The adsorption/absorption of hydrogen and the adsorption of carbon monoxide by niobium foils, at room temperature, was studied using thermal desorption spectroscopy. Two hydrogen desorption peaks were observed with a maximum at 404 and 471 K. The first hydrogen desorption peak is regarded as hydrogen desorbing from surface sites while the second peak, which represents desorption from surface sites stronger bound to the surface, also has a component—due to its tailing to higher temperatures—of hydrogen diffusing from subsurface sites. Carbon monoxide adsorption was used to determine the number of surface sites, since it does not penetrate below the surface. Two carbon monoxide desorption peaks are observed in these experiments: at 425 and 608 K. The first peak is regarded as the adsorption of molecular carbon monoxide, and the second, as carbon monoxide dissociated on the niobium surface. The crystallographic orientation of the foils was determined by x-ray diffraction and showed a preferential (110) orientation of the untreated foil due to the effect of cold rolling. This preferential orientation decreased after hydrogen/heat treatment, appearing strong also in the (200) and (211) orientations. This change in texture of the foils is mainly due to the effect of heat treatment and not to hydrogen adsorption/desorption cycling. The kinetics of hydrogen and CO desorption is compared with that of Pd and Pd alloys.