Together with its international partners, NS connects the Netherlands to major cities and regions in Germany, Belgium, France and Britain. Last year, the number of international train journeys grew by 10% to over 3.5 million.
Since 9 April 2018, the Intercity Brussels service runs on the high-speed line. The train runs 16 times a day: 12 times a day to and from Amsterdam Centraal, and 4 times a day to and from Den Haag Hollands Spoor station. Now that the Intercity Brussels service runs on the high-speed line, passengers between Amsterdam, Schiphol and Belgium have half an hour less travel time and Breda has a direct connection to Belgium.
Even more Thalys trains are running with double train sets, which has increased the number of available seats to and from Paris since December 2018. As of April 2019, the Thalys will stop twice a day at the new destinations of Charles de Gaulle airport and Marne-la-Vallée/Disneyland. To make this possible, the direct Thalys connection with Lille was stopped in December 2018.
ICE International and Intercity Berlin
The main focus for much of 2018 was on developing a more attractive service to Germany together with our partners. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management had a survey carried out of the options for specifically improving the connection to Berlin. The focus in 2019 will be on fleshing out this phased improvement. That fits with our ambition to make international trains an attractive alternative for flights within a distance of 700 kilometres.
Since 4 April 2018, Eurostar has run a direct train link from London to Amsterdam via the HSL South. The construction of terminals at Amsterdam Centraal and Rotterdam Centraal has finished, but the journey from the Netherlands to London will for now involve a change at the Eurostar Terminal in Brussels for the passport and luggage checks.
Eurostar and NS are in discussions with the relevant authorities, which have committed themselves to aiming to reach an agreement on the legal framework for passport control in the Netherlands by the end of 2019. Eurostar has announced that a third train will be added every day between Amsterdam and London from June 2019.