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The Netherlands

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The longest train journey in the Netherlands (Maastricht–Groningen) takes about 4½ hours, but the majority of trips are far shorter. Trains have 1st-class sections, but these are often little different from the 2nd-class areas and, given the short journeys, not worth the extra cost.

Trains can be an all-stops stoptrein, a faster sneltrein (fast train, indicated with an S) or an even faster Intercity (IC). Intercity Express (ICE) trains travel between Amsterdam and Cologne and only stop in Utrecht and Arnhem; they’re quite fast (a 10-minute saving to Arnhem), but you pay a €2 supplement at the counter or ticket machine, or €4 on board the train.

The high-speed Thalys only stops at Amsterdam, Schiphol, Den Haag and Rotterdam before going on to Antwerp, Brussels and Paris (or Luxembourg). It requires a special ticket, available at the international ticket counters.

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