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How To Travel By Tram

How To Travel By Tram

Tram station at Rotterdam Centraal Station

If you want to travel through Rotterdam by public transport then the tram might be the first thing that comes to mind. This is almost no coincidence because the tram has been a reliable means of transport in this modern city since 1879. With 9 tram connections and 2 extra season bound tram lines, you can get almost anywhere by tram.

We start with an overview of exactly how these nine tram lines run and where you can get on as a passenger. Tram 2 covers the route between Lombardijen and Charlois, including the stations Randweg, Hillevliet and Maashaven. This connection transports travellers within Rotterdam South.

Between the Molenlaan and Spangen, you are dependent on tram line 4. North Station, Rotterdam Central Station, Eendrachtsplein, Delfshaven and Marconiplein are some of the stops where you can get on and off. Tram 7 transports travellers between Woudestein and Willemsplein, via the stops Erasmus University, Voorschoterlaan, Weena, Rotterdam Central and Eendrachtsplein. Between Molenlaan and Spangen, tram 8 will take you to your destination. Station Noord, Rotterdamcentraal, Beurs, Leuvenhaven, Erasmus MC and the Euromast, Delfshaven and Marconiplein are some of the stops of this ride. This is also the tram to reach the Sparta stadium. Tram 20 provides the connection between Lombardijen in Rotterdam South and Rotterdam Central via the Erasmus Bridge. Where metro line D ‘dives’ under the Maas, tram 20 runs via the ‘Zwaan’ over the famous river. The Wilhelminaplein and the Eendrachtsplein are some of the stops of this ride.

For the journey between the stations De Esch and Schiedam Woudhoek tram 21 is the preferred connection. The stations that are visited are the Erasmus University, Oostplein, Blaak Station, Beurs, Rotterdam Central Station, Marconiplein, Schiedam Centre Station and Nieuwland Station.

Another tram connection that connects both parts of Rotterdam is tram 23 that maintains the route between Beverwaard station and Marconiplein. Here you can get off at the stops of the famous Feijenoord Stadium, Wilhelminaplein, Leuvenhaven, Beurs and Rotterdam Central Station.

The eighth tram line is the route between De Esch and Vlaardingen Holy for which you board tram 24. With tram 25 we have the ninth connection of this city, allowing travellers to travel between Carnisselande and Schiebroek. This route transports passengers to the Maasstad Hospital and the Sint Franciscus Gasthuis.

Map of Tram lines and stations in Rotterdam


Every journey by tram starts with a valid transport ticket.  Most travellers choose the OV Chipkaart. An upgradeable OV Chipkaart costs € 7.50, this is an electronic payment card that allows travel by public transport in the Netherlands. Children under the age of 4 travel for free. There are attractive discounts for over-65s and groups.

Children and over-65s travel at a discount. You can deduct this discount if you travel with a personal OV-chipkaart on balance. The discount applies to the basic fare and the boarding fare.

If you do not plan to travel a lot, a disposable OV-chipkaart is a solution. With such a ticket you can travel by public transport for two hours. This RET 2-hour card provides access to all RET public transport. The ticket is valid in bus, tram and metro within Rotterdam for a period of 2 hours after check-in. The costs are Euro 4.50.  You can choose between a Personal and an Anonymous or a Disposable OV-chipkaart. The one-time chip card is more for occasional travel. Keep in mind the limited validity for bus, tram or metro. The other type of OV-Chipkaart, the Personal, is only available for residents of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The card contains the holder’s name, photo and date of birth. The OV chip cards can be purchased from RET, Connexxion and Arriva. More information about the OV-chipkaart can be found on the website and on

Tourist Day Tickets

If you buy a tourist day ticket for €14,50, you can travel all day by tram, metro, bus and waterbus. This ticket is valid in the metropolitan area Rotterdam The Hague.

Balance checker

With balance checker, you can check the balance on your OV Chip card online. This is done by entering the OV chip number.

By opting for automatic recharging of your personal OV chip card you avoid situations where you are without balance, especially useful when you are in a hurry. The big advantage is that you don’t have to worry about keeping your balance on your OV-chip.

Automatically top up your balance

Automatic recharging also has the advantage that there is always enough balance to travel and as soon as the balance on your personal OV-chipkaart drops below € 0.00, a fixed amount can automatically be transferred from your bank account to your OV-chipkaart. You can choose from amounts of € 10,00, € 20,00 or € 50,00 for upgrading. The website is very useful, here you can directly transfer the balance from your bank account.

Apart from the advantages mentioned above, you don’t have to wait at a charging machine. This saves time and inconvenience. Via a few simple steps to load the card automatically. This starts by checking in or out. The card is automatically charged at check-in or check-out. This happens if you don’t have enough balance to pay the boarding fee or the fare. Your card will be charged immediately with your chosen amount of € 10, € 20 or € 50. Checking in is normally possible even if there is little or no balance on the OV chip card.

By holding the OV chip card at a pole or gate the balance of your card will be charged. This amount is an advance payment that you owe afterwards. The system will help you on your way, but you will have to pay it back.

Check-in and check-out mandatory

It is a fairly simple rule to also make sure you check out after check-in.- A journey starts by checking in by holding the card against the card reader when you get on the tram. This action is again necessary at the end of the journey and when changing trains. The card reader calculates what a journey has cost and what discounts are associated with it. The costs are debited from the balance on the OV-chipkaart. 

Travellers are obliged to check out. Especially because at check-in it is not yet clear what the destination of the trip is. Anyone who does not check-in (properly) runs the risk of a fine of at least € 54.00 when checking in.

Save OV-Miles for discounts

Members of OV-Miles only save when checking in and out of their trip. OVMiles is an initiative of RET in which, together with 34 partners in the Rotterdam region, travellers are offered the opportunity to save free of charge for interesting discounts with their OV chip card. OVMiles rewards travellers for the kilometres they make with public transport. The registration procedure is done online with the OV chip card and from that moment on the Miles are saved by those who travel by public transport within the transport area of RET.

Handy OV Chipkaart rules

A public transport chip card is intended for one person only. Multiple travellers all need a separate card. When using a single OV-chipkaart there is a surcharge of € 1.

As long as you have sufficient credit, the OV-chipkaart can be used for all forms of public transport in the Netherlands. A minimum of € 4 credit is required for other forms of transport.

If you travel by tram, a personal OV-chipkaart can be purchased if you are a resident of the Netherlands, Belgium or Germany. The personal card contains the name, photo and date of birth of the cardholder.

Boarding and basic fare

You avoid paying the full boarding fee by checking out. For passengers travelling on balance, a boarding fare will be debited from the balance at check-in. At check-out, however, the boarding fare will be refunded and the kilometres travelled will be charged. If there is no check-out, the passenger will, therefore, pay the full boarding fare.

Boarding fare

You can only travel if you have sufficient
balance on your card. In case of a negative balance on your card, you cannot
travel. The balance can be purchased online.

The fares for the tram are for an
anonymous, personal card with discount hours € 4

Travel with barcode

The RET Barcode App offers a solution for those who do not have an OV-chipkaart. This RET invention makes it easy to buy a mobile ticket for the tram via your phone. A vending machine is available. With the barcode, you can check-in and out of the tram. In case of a check-up, it is sufficient to show the ticket on your mobile to the driver or conductor. The current rate for the RET barcode is € 8.50 per day.

Convenient RET real-time app

Travellers by tram can travel more efficiently via a new travel app. With this app, a route can be mapped out in detail. Travel time, where to change trains and which platform your train, tram or metro will arrive at is displayed on your mobile phone.

This free RET app makes travelling by tram even more attractive. The app also shows departure times for all bus, tram and metro lines throughout the Netherlands. With a My RET account, you can immediately see in the app and on the RET website what time the next vehicle departs from your desired stop. Searching by line, stop or nearest stop is done on the basis of GPS location. With the app you can see all RET vehicles in your area in real-time, so you can also see the arrival of the tram and know if you need to sprint to the stop. The real-time app is also a kind of travel assistant because of the overview it offers transfer possibilities. With this app, you are one step ahead of the diversity of the Dutch weather by seeing whether you can expect sun or rain. Surprises about diversions are avoided because the app informs you about them in good time.

Special Tram Lines

There are 2 special tram lines riding around in Rotterdam

  • Tram Line 10, Citytour for tourist during the summer season. Starts April 25 in 2020
  • Tram Line 12, brings seasonal card and game cardholder, FOR FREE, to the Kuip to see football club Feyenoord