Latitude: 52.31, Longitude: 4.76
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the Netherlands' main international airport, located 20 minutes () southwest of Amsterdam, in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer. The airport's official English name, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, places the words in the Dutch order (Luchthaven Schiphol) instead of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (or Schiphol Airport Amsterdam) ...
Latitude: 51.96, Longitude: 4.44
Rotterdam The Hague Airport (formerly (Dutch): Rotterdam Airport,Vliegveld Zestienhoven), located north northwest Rotterdam, is the Netherlands' third largest airport, coming after Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Eindhoven Airport (measured in passengers) ...
Latitude: 52.19167, Longitude: 5.14694
Most international bus services are affiliated to Eurolines, which has a terminal at Amstel Station (train station, metro station 51, 53, 54, tram 12). One bus per day is usually the maximum frequency on these routes. There are other international bus services, but they are often aimed at very specific markets, e.g. Polish migrant workers. There are almost no long-distance internal bus services in the Netherlands, and none to Amsterdam.
The western part of the Netherlands has a dense (and congested) road network. Coming from the east (Germany), the A1 motorway leads directly to Amsterdam. On the A12 from Arnhem, change at Utrecht to the A2 northbound. From the south (Belgium), the A2 goes directly to Amsterdam: the A16 /A27 from Antwerp via Breda connects to the A2 south of Utrecht. From The Hague, the A4 leads to Amsterdam. All motorways to Amsterdam connect to the ring motorway, the A10. From this motorway, main roads lead radially into Amsterdam (the roads S101 through S118).
In most cases, you should want to avoid going to the city centre by car: traffic is dense and parking spaces are expensive and nearly impossible to find. Instead, when on the A10, follow the signs to one of the P+R-spots (P+R Zeeburg to the east, P+R ArenA and P+R Olympisch Stadion to the south, P+R Sloterdijk to the west). Here, you can park your car, and take public transport to the city centre, for a single fare. There are also a few places a short walk from outer tram stops to park for free.
The speed limit on Dutch motorways is 120 km/h, except where indicated. On the A10 ring motorway around Amsterdam, the maximum speed is 100 km/h, and 80 km/h on the Western section. These limits are strictly enforced and there are many speed cameras.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is one of the busiest airports in the world, situated 15 km south-west of the city. Jet2.com, Easyjet, now merged with Air France. With partner Delta Air Lines they offer worldwide connections. The US, Asia and Europe are particularly well served at Schiphol. British Airways offer up to 15 flights per day to 3 London Airports; Heathrow, Gatwick and London City
For very frequent visitors to Amsterdam (6 or more times a year) it may be useful to invest in a Privium card. This is available to EU passport holders only, but allows you to cut the queues at passport control. Instead of showing your passport you go to a special lane with an iris scanner, this will save a significant amount of time if the passport lines are long. Cost is currently €115 + €65 for a partner.
When leaving Amsterdam, give yourself enough time to get to your plane and through security (especially when flying to the United States)! Schiphol is a large airport - be there at least one hour in advance. If you have time to kill, drop into the Rijksmuseum's Schiphol branch, between E and F Pier (non-Schengen area airside), which is free and open 7AM-11PM daily.
The maritime Passenger Terminal Amsterdam is close to the city centre, but is only for cruise ships. The nearest ferry port is IJmuiden (ferry from Newcastle upon Tyne) with DFDS Seaways, who offer a daily overnight ferry services from Newcastle-upon-Tyne (North Shields) in the United Kingdom see (official site). 125km away by car there is a ferry terminal at Rotterdam Europoort (ferry from Kingston Upon Hull), and Hook of Holland (ferry from Harwich). it's about 80 km by the road to Amsterdam by the most direct route. Hook of Holland has an train station. Take the train to Schiedam or Rotterdam CS and from there a train to Amsterdam.
Most trains arrive and depart from Amsterdam Centraal Station (with one extra 'a' in Dutch), located between the old centre and the IJ waterfront. Other train stations are Duivendrecht, Bijlmer-ArenA, Amstel, Muiderpoort (all southeast), RAI, Zuid-WTC (both south), Lelylaan and Sloterdijk (both west). Schiphol airport also has its own train station, which functions as a major hub within the Netherlands. It has at least seven trains an hour to Amsterdam Central, with additional trains going to other Amsterdam stations.
Direct international trains run to Brussels (which is two and a half to three hours away and connects with Eurostar trains to London St Pancras and Ebbsfleet (Kent) in England), Paris, Cologne, Frankfurt, Berlin, Copenhagen, Milan, Zurich, Vienna, Prague and Moscow. See NS Hispeed for an international journey planner for trains into/out of the Netherlands.
It is only practical to use a car outside of the historic center; within the historic center, the traveller is advised to stay with public transport. In Amsterdam, a car is generally a liability and not an asset. Use a car only if you are going to an obscure location many miles out that is not served by public transport.
Driving around Amsterdam is a pain: many of the streets are narrow, the traffic (and parking) signs are baroque and obscure, and cyclists and pedestrians may get in your way. Plus, gas is about €8 (11 dollars) per gallon. You can try parking at one of the secured parking garages, for example under Museumplein, or near the Central Station, and then walk around the city centre, or use a tram. Car parking is very expensive in Amsterdam and it's often hard to find a place to park. You can choose to pay by the hour or for the whole day. Parking is free outside the centre on Sunday. There is always a spot available on the Albert Cuypstraat (which is a market during the rest of the week). From there, it is a 5 minute tram ride or 15 minute walk downtown.
Another option is to park your car further outside the city-centre. For € 5,50 you get a full day of parking and a return ticket downtown. The ride takes about 15 minutes. Look for the P+R (Park and Ride) signs.
You can also park for free in some parts of Amsterdam outside the city centre though this may be slowly changing. Parking is still free everywhere in Amsterdam-Noord, and you can just take the bus from the Mosplein stop to the city centre easily. Plenty of buses run through here.
Popular car rental chains operate in a smaller capacity in Amsterdam, including Avis and Budget Rent a Car, a week long rental from more popular chains can run anywhere from $275 US for a micro car to $1000 US for a luxury sedan.
A big project started in 2003 to build a new underground metro line to connect the north of Amsterdam with the south (the Noord/Zuidlijn or North/Southline). The project has proved somewhat of a disaster for the city government with big budget overruns and delays. Building in the wet underground of Amsterdam is difficult and some buildings along the line have sustained damage due to subsidence. For the visitor to Amsterdam, the only thing to note are the ongoing roadworks along the route of the metro line. Underground metro stations are still being built or finished and cause parts of roads to be blocked off for cars, busses and trams, often for the duration of months or longer. Usually you can pass on foot or bicycle. Currently (2010), in the city centre, building work is taking place at Central Station, Damrak, Rokin and Vijzelgracht/Weteringcircuit.
Amsterdam's centre is fairly small, and almost abnormally flat, so you can easily get to most tourist destinations on foot - from the train station, within half an hour.
A pleasant way to cover a lot of ground is to rent a bicycle. There are approximately 750,000 people living in Amsterdam and they own about 600,000 bicycles. The city is very, very bike-friendly, and there are separate bike lanes on most major streets. In the city centre, however, there is often not enough space for a bike lane, so cars and cyclists share narrow streets. Cyclists have the right of way. If you are not used to that, be very careful, and also watch out for other cyclists. Avoid getting your tire in the tram rails; it's a nasty fall. Always cross tram rails at an angle. There are bike rental shops at stations, and several others in and around the city centre. Bikes cost about € 9 to € 20 per day.
A good map for cycling (routes, repairs, rentals + also public transport) is Amsterdam op de fiets (a Cito-plan). When preparing a route, there's a digital bicycle route-planner for Amsterdam, see Routecraft.com
Bicycles can be taken for free on all ferries across the IJ, and on all metros and some carriages of tram 26 using the bike supplement fee (€1.50 in 2010) on the OV chipcard. Use the special bike racks, locations indicated by a bicycle sign on the outside of the carriage.
Make sure to get a good lock (or two), and to use it. Amsterdam has one of the highest bicycle theft rates in the world, see the Netherlands page. Note also that if buying a bike, prices that seem too good to be true are stolen bikes. Any bike offered for sale to passers-by, on the street, is certainly stolen. There's an old Amsterdam joke; When calling out to a large group cyclists passing by; "Hey, that's my bike!" about five people will jump off "their" bikes and start running.
Public transport within the city is operated by the GVB (Gemeentevervoerbedrijf). The tram (18 lines) is the main form of public transport system in the central area, and there are also dozens of (night-)bus routes. Regional buses, and some suburban buses, are operated by Connexxion and Arriva. All tram stops have a detailed map of the system and the surrounding area. You can also get a free public transport map at the GVB Tickets & Info offices (just outside Centraal Station).
There is a four line metro, including a short underground section in the city centre, that serves the neighborhoods of the South East. It takes 15-20 minutes from Centraal Station or Waterlooplein to the Bijlmer (Amsterdam Arena stadium, Heineken Music Hall and Pathe Arena cinema and IMAX). A fifth metro line, the north/south line, is currently under construction.
A fun way to travel is the GVB Stop/Go minibus that runs every 12 minutes between the Oosterdok, via Centraal Station and Leidseplein to the Waterlooplein. It follows the Prinsengracht and has no fixed stops; flag it down to stop. One-euro tickets are available from the driver, but GVB day passes are also valid.
A new national ticketing system has recently been introduced, based on a contactless card, called OV-chipkaart ("Public Transport chip card"). Since 3 June 2010, the old 'strippenkaart' system has been abandoned on all forms of public transport in Amsterdam, making the chipkaart the only valid way of travelling in Amsterdam. To travel with a card, one has to check in at the start of the journey and check out at the end by holding the card in front of the card reader.
Three types of OV-chipkaart are available:
Taxis in Amsterdam are plentiful but expensive. Hailing taxis on the street is generally not to be recommended unless you are going to a big landmark (e.g., Central Station or Schiphol). The recent liberalisation of the taxi service in Amsterdam has meant an influx of taxi drivers who have little or no clue of where they are going and who drive erratically and dangerously (e.g., driving on bicycle lanes instead of the main road or ignoring red lights). Tourists are advised to stick to public transport if at all possible. Only get into a taxi if you know the route yourself and are able to give directions to the taxi driver, and if you know roughly how much the journey ought to cost so you don't get cheated.
Some drivers, traditionally at Centraal Station or Leidseplein, will refuse short trips, or else they'll quote outrageously high fares, even though all taxis are metered. Even if you convince the driver to use the meter, he will often take a circuitous route that racks up >€15 or more on the meter. For reference, no trip within the historic centre should cost more than €10 or so.
The Netherlands (and Amsterdam) is in the middle of a huge taxi liberalization scheme which has been jarring to all involved. After many missteps, the government has introduced an unusual pricing scheme. First you feel sticker shock as the initial fare is now €7,50 (as of Feb 08). Luckily, that includes the first two kilometres of travel and there is no charge for waiting in traffic. If you need to run in somewhere, you need to negotiate a waiting fee with the driver. 50 cents per minute is customary.
Unlicensed, illegal, cabbies operate mainly in Amsterdam Zuidoost. These aren't easily recognized as such, and most certainly don't drive Mercedes cars. They are known as snorders and most easily reached by mobile phone. Rides within Amsterdam Zuidoost (the Bijlmer) range from €2.50 to €5, whereas Zuidoost-Center can run up to €12.50. Snorders have a shady reputation, so consider their services only if you are adventurous.
A Thai-influenced transportation service using three-wheeled, open-air (but covered) motorized vehicles was introduced in August 2007 and may be a more economical and fast way to get around the city centre compared to taxis. Tuk-tuk pricing is based on a zone system. Within a zone, a ride is €3.50 per person, €5.00 for 2 persons and €6.50 for 3. If you go to another zone, €3.50 is added (irrespective of number of persons). This service is handy if it is past the regular tram/bus/metro service hours (approximately half past midnight). They take reservations 24 hours a day on 0900 99 333 99 and there is a fee of €0.55 per call.
Holy mass in Catholic churches (Overview of cath. churches in Amsterdam (dutch):):