Below you can find some interesting resources. Please note that we are not sponsored by any of these companies. We show these sources to support anyone who wants to travel ‘greener’.
For your train travels
In this blog, we give several tips on how to plan for your sustainable travel. Below you can find a consolidated version.
Planning your journey
- Ask friends or colleagues (including those at the secretary offices) with more experience for help
- Try and see how you can get the most out of the trip: can you combine your conference or project visit with working remotely at a partner university along the route, or take the time for some nice holidays?
- By the end of 2023, the TU/e is expected to publish a map of places easily accessible by train from Eindhoven. Until then, you may find this overview from Utrecht University with travel time and CO2 comparisons for different journeys a good starting point. Alternatively, you can use this Interrail railroad map.
- The NS international website also gives some information on popular international routes, or switch to Trainline or simply Google Maps.
- The Trainline-booking website can also give a (near-)complete overview of prices and specific journey options.
- You can also consider taking a night train. The Nightjet train, for example, travels from Amsterdam, Utrecht or Arnhem to many locations outside of the Netherlands. There is often quite a large variation in seat options, from (not so comfortable) chairs to private cabins which can be perfect if you travel together. Women can also opt for ‘female-only’ cabins.
- Want to know more details of what to expect? Check out Seat61, with many blog posts about various train journeys including pictures of different train interiors.
Booking a train
- You can check options at various international train booking websites:
- NS international has a very helpful service desk, both physical (in Amsterdam, Arnhem, Rotterdam, Schiphol and Utrecht) and via phone (+31 30 23 000 23). If you plan on taking a bicycle you need to book in person.
- Sometimes you need a credit card or PayPal to book. If you do not own one, perhaps your secretariat can help, or you can try another website.
- Although it might seem nice to opt for the quickest journey, take enough time for transfers.
- Reserve a seat if you can, even if this is not mandatory.
- For an additional fee, you can usually make it easier to change or cancel your journey.
- Double check departure dates!
- Did you know interrail is not just for adolescents? They can provide an affordable and flexible (last-minute!) options. E.g. for 270EUR you can travel 4 days in 1 month (do the test what pass suits you best here). Note that reservation costs for specific legs may increase costs somewhat more and you do need to book your seat which may include an extra fee, you can check your specific reservation requirements here.
- Do you travel by train to a specific country a lot? A discount card may be useful. Also make sure to tick the boxes of your Dutch discount card if you own one.
Enjoying the ride
- You can download the travel app of the country you travel in on your smartphone, or the app of the train company you travel with.
- Print your tickets. In most countries a QR-code or ticket on your smartphone is fine, but better safe than sorry.
- If you feel a transfer time might be tight, you can often travel half an hour or an hour early in a similar train type with your own ticket (always the case in the NL!).
- Make sure to know what to do in case your train is cancelled our you miss your transfer. Figuring this out beforehand can safe you a lot of stress.
- Take additional time for customs. If your train takes you outside the EU, customs will be part of your train journey. It differs per journey what these will look like.
- Wi-fi may be available on the train but the signal strength varies so you may want to bring other forms of work or entertainment.
- Pack for snacks! You may have delays and shorter transfer times than anticipated so it is nice to not have to get anxious over water or food.
- It can be nice to have one bag(pack) with your valuables, tickets, food and on-board activity gear by hand, and a separate bag with luggage which you can store under or above your seat.
- Note that sometimes you need to switch train stations within a city. Know how you will change stations.
During the journey
- Relax! Since you are not driving the train, there is nothing much you can do about delays and what not. Checking train times every five minutes, is not helping anyone.
- Do check whether your next train is delayed, canceled, or departs from a different platform when you near your stop.
- When in doubt, ask a staff member on board or go to an information booth at the train station. Especially if you are new to international train it can be comfortable to book through NS international, as they are available via phone 24/7, quite helpful, and fluent in Dutch and English.
Want to estimate the carbon footprint of your academic travels? Find out with the calculators below.
- Flight carbon footprint calculator. This is a good tool for determining the carbon footprint of a concrete trip that you are planning. It is easy to use and lets you compare different possible modes of travel for your trip.
- Carbon offset calculator. With this handy calculator you can calculate the carbon emission and offset of your flight. It also proposes some options for offsetting your carbon!
- For Good app. This app gives an easy way to track your travel and consumption related carbon footprint.
- The website Ecopassenger helps you to calculate the emissions of your trip and compares the emissions for different vehicles. You can find Ecopassenger here: Ecopassenger.
- The webiste Green Tickets not only helps you in comparing the carbon emissions of different modes of travel, but also shows you directly where you can book your ticket, plus the estimated price and duration of the trip. This way, you can find your own balance between time, price and climate: Greentickets to plan your travels.
In this opinion article, written and signed by academics from different Dutch Universities, the importance of conferences is discussed, as well as the costs thereof. In her opinion article, Lorena Villanueva Almanza also discusses online conferences, mainly from the inclusivity perspective. There are, however, many different platforms for hosting a hybrid or online conference. Here are a few we lined up for you:
- Microsoft Teams
- Google Hangouts
Low carbon travel is gaining lots of attention. Below are some interesting articles from other sources.
- Science should play an exemplary role in society. Post-doc Cody Hochstenbach from UvA about why 2020 should be the year of the non-flying academic.
- The Utrecht University has developed a map to indicate which destinations are perfect for train travel, and for which destinations taking a plane might be the better alternative: Utrecht University trainzone map.
ProRail is planning to make Eindhoven an international train-hub. ProRail, which manages major parts of the Dutch train tracks, has recently announced its plans for Eindhoven. These plans include connections to Antwerp and Düsseldorf, making sustainable travel more comfortable and easier.
Prefer to travel by car? Student team TU/ecomotive has revealed Luca, a car largely made from recycled material. Their interview with TU/e magazine Cursor can be found here.
Not just academia is taking steps in the right direction. In the new employment agreement of the Dutch Government officials (Rijksambtenaren), traveling sustainably was included and employees ware urged to opt for the the train instead of plane. More generally, the Dutch Ministries are becoming aware of the impact of their travel behaviour. A recent study shows that the air travel of Ministry employees makes up for over 20 percent of the total CO2 emissions of the Ministries.
- De Jonge Akademie (or Young Academy), a platform of top young scientists and scholars in the Netherlands, has published a report on flying in academia. And yes, De Jonge Akademie mentiones our initiative in this report!