Dutch trains turn green — Atelier Pan

Dutch trains turn green

I’ve just arrived at Schiphol Airport about half an hour ago and now I’m sitting comfortably on the train on my way back to Delft. As some of you might know, I moved to Barcelona seven months ago and haven’t travelled by train as much since then.

While the train is gaining speed, I look around a bit and notice one of the screens near the entrance door of my railroad car. The message on the screen draws me in.

The screen tells me a story about a green train. Hmm, a green train… wind energy... that sounds interesting. The screen continues:

"With pride NS (Dutch Railways) and Eneco present the green train. The train can be seen all over The Netherlands and shows travellers that they will be able travel with less of an environmental impact in the very near future."

Apparently NS and Eneco have joined forces to make traveling by train a lot cleaner. As of now (2015) half of all the trains run on wind energy provided by Eneco. And they plan to take it even further. In 2018 all of the trains will run on wind energy.

Soon the wind will make trains go. There is no cleaner way to travel. Is there?


Travelling by train is already one of the cleanest way to travel. Right now, travelling by train already produces 75% less CO2 (carbondioxide) when compared to travelling by car. And in 2018 this will become even less.

If the NS and Eneco manage to make all trains run on wind energy by 2018, travelling by train will become CO2 neutral. 

atelier pan groene trein ns eneco green train sustainability

Update: As of the beginning of 2017 trains in The Netherlands now run on wind energy. Take a look at the website the NS and Eneco have set up to inform you: groenetrein.ns.nl

How great is that?!


To drive more attention to their green endeavour, NS and Eneco held a design contest: Who will create the best design for the green train? The winners are two Industrial Design Engineering students of TU Delft (Delft University of Technology).

Atelier Pan | Green Trains

With a clever use of colour, they managed to develop a pattern of squares in blue and yellow —the primary company colours of the NS— that will mix into green when the train moves.

Everybody that sees the train while it moves thinks that it’s a green train, but when the train stop at a station they’ll see that the train is blue and yellow instead —almost like a regular NS train.

Ingenious! I just love this kind of design thinking.


I believe this is a great example of sustainable branding. By making the transition to wind energy and developing this green train, NS has found a way to (re)connect with their environmentally conscious clients.

Traveling by train has been the cleanest way to travel in the minds of the people for decades. However, since the introduction of hybrid and electric cars this has become less and less so.

Add to this the fact that travelling by train has become more expensive every year, and you can understand that a lot of clients were ready to leave NS and choose other means of transportation.

By cleverly responding to the environment-related interests of their clients —such as saving resources, NS manages to keep them connected.

This way travelling by train is —and will remain to be, a great way for clients to do their part to help the environment.


Atelier Pan | Green Trains

With a green train, a design contest and a sustainability campaign —in trains, at the train station, in the media, and on social media & the internet, NS has been able to create a memorable visual identity that resonates with their environmentally conscious clients and (re)connects them to the NS brand.

How do you (re)connect with your clients?

I'd love to hear from you. Leave your comment below.

Be sustainable & attractive!


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