst. I am the worst.

These are the people who bring steaming hot food onto the train which ends up stinking the whole carriage. 

READ MORE | Why is there a first and second class on trains in the Netherlands?

You will probably also start to eyeball them, either because you’re insanely jealous of that Julia’s pasta box or because you don’t particularly want to see pasta sauce running all down their face. 🍝

And don’t even get me started on the apple eaters (I know it’s not hot food guys). The sound of the apple cracking against the teeth is just too much for our little ears to handle. 🍏

6. The starer

This is the person who has no shame in staring at you for the duration of the journey. If they are sitting in front of you, then they have a full view of you and whenever you look away, you’ll find them eyeballing you.

I’m not just talking about people who may find you attractive and can’t resist looking at you. If they’re next to you, then good luck with your privacy. And if you’re texting, they’ll be sure to crook their head and have a good look at who you’re texting.

And if you’re having a conversation, they’ll be hanging on to your every word. Next time, stick your tongue out and see what they do. I dare you! 👀

7. The party passengers

These people are either on their way back from a party or most likely on their way there. The pre-drinks are flowing, a girl is screaming her head off because her shoe’s fallen off, and she can’t find her pin card.

Little Alex over there has spilt beer all down himself and all over the train floor, and someone is rushing to find the toilet.

The pre-party on the train. Image: Depositphotos

Once the group has dispersed (phew) all that remains is 10 crushed-up beer cans that clearly didn’t fit in the little train bin, so they’re now crushed and all over the floor.

You’ve spotted the girl’s ‘lost’ pin card down the side of the train seat, but right now you’ve already decided that it’s someone else’s job to hand it in, plus you’re too mad at her for screaming.

A couple of empty baggies (which you hope were just from cannabis) and a jumper. What madness have Dutch trains become eh? 📢

8. People who are glued to their seat

These passengers ensure that to have the best journey possible, they would superglue themselves to their seats. This way, nobody and I mean nobody, can take their spot away.

This means that they have to make full use of the seat by keeping their legs far apart and their arms anywhere but their laps.

It doesn’t matter if someone sits next to them, they can’t move. A pregnant or elderly passenger led astray? It’s not their problem, they can’t move, remember?

They’re also the kind of passenger who can’t move out of the way if you’re at a four-person table seat, lodged in the corner. They won’t move up if you’re looking for a seat, so you have to awkwardly climb over them and squeeze yourself into the corner. How awkward. 😣

We love a bit of sarcasm here at DutchReview, so there you have it — we said it so you don’t have to!

Anything else we missed out on? Tell us in the comments below!

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in April 2018 and was fully updated in May 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Pixabay
Emma Brown
Emma Brown
A familiar face at DutchRevew. Emma arrived in Holland in 2016 for a few weeks, fell in love with the place and never left. Here she rekindled her love of writing and travelling. Now you'll find her eating stroopwafels in the DutchReview office since 2017.

Liked it? Try these on for size:

What do you think?


  1. With the bags: it’s not that we don’t want anyone sitting there, it’s mainly that we don’t want to put the bags too far away for they might get stolen. And whenever anyone comes in and needs a seat I take my bag away and usually keep in on my lap or on the floor between my feet.

  2. The sniffers, and there are plenty of them , who constantly suck snot back up their noses. Why use a tissue or a handkerchief when you annoy the whole carriage by making loud sniffing noises every 15 seconds?

  3. The young person who just looks at the elderly person standing there as someone of interest.
    But will never offer up his/her seat! Same on buses, btw.

  4. Dudee an Apple sound is nicee, there are even bottles for now on tiktok😂 yeah some of it can be annoying, but i pesonally love the party ones or if someone wanna eat, fine🤷‍♂️. Short said. Its not that deep😄


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related posts

Latest posts

Porn alert! Buses weren’t the only thing coming at this Dutch station

Travellers to Arnhem Centraal's bus terminal received a rather heavy load of unwanted imagery after an unknown entity shared porn clips on the station's...

Bidding wars and limited supply: Here’s why it’s even harder to buy a house in NL

Hoping to escaping skyrocketing rents by buying a house in the Netherlands? You may need to think again. 😬 In the first three months of...

Hybrid work in the Netherlands: 5 things to know

If you want more time with friends and family and less commuting, working from home some days could be just what you need. However,...

It's happening

Upcoming events

The latest Dutch news.
In your inbox.