Metro in the Netherlands

Metro in the Netherlands

The metro reached the Netherlands at a relatively late time, due to the fact that most Dutch cities aren’t very large, and because of the pre-existence of an elaborate tram network. In the 20th century, some cities went through an exponential growth and metro lines were introduced in two of the largest Dutch cities: Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

Amsterdam metro

The Amsterdam metro network was started in 1977. It consists of four lines, soon to be five, and stretches a total of 42,5 kilometres, reaching out to Diemen, Duivendrecht and Amstelveen, all areas near Amsterdam. The Amsterdam metro transports around 1.400.000 passengers per week. The metro network belongs to the Amsterdam’s public transport organisation GVB and its tracks largely lie above ground.

Line 50 - Ringlijn

The Ringlijn was one of the first metro lines to be constructed in Amsterdam. It runs from the Isolatorweg up to Gein. This line is fully built on dikes and viaducts.

Line 51 - Amstelveenlijn

The Amstelveenlijn runs from Central Station up to Amstelveen Westwijk. It was opened in 1990, and extended in 2004. Part of this line is a tram line, meaning, among others, that it is powered by an overhead powerline, rather than by a third track, and that it can only carry narrow trains.

Line 52 - Noord-Zuidlijn

The Noord-Zuidlijn officially opened on July 22, 2018. It runs from Amsterdam Noord to Station Zuid, and it will pass by the Central Station. It is 9,7km long and the travel time from Station Noord to Station Zuid is 15 minutes.

Oostlijn: Line 53 - Gaasperplaslijn & Line 54 - Geinlijn

The Gaasperplaslijn runs from Central Station to Gaasperplas. The Geinlijn runs from Central Station up to Gein. These two lines were opened in 1977 along with Line 50, and together they are also called the Oostlijn.

Rotterdam metro

The Rotterdam metro network belongs to RET, and it transports passengers within and around the city. 

The network has five main lines, branched off and extended from the old Erasmuslijn and Calandlijn, that sometimes transfer into a tram network. One of these five lines connects the Rotterdam metro network to the tram network in The Hague.

Lines A, B and C

In 1982, Rotterdam’s second metro line was constructed, called the Oost-westlijn. It ran from Capelsebrug up to Coolhaven, and it received various branches and extensions to form three main routes.

In 1997, these three trajectories were each called Calandlijn, but they were split up into separate lines in 2010: Line A, B and C.

  • Line A runs from Vlaardingen West to Binnenhof.
  • Line B runs from Nesselande to Schieland Centrum.
  • Line C runs from De Terp to De Akkers.

These lines transported around 175.000 travellers per day in 2013, with the largest group (around 120.000 people) riding the lines’ central part in between Schiedam Centrum and Capelsebrug.

Lines D and E

The Erasmuslijn used to consist of two unconnected sections, now called Metrolijn D and RandstadRail metrolijn E.

Metrolijn D

The Noord-Zuidlijn was the first metro track in the Netherlands, and was opened in 1968. It became the Erasmuslijn in 1997.

When first opened by Princess Beatrix and Prince Klaus this track, now called Metrolijn D, was one of the shortest metro lines in the world, measuring at 5,9 km running from Rotterdam Central Station up to the Zuidplein shopping centre. It now runs up to De Akkers.

RandstadRail metrolijn E

RandstadRail metrolijn E, first called the Hofpleinlijn, and making up part of the Erasmuslijn from 2006 to 2009, was opened in 1908 as a tram network. Today, part of it qualifies as a metro line, from The Hague to Zoetermeer.

This line connects the tram network from The Hague to the tram and metro network in Rotterdam.

Travelling by metro

Metro stations can be recognised by square signs depicting a straight, yellow “M”, and the correct line and direction can be found as indicated on metro maps and overhanging signs.

Travellers make use of the metro by scanning their OV-chipkaart at the gates at the station. The metro was the first public transport service in the Netherlands to be solely accessible through using the OV-chipkaart.

Planned developments

There are various planned developments for the Amsterdam metro, such as branching off the Noord/Zuidlijn to Zaanstad, and changing the tram section of the Amstelveenlijn to a full metro connection. There are also plans in the works for an Oost/Westlijn that will run on the Amsterdam Central Station trajectory through Lelylaan, Overtoom, Weteringschans, Sarphatistraat and Muiderpoortstation.

In Rotterdam, there will be various extensions to the current network. Line E will be fully converted into a Metro line, and a new line is planned to run from Zuidplein to Kralingse Zoom. There are also plans in the works to have the Rotterdam metro run at night on certain special occasions, but these are not yet confirmed.

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