A key travel crossroads in Europe, Amsterdam is conveniently accessible by air, rail, bus, ferry and road. Public transport services are extensive and cycling throughout the city is the norm.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is one of the world’s most modern and efficient airports, echoed by its designation as ‘Best Airport in Europe’ (and fourth-best in the world) in the 2007 Business Traveller Awards. Some 110 airlines serve more than 47 million passengers at Schiphol, travelling on 153 European and 109 intercontinental routes.
As one of the most conveniently accessible airports in Europe, travel between Schiphol and Amsterdam’s city centre only takes 15 minutes by train. The platforms sit just below ‘Schiphol Plaza’, a central hub that connects arrival/departure halls and includes shops, cafés and information desks.
Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) is the Dutch Railways company, which transports nearly one million travellers daily, over the busiest railway network in the world. While the NS group reaches to all corners of the Netherlands, NS Hispeed operates international routes in collaboration with several high-speed European networks. These include Thalys, ICE, TGV, CityNightLine and Eurostar; they serve dozens of daily routes from destinations such as Brussels (2 hrs 45 min), Frankfurt (4 hrs) and Paris (4,6 hours).
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Amsterdam Centraal Station are just two of the 9 main junctions in the city.
Long-distance Euroline busses connect Amsterdam with most European cities. Within the Netherlands, busses are widely used for regional transport and to reach even the tiniest of villages. They also fill the rail gaps in the north and east of the country. Bus stations are typically situated adjacent to main railway stations and/or in town centres.
Several ferries operate routes between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. These include:
- Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland) to/from Harwich, UK
- Europoort (near Rotterdam) to/from Hull, UK
- IJmuiden (near Amsterdam) to/from Newcastle, UK
- IJmuiden to/from Kristiansand, Norway
By public transport
Although the city centre’s compact size means that most areas and sights are within walking distance of each other, Amsterdam’s public transport network (called ‘GVB’, a Dutch acronym) is efficient, reliable, inexpensive and widely used. One million passengers criss-cross the city by tram, bus, underground metro line and ferry every day.
Amsterdam is surrounded by the ring road A10. The s-routes indicate the city routes that guide motorists into the city centre. Each exit of the ring road A10 is numbered, from s101 to s118. The s-routes offer automobile traffic the fastest and most direct way into the city.
With 600,000 bicycles for its 750,000 residents, in Amsterdam it’s rare to for more than a few seconds to pass before a bike zips by. Cycling is a way of life here; Amsterdammers and the Dutch use their bicycles as a means of everyday transportation, whether commuting to work in a business suit, shopping for groceries or getting the kids to school. The 400 kilometres of bike lanes and paths in Amsterdam alone make it easy for visitors to experience the city by bike for themselves.
With beautiful scenery, flat landscapes and 15,000 kilometres of specially designated bicycle paths and routes, cycling throughout the Netherlands is not only practical, but also very enjoyable.
Facts and figures
Flight times to/from Amsterdam
London: 1 hr 10 min
Paris: 1 hr 15 min
Berlin: 1 hr 20 min
Stockholm: 2 hrs
New York City: 7 hr 30 min
International trains served
Thalys (Brussels, Paris, Marseille)
ICE international (Basel, Frankfurt)
CityNightLine (Copenhagen, Milan, Munich, Prague, Vienna, Zürich)
Eurostar (Brussels, London)
The Netherlands uses the euro as its currency. Major credit cards are accepted at most large businesses in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is on Central European Time (CET), one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The Netherlands does observe Central European Summer Time between March and October.