Polycentric metropolis backed by a high frequently operated train system. Intercity trains serve a number of cities and urban centres, including the international airport of Schiphol.


Prime domain(s)
Rail, Planning


Prime theme(s)
Urban mobility hubs


Additional theme(s)
Users & Services, Sustainability, Economics


Related showcases
Butterfly, Rotterdam Centraal, Den Haag Centraal, Arnhem Station, Spoorbeeld, Image of Rail (Spoorbeeld), Public Transport Smart Card


Lead partner
DRS & NGInfra


Second contact
Deltametropolis Association


Extended summary
Holland Metropolis (also known as ‘Randstad) entails three international nodes – Amsterdam Centraal, International Airport Schiphol and Rotterdam Centraal – all served by Intercity trains and high speed trains. There are seven main stations (for Intercity trains and regional trains) in Holland Metropolis, corresponding with four cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag (The Hague), Utrecht), one airport (Schiphol) and two urban precincts and their stations (Amsterdam-Zuid, Den Haag Holland Spoor). One can add some cities when Holland Metropolis is conceived in extended form (e.g. including the cities of Arnhem, Breda and Eindhoven)
Additionally Holland Metropolis comprises a series of secondary nodes served by Intercity and regional trains, for example the historic cities of Delft and Leiden, but also transfer-stations like ‘Laan van NOI’ in Den Haag, that offers connection to the regional light rail system of RandstadRail (also a DRS showcase).


Form (description
Polycentric metropolitan area and its train system. Main stations and subcentre stations in cities and in some of the precincts of these cities. At some of these stations the train system is connected to the main road system (e.g. highways).


Operation (usage)
Intercity trains and the high speed train Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Breda are operated by NS (the national railway company). These trains serve a number of cities and urban centres, including the international airport of Schiphol. ICE trains (Deutsche Bahn and NS) connect to Germany, while Thalys high speed trains offer connection to Antwerp, Brussels and beyond (Paris).


Performance (result)
A high share of transport by train within the city-to-city-corridors of central Holland Metropolis. Transit Oriented Development around main stations.




The concept of ‘Holland Metropolis’ is coined by DRS (backed by NGInfra research), though inspired by the Deltametropolis Association, a broad public organization which feels responsible for the sustainable development of Randstad Holland. Deltametropolis Association bring together businesses, public interest groups, research institutions and governments and provide an environment to work towards a socially supported design of the Randstad metropolitan area, focused on welfare, prosperity and strengthening its international competitiveness.
The Deltametropolis Association creates opportunities for the development of new ideas and to sharply discuss Randstad Holland outside the usual frameworks. It is a laboratory for agendizing innovative issues and a platform for boosting the debate on the future of Randstad Holland (or Holland Metropolis according DRS). The association thus aims to promote the discussion about the development of the region and to help ideas being applied in everyday practice.
A declaration by the spatial planning aldermen of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht regarding future urban development in The Netherlands. The cooperation between the four aldermen, which started in 1996, resulted in a common declaration concerning the strategy to transform the Randstad to a city-region of international size: a European Deltametropolis. The central concept in this strategy is growth. The development of the Deltametropolis is seen as a proces of growth which, from a historical viewpoint, already started centuries ago. During the second half of the 20th century an acceleration occurs and the birth of the European Union provides yet another stimulus. The essence of the 1998 declaration is summarized in article 2 of the regulations of the Deltametropolis Association, dated February 1998 (ISBN 90-76630-03-8).

Source: Deltametropolis Association (adapted by DRS)


Rob van der Bijl, De Randstad als showcase, Next Generation Infrastructures, Delft (NL) 2015/2016,
Arjan van Susteren,Metropolitan World Atlas, 010 Publishers, Rotterdam (NL) 2005.


Copenhagen-Malmö, Frankfurt-Wiesbaden-Mannheim, Rhein-Ruhr, Stockholm-Uppsala, Greater Los Angeles, Greater Paris.


Foreign potentials
Metropolises, metropolitan areas and urban regions worldwide.


Related projects and pilots
Abellio concessions UK: Greater Anglia, Merseyrail, Scotrail.
Explanation (texts by Abellio):
The Abellio Greater Anglia franchise began operating on 5 February 2012. It provides intercity, commuter and rural train services throughout the East of England, including the Stansted Express.
Merseyrail is an urban network of vital importance to the transport infrastructure of Liverpool and its environs, operating on the Wirral and Northern Lines within Merseyside. It is one of the most punctual and reliable railway networks in the UK, with consistently high scores for customer satisfaction.
Abellio ScotRail started operating on 1 April 2015. ScotRail provides passenger train services throughout Scotland with intercity, regional and suburban rail services across the Scottish national rail network.


Links (Deltametropolis Association)


Other media


Image credits
Deltametropolis Association
RVDB Urban Planning


Holland Metropolis