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Say you were travelling from Brussels to Amsterdam by train, spending 2-4 days in Amsterdam using public transport then travelling from Amsterdam to Antwerp by train.

According to the NS website, it seems you can get a NS Flex dal voordeel card for €5.10/month which offers substantial 40% discounts on train travel.

  1. Is there any way for non-residents to buy this in advance or online so that it can be used for all train tickets between Belgium and Amsterdam?

  2. If you can't buy it until you get into the Netherlands, it seems it would still be better value just to use it for the return journey - where can it be acquired in Amsterdam?

  3. It seems last-minute tickets are ridiculously expensive. €50 on IC and €86 on Thalys. Is there really no way to get a discount on these coming from outside the Netherlands. For multiple people, 40% discount would be a huge difference.

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    I'm not quite certain, but I think you will not be able to buy the flex dal voordeel (or any other NS subscription) without a Dutch bank account that supports the "iDeal" payment method.
    – mlc
    Sep 13, 2022 at 2:43
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    This blog post suggests you can do it if you have a friend with a Dutch address and bank account but still offers no way to do it without these.
    – mlc
    Sep 13, 2022 at 2:46
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    I'd suggest not asking separate questions together. This will make it harder to give an answer, and also for you to accept a single answer as the solution. Maybe you could split 3 and 4 into a separate question?
    – Berend
    Sep 13, 2022 at 6:53
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    3. The Flex card isn't valid on Thalys anyway, IC Direct only.
    – Berend
    Sep 13, 2022 at 16:35
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    @Turkeyphant, you can not. You can use BE train to the nearest NL station and after using the group ticket. However, it is a hassle since probably you have to take off the train and do check in with the group ticket (never used it). Sep 14, 2022 at 12:41

2 Answers 2

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The main problem is that you have to have a personal OV card to get NS Flex on it. I helped a couple of Ukrainian refugees, and there were problems with using non-Dutch IBAN. However, not in all cases.

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    Signing up for the personal OV card also requires a postal address in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg or Germany.
    – TooTea
    Sep 13, 2022 at 18:25
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You are asking several questions, I'll answer nr 1 and 2.

According to the NS service page, you can't use a credit card to buy a discount subscription, but you can phone them if you have a (foreign) bank account.

Betalen met een buitenlandse IBAN

Heb je een buitenlands bankrekeningnummer? Dan kun je telefonisch een abonnement afsluiten via de NS Klantenservice of bij een Tickets & Service-balie op het station.

Google translate:

Paying with a foreign IBAN

Do you have a foreign bank account number? Then you can take out a subscription by telephone via NS Customer Service or at a Tickets & Service desk at the station.

If ordering by phone doesn't work out, you will have to go to a station, which would most probably be Amsterdam CS for you. If you really are tight on money, you could consider buying just a ticket from Brussels to Breda, and buy the subscription there. I doubt that's worth the hassle, though.

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    Also as in the station in Belgium whether they have a good deal for you, there are some sold in Belgium which are as cheap as those reduced price tickets in the Netherlands.
    – Willeke
    Sep 13, 2022 at 8:08
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    I don't think you can use Flex with anonymous OV card Sep 13, 2022 at 11:48
  • @Willeke have you got any more details on Belgian international discounts? Can they be bought online in advance or only in stations? Sep 13, 2022 at 12:50
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    @Turkeyphant, I intended to say 'ask at a station' as that is the only way I know, but I have seen that if you book your tickets on the Belgium railway site they are likely to offer you the cheapest option. No advice on when are the cheaper options, unlike the station.
    – Willeke
    Sep 13, 2022 at 16:05
  • @Willeke It turns out by far the biggest discounts can be obtained by buying in advance. Sep 13, 2022 at 16:07

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