Section 1 General information and material accounting policies

General Information

NV Nederlandse Spoorwegen has its registered office on Laan van Puntenburg in Utrecht, the Netherlands (Chamber of Commerce number 30012558). The company’s consolidated financial statements for the 2023 financial year include the company and its subsidiaries (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Group’) and the Group’s share in associates and companies that it controls jointly with third parties. NV Nederlandse Spoorwegen is the holding company of NS Groep NV, which in turn is the holding company of the operating companies that carry out the Group’s various business operations. The figures for the consolidated financial statements of NS Groep NV are materially the same as the consolidated figures for NV Nederlandse Spoorwegen. The operating companies of NS Groep NV are listed in note 34. The Group's activities consist mainly of passenger transport, the management and development of property and the operation of station locations.

The Executive Board prepared the financial statements on 20 February 2024. In its preliminary report to the General Meeting of Shareholders, the Supervisory Board advised that the financial statements should be adopted unaltered. On 20 February 2024, the Executive Board and Supervisory Board approved the publication of the financial statements. Adoption of the financial statements is on the agenda of the General Meeting of Shareholders on 6 March 2024.

In accordance with Section 402(1) of Book 2 of the Dutch Civil Code, the company financial statements of NV Nederlandse Spoorwegen only include an income statement in abbreviated form.

Acquisition and disposal of companies

On 28 February 2023, the group transferred its shares in Abellio Transport Group Ltd to Transport UK Group Ltd, a British entity owned by local management. As of the transfer date, Abellio Transport Group Ltd and its group companies are no longer consolidated. See note 1 for a further explanation.

The notes to the financial statements have been prepared exclusive of discontinued operations, unless stated otherwise.

Material accounting policies

Below is a description of the material accounting policies for consolidation, the measurement of assets and liabilities and the determination of the result of the Group. These policies are in accordance with IFRS, insofar as they are accepted by the EU, and are applied consistently to all information that is presented. Furthermore, insofar as applicable, the financial statements comply with the legal regulations as included in Title 9 of Book 2 of the Dutch Civil Code. The Group applies the historical cost price system as measurement basis, unless stated otherwise.

Valuation of provision for soil decontamination

For the provision for soil remediation, NS applies a change in accounting estimate, based on experience figures, to better align with the actual time period for which pollution cases are remediated. Practice shows that the timing of remediation of soil contamination cases is further into the future than initially estimated. The soil remediation burden has been calculated in the past by discounting the remediation burden over a period up to and including 2030. Based on experience figures, this assumption is no longer realistic. Contamination cases whose schedule is unknown are discounted over 15 years from 2023, until the end date of these cases is in sight. From that point on, the end date will be used.

The change in estimate resulted in a release of the provision of €2 million in 2023. The release consists of two opposite effects: the change in estimate increases the cost of indexation in future years by €10 million on the one hand, and the discounting of the provision over a longer period decreases the provision value at 31 December 2023 by €12 million on the other. The present value effect will lead to higher interest expenses in the future, up to and including 2038, of €12 million as well.

Important (result) developments

The structurally changed passenger behaviour after the COVID-19 pandemic and high inflation affected the 2023 result. The UK business was sold with effect from 28 February 2023. The results for 2022 and 2023 are presented under discontinued operations (see note 1).

The Group's result from continuing operations is €390 million negative partly due to impairment losses in the Netherlands for a net amount of €318 million (consisting of an impairment of €402 million and a lower depreciation charge of €84 million) and Germany for €121 million (note 15). In addition, the result from continuing operations was positively impacted by the release of provisions amounting to €136 million (note 30) and additional contributions from the Dutch government amounting to €60 million (note 2).

The net financing result amounts to €43 million positive (2022: €173 million positive). The positive financing result is largely caused by a release of anticipated liabilities and guarantees in relation to the insolvency proceedings in Germany of €66 million (2022: €77 million).

A tax income of €107 million has been recognised (2022: € 37 million tax expense). The effective tax rate differs slightly from the regular tax rate. This is mainly caused by the aforementioned financing results (Germany) not being taxed (see note 10) and the non-measurement of the deferred loss compensation of the German operations.

The following events have had a substantial impact on the Group’s financial figures:

  • In response to changed economic conditions in the Netherlands and following the signing of the main rail network franchise for the period 2025-2033, a reassessment of the impairment losses recognised in 2020 took place in 2023 (see note 15). This reassessment led to an impairment loss of € 402 million.

  • Since 31 May 2022, Abellio Transport Group Ltd and its group companies (hereinafter ‘Abellio UK’) have been presented as ‘assets and liabilities held for sale’. On 28 February 2023, the transaction was finalised with the transfer of the shares in Abellio Transport Group Ltd to Transport UK Group Ltd, a British entity owned by local management. As of the transfer date, Abellio UK is no longer consolidated. The net results of the discontinued operations in the United Kingdom are stated under ‘Result from discontinued operations’ (see note 1). See note 23 for information about the assets that have arisen since the termination of operations in the United Kingdom.

  • In Germany, it was deemed necessary to effect a restructuring operation by means of insolvency proceedings instituted by the company itself, with effect from 30 June 2021, in order to prevent continuation of loss-making operations. Under these preliminary proceedings, the former shareholders lost their control of the company. In 2022, Abellio Germany finalised its restructuring operation for several entities and NS, by repurchasing the shares, regained control over PTS GmbH (as at 1 February 2022), WestfalenBahn GmbH (as at 1 March 2022) and Abellio Rail Mitteldeutschland GmbH (as at 1 July 2022). Since then, these entities have been reconsolidated. The onerous DISA contract will be continued by Abellio Rail Mitteldeutschland until December 2024, at NS’s expense. The activities in North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg were terminated in January 2022 and transferred to operators appointed by the Passenger Transport Authorities (PTAs), as an agreement could not be reached with the PTAs on additional compensation for operating the franchises. The allocation of the purchase price of PTS GmbH, WestfalenBahn GmbH and Abellio Rail Mitteldeutschland GmbH was finalised in 2023. The resulting negative effect of €5 million has been taken retrospectively to the 2022 net financing result. For further explanation, see note 32.

  • Pressure on operating results in Germany due to poor operating performance, combined with the negative impact of higher personnel and energy costs on operating results after 2023, prompted an impairment test. This resulted in an impairment loss of €121 million (see note 15).

  • In the insolvency proceedings regarding the former German holding Abellio GmbH, the trustee has reached agreement with the creditors and NS. The agreement will serve to settle the bankruptcy, a process that will take some time. The provision as at 31 December 2023 has been aligned with the outcome of the proceedings; see note 30 for further explanation.

A more detailed analysis of the result is included in the ‘Finance in brief’ section of the NS Annual Report.

Going concern assumption

The Group prepared the financial statements for the 2023 financial year on a going concern basis, which assumes the continuity of ongoing business activities and the realisation of assets and settlement of liabilities as part of its normal business activities.

The Group has prepared financial forecasts, among other things for the 12 months from the date of approval of these financial statements. The Group has concluded that it is appropriate to prepare the financial statements on a going concern basis and that there is no material uncertainty. To reach this conclusion, the Group has calculated several scenarios, and there is room in each of the scenarios for possible disappointing revenues and/or expenses.

The key assumptions and uncertainties in the Group’s liquidity forecast relate to:

  • lower revenues from passengers relative to 2019 as a result of changes in passenger demand. For 2023, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management has pledged to provide a one-off transition safety net of €150 million for the entire sector. NS’s share is expected to amount to €45 million. No pledges have been made for the period thereafter. An 80% advance of the public transport safety net was received in 2023. The Group expects to receive the remaining 20% in 2024;

  • compensation for a foregone 2024 fare increase for the amount of €120 million in 2024;

  • uncertainties about cost levels due to shortages on the labour market, raw material prices and inflation;

  • positive cash flows from the settlement of the old franchises and claims in the UK amounting to around €90 million;

  • the student public transport contract. The point of departure is that this will continue in its regular form, and these revenues for 2025 will be received in full in advance in the financial forecast period;

  • timing and scope of investments in new rolling stock.

The liquidity available to the Group at the end of 2023 amounts to €1,074 million. This amount includes investments in two money market funds amounting to €614 million. The Group arranged two loans totalling €170 million in 2023 on a 'forward' basis for deposit in 2024, of which €50 million will be paid by 30 April 2024 and €120 million by 2 July 2024.

The Group can also make use of credit facilities totalling € 830 million. Of these credit facilities:

  • €500 million relates to a so-called revolving credit facility (available until 20 December 2027);

  • €200 million relates to a credit facility (available until 12 May 2024). This facility is used to raise a long-term loan repayable in parts with a maturity of four years;

  • €130 million relates to a financing facility (available until 17 December 2024), under which one or more straight-line repayable long-term loans can be raised with a maximum maturity of 15 years.

The Group expects to be able to make use of alternative financing options should the situation so require.

Based on the above, the Group concludes that it is appropriate to prepare the financial statements on a going concern basis and that there is no material uncertainty.

New standards and amendments to standards that are mandatory from 2023

As of 1 January 2023, the Group has adopted the following new standards and amendments to standards, including all consequent changes deriving from them in other standards. These new or amended standards have not had a significant impact on the Group's consolidated financial statements:

  • amendments to IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements and IFRS Practice Statement 2: Disclosure of accounting policies (effective 1 January 2023);

  • amendments to IAS 8 Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors: Definition of accounting estimates (effective 1 January 2023);

  • amendments to IAS 12 Income Taxes: Deferred tax in respect of assets and liabilities arising from a single transaction (effective 1 January 2023);

  • IFRS 17 Insurance contracts; including amendments to IFRS 17 (effective 1 January 2023);

  • amendments to IFRS 17 Insurance contracts: Initial application of IFRS 17 and IFRS 9 – Comparative figures (as at 1 January 2023);

  • international tax reform–- Second pillar model rules – Amendments to IAS 12. The changes to IAS 12 were introduced in response to the OECD's Pillar II BEPS rules and include:

    • a mandatory temporary exception to the recognition and disclosure of deferred taxes resulting from jurisdictions' implementation of the second-pillar model rules; and

    • disclosure requirements for covered entities to help users of financial statements better understand an entity's exposure to second-pillar income taxes arising from that legislation, particularly before its effective date. The mandatory temporary exception – the use of which must be made public – applies immediately. The other disclosure requirements apply to annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2023.

  • Pillar two legislation is in force in the jurisdictions in which the Group operates. The legislation will be effective for the Group's financial year beginning 1 January 2024. The Group has estimated its potential exposure to pillar two taxes. This assessment is based on the latest available information on the financial performance of the constituent entities in the Group. Based on the assessment conducted, NS will use the temporary safe harbour arrangement in the countries where it operates.

New standards and amendments to standards that are mandatory from 2024 or later

The Group has not voluntarily applied new standards, amendments to existing standards or interpretations that are mandatory only with effect from the financial statements for 2024 or later.

The following new or amended standards have no significant impact on the consolidated financial statements of the Group:

  • amendments to IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements classification of liabilities as current or non-current (effective 1 January 2024);

  • amendments to IFRS 16: lease liability in a sale and lease back (effective 1 January 2024);

  • amendments to IAS 7 The statement of cash flows and IFRS 7 Financial instruments: Disclosure: Supplier finance agreements (issued 25 May 2023);

  • Amendments to IAS 21 The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates: Lack of redeemability (issued 15 August 2023).

Estimates and assessments

The preparation of the financial statements requires the Executive Board to make judgements and estimates that affect the application of accounting policies and the reported value of assets and liabilities and of income and expenses. The estimates and corresponding assumptions are based on experiences from the past and various other factors that could be considered reasonable under the circumstances. The actual results may differ from these estimates. The estimates and underlying assumptions are reviewed on a regular basis. Revisions of estimates are recognised in the period in which the estimate is revised or in future periods if the revision relates to those periods.

The most important estimates and assessments concern:

  • going concern assumption (as included above in the ‘Going concern assumption’ section);

  • expected cash flows due to discontinuation of UK operations (note 1);

  • impairments (note 15);

  • deferred tax assets (note 11);

  • trade and other receivables (note 18);

  • other provisions and off-balance sheet arrangements (note 30 and note 33).

The policies for financial reporting set out below have been applied consistently to all the periods presented in these financial statements.

Accounting policies for consolidation


The Group has control over an entity if its involvement with that entity means that the Group is exposed to or is entitled to variable returns and that it has the power to influence those returns by virtue of its say in that entity. The financial statements of the subsidiaries are incorporated in the consolidated financial statements as from the date on which control commences until the date on which control ceases.

In the event of a loss of control over the subsidiary, the subsidiary's assets and liabilities, any minority interests and other equity components associated with the subsidiary are no longer recognised in the balance sheet. Any surplus or deficit is recognised in the income statement. If the Group retains an interest in the former subsidiary, that interest is recognised at fair value as at the date on which control ceases.

Acquisition of subsidiaries

Business combinations are recognised according to the acquisition method as at the date on which control is transferred to the Group. The remuneration for the acquisition is assessed at its fair value, as are the net identifiable assets that are acquired. Any goodwill deriving from this is assessed annually for impairments. Any book profit from a bargain purchase is recognised directly in the income statement. Transaction costs are recognised at the time when they are incurred.

Elimination of transactions on consolidation

Intra-group balances and transactions plus any unrealised gains and losses on transactions within the Group or revenues and expenses from such transactions are eliminated. Unrealised gains arising from transactions with investments accounted for using the equity method are eliminated in proportion to the Group's interest in the investment. Unrealised losses are eliminated in the same way as unrealised gains, but only insofar as impairment is not indicated.

Assets held for sale and discontinued operations

The Group classifies non-current assets and groups of assets disposed of as held for sale if their carrying amount will be recovered principally through a sales transaction and not through their continued use. Non-current assets classified as held for sale are recognised at the lower of carrying amount and fair value less costs to sell. The criteria for classification as held for sale are considered met only when the sale is highly probable and the asset or group of assets being disposed of is immediately available for sale in its current condition. Actions required to complete the sale must indicate that it is unlikely that significant changes will be made to the sale or that the decision to sell will be reversed. Management must be committed to the plan to sell the asset, and the sale is expected to be completed within one year of the date of classification.

An activity is disclosed as a discontinued operation if it is a part of the Group that has either been disposed of or classified as held for sale, represents a separate major line of business or geographic area of operations and is part of one coordinated plan to dispose of a separate major line of business or geographic business area.

Tangible, intangible and right-of-use assets are not written down once they are classified as held for sale. Assets and liabilities classified as held for sale are presented separately as current assets or current liabilities.

Discontinued operations are excluded from the results of continuing operations and are presented as a single amount as profit or loss after tax from discontinued operations in the income statement.

Additional information is provided in note 1. All other notes to the financial statements contain amounts for continuing operations, unless otherwise stated.

Foreign currency

Foreign currency transactions

Transactions denominated in foreign currency are translated to the functional currency of the Group entity concerned at the exchange rate prevailing on the date of the transaction. Monetary assets and liabilities that are denominated in foreign currencies are translated to the functional currency at the exchange rate prevailing on the balance sheet date. Non-monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currency that are measured at fair value are translated to the functional currency using the exchange rates that prevailed at the dates when the fair values were determined. Non-monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currency that are measured at historical cost are not retranslated.

The exchange rate differences arising on translation of the following items are recognised in other comprehensive income:

  • financial liabilities that are designated as a hedge of the net investment in a foreign operation;

  • qualifying cash flow hedges, insofar as the hedge is effective.

Foreign operations

The assets and liabilities of foreign operations, including goodwill and fair value adjustments arising on consolidation, are translated into euros at the exchange rates prevailing on the reporting date. The revenues and expenses of foreign operations are translated into euros at the average exchange rate, which approximates the exchange rate on the transaction date.

Currency translation differences are included in the other comprehensive income and accounted for in the translation reserve. If the Group ceases to have control, significant influence or joint control due to the disposal of a foreign operation, the cumulative amount in the translation reserve will be reclassified to profit or loss when the profit or loss from the disposal is recognised. If the Group only sells part of its interest in a subsidiary, while retaining control, a proportionate share of the cumulative amount will be reassigned to the minority interest. If the Group only sells part of its interest in an associate or joint venture, while retaining significant influence or joint control, a proportionate share of the cumulative amount will be re-allocated to the income statement.

Determination of fair value

A number of the Group's accounting policies and disclosures require the determination of fair value, for both financial and non-financial assets and liabilities. Fair values for measurement and/or disclosure purposes were determined using the following methods:

Investment property

In view of the nature, diversity and locations (station areas), the fair value of the investment property portfolio is not determined on a regular basis unless impairment is indicated. The fair value is expected to exceed the carrying amount of the investment property. Investment property is measured at cost less accumulated depreciation and accumulated impairment losses.

Investments in non-current financial assets

The fair value of investments in debt instruments is determined using the price on the reporting date. The fair value of the equity investment (Eurofima) has been determined on the basis of the latest available financial statements.


The fair value of derivatives is based on derivative market quotations, taking account of current interest rates and the estimated creditworthiness of the contract counterparties.

Assets held for sale

The assets held for sale are stated at fair value, with the fair value being based on the direct realisable value less expected costs to sell.

Non-derivative financial liabilities

The fair value of non-derivative financial liabilities is determined for disclosure purposes and is calculated based on the present value of future repayments and interest payments, discounted at the market interest rate as at the reporting date.

Segmented information

The Group is under no obligation to comply with the requirements of IFRS 8 because it is not listed on a stock exchange. Segment information with a breakdown of revenue and FTEs by geographical area has been included in order to comply with the requirements of Dutch legislation and regulations.

Accounting policies for the consolidated cash flow statement

The cash flow statement is drawn up using the indirect method, using a comparison between the initial and final balances for the financial year in question. The result is then adjusted for changes that did not generate revenue or expenses during the financial year. The cash flows from discontinued operations are included separately in the cash flow statement in order to reconcile with the various items in the financial statements.

Print page