NS and NMBS: faster and more frequent trains to Belgium

14 August 2023

NS and Belgian carrier SNCB are doubling the number of Intercity trains between the Netherlands and Brussels from 16 to 32 per day. A new, fast connection will be added in the 2025 timetable. With that connection, travellers will travel about 45 minutes shorter than now. In just over two hours, we will connect Amsterdam and Brussels. NS will use the new Intercity train (ICNG), which will travel on the high-speed line at a maximum speed of 200 km per hour. This connection comes on top of an intercity connection between Rotterdam, Breda and Brussels.


The shorter journey time is made possible by faster trains, fewer intermediate stops and the new starting point Amsterdam Zuid (South), which is closer to the high-speed line than Amsterdam Central. NS has specially ordered new trains for the Amsterdam Zuid (South) - Brussels South/Midi connection. This train can operate in both the Netherlands and Belgium. The train has room for 413 passengers.
With these new trains, a long-cherished wish of passengers for a fast Intercity connection between both capital cities will come true. Travellers from, say, Utrecht or The Hague will easily transfer to this new train. NS will work out the further details, such as timetables and ticket prices, together with NMBS in the coming period.

Wouter Koolmees, NS chief executive: "Every traveller who chooses the train as a means of transport to Brussels is helping to combat climate change. It's up to us to make the green option also the easy option. With this substantial expansion, we are going to Brussels more often than ever and offering even more travellers the option of a smooth international train journey."


In addition to the 16 trains from Amsterdam Zuid (South), a train will also depart from Rotterdam Central to Brussels South Midi 16 times a day. This connection is now known as the Intercity Brussels from Amsterdam Central. This train runs from Rotterdam via Breda and continues to stop at all current intermediate stations. This keeps, for example, the city of Mechelen directly connected to the Netherlands and passengers to and from Brussels airport retain a direct train. Travellers from The Hague, Utrecht and Amsterdam will transfer via Rotterdam Central. Travel time for these passengers will remain similar to the current connection.

In the first half of this year, Brussels was our most popular international destination. NS International sold around 39,000 tickets per month to Brussels on average over the past six months. On average, the number of tickets sold for Brussels is growing faster at NS than other destinations. After Brussels, Antwerp follows as the most popular destination. NS International sold an average of around 36,000 tickets per month to this city in the first half of 2023. With the arrival of these Intercity trains and the current Thalys trains, 47 trains per day are expected to run between the Netherlands and Brussels in the 2025 timetable.