bus and tram card [noun] [de strippenkaart, de strippenkaarten]

2288753229_4b95c6a16a_zLiterally: “strips card” / “card with strips”.

(Note: text below no longer current due to introduction of OV-chip card.)
In the Dutch public transportation system, a certain card is in use with so called “strippen” (“strips”). These have to be stamped when travelling by bus, tram or metro.
This so called “strippenkaart” can be bought at several locations: at the ticket office of the Dutch railroads, at the ticket office of the local tramcompany, at the Albert Heijn and at the post office.
Two kinds of “strippenkaarten” exist: the blue “strippenkaart” for ‘normal’ users, and there’s the pink “strippenkaart” for users in the ‘discount categories’ (elderly people (65+), students, little children).
“Strippenkaarten” – both blue and pink – come in two sizes: 15 strips and 45 strips. Using a “strippenkaart” is cheaper than buying a separate ticket in bus or tram. A bus/tram subscription is nevertheless the cheapest…
(Photo: Tnarek Innael ( – some rights reserved.)

1. “Heb jij een strippenkaart? Anders moet ik een kaartje bij de trambestuurder kopen.”
(“Do you have a bus and tram card? Otherwise I have to buy a ticket from the tram driver.”)

2. “Mevrouw, u heeft niet voldoende strippen afgestempeld, ik ben bang dat we u een boete moeten geven.”
(“Madam, you have not stamped enough strips, I’m afraid that we’re going to have to give you a fine.”), see also ‘Extra’.

Related words:
1. “Openbaar vervoer” or “OV”: public transportation.

2. “Kaartje”: ticket (for a ride on the tram, literally: “little card”).

3. “Enkeltje”: one-way ticket (literally: “little single”).

4. “Retourtje”: return ticket (literally: “little return”).

Extra on “Stempelen” (“Stamping”): validating your strippenkaart
The number of strips that has to be stamped equals the number of public transportation zones that are travelled in, plus 1 (Dutch logic…). In a bus, stamping is done by the driver only. In the tram in The Hague, stamping is done by either the driver, or by oneself in the designated stamping machines. In Amsterdam stamping is often done by a designated person who sits in a cabin in the middle or back of the tram.
One who uses a “strippenkaart” for the first time, is advised to do this in the company of an experienced traveller 😉


tram, streetcar [noun] [de tram, de trams; ‘trem’]

Amsterdamse tramThe “tram” is a very common means of transportation in some of the bigger cities in The Netherlands. It is a vehicle, conducted through rails, for short distance transport of passengers, with a maximum speed of approximately 50 km/h.
(Photo by Maurizio Mori ( – some rights reserved.)

You can turn “tram” into a verb by adding -en. The verb “trammen” translates to “to go by tram”, but is more common to say: “met de tram gaan/reizen” (“to go/travel by tram”).

When riding your bicycle you have to be careful when you try to cross the tram tracks; you are in big trouble if your front wheel is caught in the rails!

1. “Trams hebben bijna altijd voorrang.”
(“Trams almost always have right of way.”)

2. “Voor korte afstanden kun je beter met de fiets gaan dan met de tram.”
(“For short distances you had better go by bicycle than by tram.”)

“Onder de tram komen.”
(Literally: “To wind up under the tram.”)

This expression can often be heard in project meetings where it is used to express fear of losing corporate knowledge.

“En wat gebeurt er met het project als Frank onder de tram komt?”
(“<worried:> So what happens to the project if Frank winds up under the tram/if he’s hit by a tram?”)