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In a sudden wave of gender neutral ‘awareness’ flooding the Western European continent, the Dutch National Railway Company (NS) is next in line to chip in. The company will no longer begin announcements in their trains and on stations with the old-fashioned “Ladies and gentlemen“, but will instead to use the phrase “Dear travellers“.

The announcement came last week after the London Tube and the city of Amsterdam announced similar measures to be more inclusive and accommodate those who do not identify as either male or female.

NS director Roger van Boxtel said:

“It is a small change, but at the same time, it makes a lot of sense that we would like to address those travelling with us as what they are to us? Namely, dear travellers. Our people want everyone to feel welcome”.

The conductors that are present in the trains are still allowed to use the gendered terminology of ladies and gentlemen in individual conversations, but are requested not to use it during train-wide announcements.

The change will take place after the 10th of December this year, as most announcements are automated and will need to recorded anew. A total of 24.000 automated messages is heard daily across Dutch train stations. Earlier, the cards that Dutch travellers use to check into public transport had the gender of the cardholder removed from the card. The cards are issued on an individual basis so they still hold someone’s name and picture, but not their gender.