Transportation and Everyday life
Overijssel is connected to the rest of the country by some highways, of which the A1 and A28 are used most frequently. The A1 connects the east to the west and leads you from the German border via Oldenzaal and Deventer all the way to Amsterdam. The A28 connects the north (Groningen) to the central part (Utrecht) of the Netherlands. Departing from Zwolle to one of these directions, you will take this highway.
Within the region of Twente, the A35 connects the three cities: from Enschede, through Hengelo to Almelo. If you continue on your way to Zwolle, you’ll be driving on the N35 to the west of the province.
Rent or buy a car
Although the public transport brings you almost everywhere, you might want to explore the region by car or you need a car for easier commuting and getting around. You will find several car dealers in the area, usually specialised in a certain brand. They sell new and used cars.
Renting a car is easy and not very expensive for short periods. Most prices are fixed per day from early morning until late evening or for small cars per 24 hours. Needless to say you need a driver’s licence and be aware that the years of driving experience and the minimum or maximum age of the driver can differ per rental company.
Since the Netherlands is a small country with a dense population, public transport is everywhere. The Dutch trains and buses are known for their punctuality and extensive schedules. In Overijssel there is no metro or tram, only bus and train. Confused concerning your connections? Use the website 9292.nl. It will plan the best route for you with all existing types of public transport, considering delays and maintenance.
OV chip card
For all types of public transport it is advised to use an OV chip card, a public transport pass.
This is an easy electronic payment method for public transportation in the whole country. Besides in trains and buses, you can also use it on trams, metro’s and ferryboats in all other cities, like Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam.
If you have an OV chip card, always make sure you have enough electronic credit before travelling. How much credit is needed, varies per transport company. Don’t forget to check IN and check OUT with your card every time you travel, or you can get a fine.
There are 3 types of OV chip cards:
- Personalised card: available online on ov-chipcard.nl. You need this card if you want to buy monthly or annual subscriptions for discounts with transport companies or invoice your transport costs to your employer. It’s connected to your bank account and you are the only one that can travel with it.
- Anonymous card: available at the ticket machine or ticket office at train and bus stations, some kiosks and supermarkets. The card needs to be topped up manually and can be passed on and used by other people. You can check your travel details and invoice your employer.
- Disposable card: available like the anonymous card and with the bus driver. This is a paper card for limited use, from one ride up to 24 hours or several days, depending the type of card you bought.
Fun fact: The Dutch value their punctuality so much, that a delay for a few minutes is already seen as an inconvenience. It will be mentioned on the information screens and announced through the intercoms at the (train) station. Don’t be surprised if people get upset by this, as they might miss their connections during their trip in the tight schedule of trains and busses.
Trains are very convenient for medium and long distance travel, as the Netherlands has an extensive railway network. All main cities and also many towns have a train station. Most trains offer a choice between first and second class. Use your OV-chip card or buy a ticket. Tickets are available at the Netherlands Railways (NS) ticket offices, at the ticket machines at train stations, or directly via the NS web page www.ns.nl. For national travel, there is no need to make seat reservations and you can buy tickets up to the moment the train is leaving. For rides across the borders, you do need to buy your ticket in advance and often make a seat reservation.
Tip: Planning a day trip or a weekend by train? Check out the NS Spoordeelwinkel at spoordeelwinkel.nl. Here NS offers discounts and special deals, often in combination with visits to shops, museums and hotels. Also shops like Hema, Kruidvat and Blokker offer discounted train fares on a regular basis. Keep an eye on the advertisements in the stores or online.
The regional bus network is very efficient and covers pretty much all of the region. If you are travelling to or from a small town without a train station, then the bus is the way to go! However, for long-distance travel, regional buses are not convenient, as they are slower than the train. There are different bus companies, depending on the municipality. You can pay either by OV chip card, in cash and in some buses using your debit card. When paying in cash, the bus driver would appreciate it if you paid in coins instead of large banknotes.
Flying for business, going back to your home country or receiving guests that are arriving by plane? Consider the airports around the east of the Netherlands, besides Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. At a 1,5 to 2 hour drive by car you find Eindhoven Airport and across the German border Dusseldorf, Münster-Osnabrück and Weeze. The Dutch cities of Rotterdam, Groningen and Maastricht also have airports, with flights within Europe, especially in summer to holiday destinations.
Cycling is the most common way to travel short distances in the Netherlands. Wonderful bike paths all over the country and flat lands make biking a popular way to get around or spend leisure time. Wearing a helmet is not obligatory, but recommended for children or when you go cross country cycling or mountain biking.
You can travel with your bike on trains but be aware that you have to buy an extra ticket for your bike, these are available at the ticket machines at the stations. Foldable bikes can go on the train for free.
Be aware that the theft of bicycles is one of the most common crimes in the Netherlands. If you spend a lot of money on a bike, buying insurance is advisable, but do realise that the bike needs to have approved locks.
Make sure you have a strong lock or even a second lock, with which you can attach your bike to the assigned parking facilities, trees or fences. Also buying a nonstandard bike or painting and decorating your bike prevents theft, since it stands out more and is easier to be recognised. Make pictures of the bike to hand in to the police or insurance in case it gets stolen. Note the frame number, which can be found on the frame of the bike. This number is important in identifying your stolen bike
Tip: Going downtown on your bike? Most big cities all have free parking facilities in their centres that are secured by staff of the municipality. Look out for these or search online with the words ‘bewaakte fietsenstalling’ or ‘gratis fietsenstalling’
Buying a bike
With an average of 1,1 bike per inhabitant, the Netherlands offers a wide range of bikes in all shapes and sizes. You’ll find many shops with new and used bikes, including workshops for repairs and maintenance and the possibility of renting a bike.
You can find good deals in the second hand department of the shops or you can buy a second hand bike privately such as offered on the website Marktplaats.nl. If you do buy a bike privately, do check if the bike was perhaps stolen on fdr.rdw.nl by filling in the chip number, brand or frame number. Some things to check when buying a bike: good brakes, working lights, good tyres and a working bell. The bike should not make any noise when cycling and you should be sitting comfortably and able to reach the peddles easily.
Emergency services The emergency phone number in the Netherlands is 112, like most European countries. For questions or reports that are not urgent you can call the police on 0900 8844.
In the Netherlands, most municipalities have special police officers in the neighbourhoods, called ‘wijkagent’. This officer gives information about improving the safety in the neighbourhood. He can be approached for questions or suggestions and non-urgent reports.
Depending on the municipality you live in, the garbage in Overijssel is collected and processed by either Twente Milieu or ROVA. The Dutch are very keen on separating and recycling the different types of garbage, like glass, paper, biological/green waste and plastics. Often you will find special bins at local supermarkets where you can dispose of different types of garbage such as plastic, glass or clothes. This separation is not only good for the environment, in most municipalities the more you separate your waste, the less you pay through taxes. Check out the website of Twente Milieu or ROVA or ask your neighbours about the system of separating and collecting garbage in your neighbourhood.
Tip: ‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’ is a rule of thumb you can keep in mind when processing your garbage. Try to use fewer resources in the first place, figure out a way to reuse the objects you did use (like a jam jar as storage for food and herbs) and lastly dispose of rest of the waste accordingly
Help around the house
Most people in the Netherlands do the chores in and around the house themselves. Hiring a professional gardener, handyman, housekeeper or nanny/babysitter is not difficult, but can be expensive. For (cheaper) options, check out the advertisement wall at your local supermarket to get in touch with help from your neighbourhood. Also the website marktplaats.nl is a source of people who offer their services.
Smoking in public
You’re not allowed to smoke in public buildings, bars and restaurants. Most of them offer separate smoking areas, although rules will become more strict the coming years. Be aware that in some places, smoking is prohibited, both indoors and outdoors. On train platforms, for example, smoking is only allowed around the rookpaal (smoking pole). You can get fined if you don’t follow the rules.
Following the Dutch news can be difficult if you don’t speak the language (yet). There are English news media in the Netherlands for expats like you. Take a look at the websites Dutch News, NL times, Dutch Daily News and IamExpat. If you do want to follow the Dutch-spoken news: NOS is the most known broadcaster on a national level. For regional and local news check out the websites and channels of RTV Oost, De Twentsche Courant Tubantia and De Stentor.