‘Dear travellers, your train will now be departing from..’

Dutch Rail will be addressing the public with the gender neutral ‘Dear traveller’ in a move to be more inclusive.

The rail company is following in the footsteps of London Underground which is addressing its travellers with a slighty less formal ‘Hello everyone’. In a similar move Amsterdam city council recently presented a language guide to encourage staff to use ‘Amsterdammers’ instead of ‘ladies and gentlemen’.

According to an NS press release the company considered an announcement that went ‘Dear ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, LGBTQIA+’ too long and cumbersome and decided to plump for ‘Dear travellers’, both in its announcements and its correspondence.

Logical

‘It’s a small change but a logical one. Why not call people by what they are to us, i.e. dear travellers? Our train staff want everybody to feel welcome. We also feel that ladies and gentlemen is a bit formal for this day and age,’ NS director Roger van Boxtel said.

‘Ladies and gentlemen’ will not be banned but the new standard will be ‘Dear travellers’, the NS said.

According to Marco Altena of Trainbow, an organisation that promotes diversity in the NS, the move is an encouraging one. ‘The group of transgender people is becoming more visible and this has great symbolic value. Everyone feels included with this new form of addressing people, including people who feel neither like a ‘lady’ nor a ‘gentleman’.’

From December 10, when the new railway schedule will be introduced, all 24,000 automatically generated announcements on Dutch trains will have been adapted. Intercity train staff, who do their own announcements, will be asked to conform to the new standard, NS said.