Getting to and around Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a multi-faceted city that blends history with a modern, urban flair. Seventeenth century buildings adorn a web of canals and bridges while cafés and restaurants fill corners and squares, making the city one of the most picturesque in Europe.
It is known for its world-famous museums, and must-sees on any visitor’s list include the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. You can also lose yourself in the various neighbourhoods, including the popular Jordaan and the more classic Oud Zuid. Across the river, the area of Amsterdam Noord (North) hosts many local art initiatives, as well as local breweries.
You can rent a bike and join thousands of locals navigating Amsterdam’s streets, take a boat tour through the canals or soak up the atmosphere on foot. Amsterdam is the perfect destination for pre- and post-conference visits.
How to get to Amsterdam
If you’re arriving by air, you’ll most likely be flying into Schiphol Airport, also known as Amsterdam Airport. The airport is located 9km southwest of Amsterdam and is very well connected with the city centre.
How to get from Schiphol Airport to the city centre
Direct trains to the Amsterdam Centraal Station run every 10 to 15 minutes from 06:00 until 30 minutes past midnight. The trip takes 15 to 20 minutes. Second-class tickets cost EUR 5.10 and can be purchased either at the ticket desk on the arrivals level or at the yellow machines using Euro coins or credit/debit cards. Tickets can also be bought online. These trains leave from Platforms 1, 2 or 3, which are all one floor below the airport terminal.
More information on buying tickets online can be found here: http://adaminfo.rgi.ticketbar.eu/en/ticketbar-amsterdam/train-from-schiphol-to-amsterdam-/
Buses depart every 30 minutes between 05:40 and 23:40. Tickets cost EUR 5 for a single journey and can be bought directly from the driver. The bus station is located outside the main entrance of the arrivals and train station level. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the city centre using a bus. Please note that there is limited service over the weekends.
- Schiphol hotel shuttles
The shuttles leave the airport every 10 minutes between 06:00 and21:00 from platform A7 outside the main entrance of the arrivals and train station level. A single journey costs EUR 17 for an adult and EUR 8 for children. They offer door-to-door services and may offer a complimentary airport shuttle service, depending on the chosen hotel.
Taxis can be taken outside the main entrance of the arrivals and train station level. The journey takes only 20 minutes in off-peak hours and costs between EUR 40 to EUR 50.
Getting around Amsterdam
Amsterdam boasts an impressive public transport network, including metros, buses, trams, ferries and trains, to help you get around the capital.
AIDS 2018 delegates can purchase an OV-chipcard upon arrival in Amsterdam Schipol airport. These cards may also be purchased on buses and trams. Money must be added to the empty OV-chipcard at one of the add value machines. Delegates may also add money or “recharge” the card online: https://en.gvb.nl/reizen/kaartje-kopen. All cards must be scanned entering and exiting the public transport. Trains are not included within the metro network of GVB. Train tickets can be bought at Schiphol Airport.
The compact size of Amsterdam means that almost everything is within walking distance of each other. Nevertheless the public transport network of bus, tram and metro is efficient, modern, reliable and inexpensive. GVB is the public transport company of Amsterdam. One million passengers within greater Amsterdam travel by tram, bus, metro and ferry every day. Fast metro lines transport large passenger flows from hotels to & from the RAI convention centre or RAI train station. Tram lines follow over ground scenic routes connecting and connect shorter distances while train service connects the airport with the city centre.
The NEW North-South (Noord-Zuid) metro line in Amsterdam has finally been completed and will be opened on July 22, 2018 (the first day of the conference!). You can see the new routes and lines on your conference city map AIDS 2018, which will be provided in your delegate bag. Please remember to check in and out for every trip. Trains are not within the network of GVB. Train tickets can be bought – for example - on Schiphol Airport.
The public transport app 9292 provides detailed travel advice for Amsterdam’s public transport network (available for Android, OSX, Blackberry and web version). More information on the public transport app 9292 can be found here: http://9292.nl/en
- I Amsterdam City Card
Explore the city with the I Amsterdam City Card
. The I amsterdam City Card is the most convenient and affordable way to experience Amsterdam. Visit world-class museums, unlimited access to Amsterdam's public transport system, a cruise through the charming canals and sample the local delicacies. Order your city card here
The I Amsterdam city card includes:
Note: Trains, including the train ride from Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport) to Amsterdam Central station, are not included in the I amsterdam City Card.
- Free entrance to museums, including Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Artis Royal Zoo, NEMO Science Museum, EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam Tulip museum and many more.
- Free unlimited access to Amsterdam’s public transport system (GVB) for 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours.
- Free Canal Cruise
- Free gifts and discounts
- A chance to explore the region
- Order your card online and the card will be home delivered (a maximum of 10 business days) or pick-up on arrival.
All of Amsterdam’s metro stations are gated by check-in and check-out ports, accessible only with a public transport chip card (OV-Chipkaart) or another valid travel card. If you are not in possession of a personal chip card, you can purchase a one-hour ticket or a rechargeable non-personalised public transport chip card at public transport company GVB service desks or vending machines at the station. Please note that the metro stations do not have manned service desks, but there may be an assistant on hand to help at ticket machines. Apart from Amsterdam Centraal Station, only two of the current metro stations are centrally located (Nieuwmarkt and Waterlooplein). For getting around in the city centre, you might consider walking, cycling or taking the tram and buses. However, the metro network is an especially efficient way to travel around the edges of the city.
Metro map: http://maps.gvb.nl/nl/lijnen?metro&show=away
Amsterdam’s bus network is extensive, connecting all neighbourhoods with other city areas and extending outwards into the Amsterdam metropolitan area.
The main bus companies include GVB (operating primarily within Amsterdam), Connexxion (R-Net) and EBS, with many routes operating to and from Amsterdam Centraal Station. Single-journey tickets or one-hour tickets can be purchased directly from the driver; however, it is well worth considering options such as 24-hour, 48-hour, 72-hour or 96-hour tickets (valid on GVB bus services). Please note that, since 1 February 2017, it is no longer possible to pay by cash on the night bus.
The Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket is excellent value if you plan to explore the region. All buses have check-in and check-out ports, meaning that travellers in possession of a public transport chip card (OV-Chipkaart) can travel more cheaply, only paying for the distance actually travelled.
More information can be found here: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/plan-your-trip/getting-around/public-transport/bus
Bus map: http://en.gvb.nl/reisinformatie/plattegronden/Pages/Lijnennetkaart.aspx
Amsterdam’s reliable and frequent tram service is one of the most popular aspects of its public transport network. Many of the city’s trams terminate at Amsterdam Centraal Station. There are two tram “stations” at the front of Centraal Station: one on the east side and one on the west side. They are just a short walk from each other and, from both points, trams go towards the city centre before radiating outwards to neighbourhoods and districts.
When travelling by tram in Amsterdam, most locals make use of the public transport chip card (OV-Chipkaart), checking in and out at the start and end of their journeys (and whenever they change trams). However, it is possible to purchase a one-hour ticket aboard most Amsterdam trams. A ticket attendant sits in a booth towards the rear of most trams; otherwise the driver at the front can assist you. You can also purchase 24-hour and 48-hour tickets aboard the tram (valid only for GVB services, including buses and metro). Other types of tickets can be purchased at GVB tickets & info offices or GVB ticket vending machines.
More information on trams can be found here: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/plan-your-trip/getting-around/public-transport/tram
Tram map: http://maps.gvb.nl/nl/lijnen?tram&show
Amsterdam’s ferries provide essential, free connections across the River het IJ for pedestrians, cyclists and mopeds. Many of these blue-and-white ferries can be found directly behind Amsterdam Centraal Station, providing a frequent and free service across the water to and from Amsterdam Noord.
The ride to Buiksloterweg is the most direct (five minutes) and runs 24 hours a day; it is the best way to reach the EYE Film Institute and Tolhuistuin. Another boat runs to NDSM-werf (15 minutes) between 07:00 and midnight (from 09:00 on weekends). Another goes to IJplein (06:30 to midnight). Bicycles are permitted on all ferries.
Accessibility of public transport
GVB can provide specific information about accessibility on Amsterdam trams, buses and metro trains. For example, route folders and timetables indicate which transport stops are not wheelchair accessible, or which trams and bus services are not equipped with an accessibility ramp. Metro stations typically offer lift access and a wider check-in port for wheelchairs.
More information on accessibility can be found here: https://en.gvb.nl/reizen/toegankelijk-ov
More information on public transport in Amsterdam can be found here:
Taxis can be handy when travelling to and from the airport, especially late at night when the trams have stopped running or when you’re running late.
- The taxi meter will always be turned on and you will receive a receipt upon completion of the journey. Always store this receipt carefully as it contains all the information about the trip and the taxi.
- Taxi drivers must always accept short trips.
- Taxi drivers must deliver you safely to your destination via the shortest/quickest route.
Transparent fee: rates for 2016 are applied.
Taxi car (maximum four passengers)
- Maximum start price: EUR 2.95
- Maximum price per kilometre: EUR 2.17
- Maximum price per minute: EUR 0.36
Taxi bus (five to eight passengers)
- Maximum start price: EUR 6.00
- Maximum price per kilometre: EUR 2.73
- Maximum price per minute: EUR 0.41
Waiting rate: EUR 40.65 per hour
Hailing a taxi
The Amsterdam city centre is a myriad of roads, lanes and footpaths. Because space in the city centre is limited, taxis cannot stop anywhere drivers want to stop. To keep traffic flowing in the city at peak efficiency, stopping is not allowed at various places. This is also one of the reasons why there are so many fixed taxi ranks. View a map of Amsterdam's fixed taxi ranks.
Official taxi operators
More information on taxis and more taxi operators can be found here: http://www.taxi.amsterdam.nl/
Just a few reminders:
- In the Netherlands, you drive on the right.
- Safety belts are compulsory in both the front and back seats.
- If you’re driving a motor vehicle, you must ensure that it does not produce unnecessary noise.
- Remember to come equipped with your international Green Card insurance.
- For motorbikes and scooters, the wearing of helmets is compulsory for both drivers and passengers.
Speed limits in urban areas are 50km/h (30mph), main roads 100km/h (62mph), motorways 130km/h (80mph), and all other roads 80km/h (49mph). There are a few service stations within Amsterdam, and you will inevitably find some on the way in to the city.
Parking in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is easy to navigate by car, but to make the most of your trip, keep some factors in mind, especially when it comes to parking. Because of the compact layout of the city and the limited number of (affordable) parking spaces, Park+Ride locations on the edge of the city are a great option. More information on Park+Ride can be found here: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/plan-your-trip/getting-around/parking/park-and-ride
The digital parking system in Amsterdam means that you need to enter your registration plate details into the parking meter when you pay for (on-street) parking. You don’t need to display a parking receipt in your car, but you can still print a copy for your own administration. Your number plate now serves as your “receipt”, and Cition (the local parking authority) can simply scan it to see if you have paid. Please note that Amsterdam’s parking meters do not accept cash or coins. Payment can be made only with a Dutch bank card or any major international credit card.
You can also use your mobile phone to pay for parking. The five-digit number for phone parking can be found on the street signs.
More information on parking can be found here:
Biking in Amsterdam is safe and easy, thanks to the flat landscape and multitude of wide bike paths. Everybody is on a bike – cycling is the most egalitarian mode of transport in Amsterdam.
Cyclists are required to use the mandatory cycle track. If there is no separate mandatory cycle track available, cyclists are required to use the main carriage way (the cycle track will be marked).
Bike rental in Amsterdam
Bike rental shops are spread across the city and are very popular with the locals.
More information on bike rental can be found here: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/plan-your-trip/getting-around/rental/bike-hire
More information on cycling in Amsterdam can be found here: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/plan-your-trip/getting-around/cycling
Official Tourist Information Office at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
Holland Tourist Information at Arrivals Hall 2
Every day from 07:00 to 22:00
Official Visitor Information Centre VVV at the Centraal Station
Noord-Zuid Hollandsch Koffiehuis (white wooden house left from the main entry to the station facing the city)
Monday to Saturday, 09:00 to 17:00; Sunday, 09:00 to 16:00
More tourist centres can be found here: