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I have some friends traveling in Belgium / Netherlands. I would like to prepare their trip as much as possible since they are not used to travel and are not fluent in English. I don't know their exact travelling dates yet but since I am going to be in Belgium I would like to take care of that.

Is it possible to buy tickets with an open date in Belgium? My question is specifically for international travel, but any tip on internal travel would be welcome.

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2 Answers 2

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Both in the Netherlands and Belgium you can buy semi-open tickets at the station for the other country. You can perfectly buy a national ticket for Belgium in the Netherlands and vice versa. The benefit of these tickets is that they have a validity window of 1 or 2 months. This is not the case if you buy train tickets in the respective countries self.

So for local trips in Belgium you need to buy your tickets in the Netherlands and for your local tickets in the Netherlands you need to head to Belgium.

Caveat: This does NOT work with tickets bought online, only with tickets issued at the train station.

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Are you sure? The information on b-europe.com seems contradictory. Anyway, there really is no need to buy "open tickets" in Belgium. Or the Netherlands. You just buy what you need on the day of travel. –  Krist van Besien May 4 at 11:38
    
@kristvanbesien yes I am sure, unless they changed their policy in the last month. You are correct though that they don't mention it on their website, the Dutch railways however still mentions a validity of two months for international tickets. nshispeed.nl/web/… –  andra May 5 at 3:31
    
Also the often long queues at trainstations can be an incentive for open tickets. –  andra May 5 at 3:33
    
@andra Usually there aren't any queues at the ticket machines. –  Peter Raeves Jun 17 at 19:52

For international tickets you will have to go to an international ticket office at one of the main offices, call the tele sales, or use the international sales website.

For many destinations it is possible to buy tickets online and print them out yourself. For others you can choose to pick them up at a station, or have them mailed. Open tickets, valid up to a month are however not sold for high speed trains. These are always for a particular train.

Tickets for domestic travel are valid for a whole day, and are open, in so far as that they are not specific for a particular train. If you have for example a return ticket Brussel - Brugge for May 5th you can take any train from Brussel to Brugge, and then any other train back again later. You can purchase tickets for use on later dates in advance, but an open ticket valid for a month is not sold for domestic travel.

If you plan on doing multiple trips in Belgium a 10 trip card, called a "Rail Pass" might be a good buy.

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