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www.trains-and-trains.dk : A personal view by Christian Vinaa


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Event : "Terug Naar Toen" - 2014

Public transport in Amsterdam


POI - Points Of Interest
Please download my POI-kmz-file ( Google Earth kmz-file ) for The Netherlands with many interesting photo-spots, locations and things to see.
Latest version: 2014-01

Previous page : Terug Naar Toen - Main page.

The information on this page was valid at least in December 2014


Some comments about Amsterdam.

I like Amsterdam, but the Dutch transport ticket system is very confusing for a tourist. Almost feels like a tourist trap trying to get into Amsterdam. Once inside Amsterdam City its easy and rather cheap.

Arriving at Amsterdam Schiphol it is very easy to catch a train. The train station is just below the arrivals.


But thats about the only easy thing. In fact it starts much earlier if you want to buy the train-ticket from i.e. Schiphol - Amsterdam or Schiphol - Apeldoorn.

Trains in the Netherlands are run by NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen).

On their website there is an easy journey planner :

buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal

and I quickly find my itenerary and train options and what appears to be the ticketprice :

buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal


Now I have to buy the ticket.

OK - press "BUY TICKET" :

buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal

Hooray - eticket - now they are talking about something I know and recoqnize.

OK - filling out the form. First thing I notice is that you can buy a "One-way journey", and you can buy a "Same-day return journey", - but what about returning on another day ?

That is not possible at first glance. Strange ! Ha - found out : You have to buy 2 single tickets if you want to return on another day. Luckily the price of 2 single tickets equals that of one return.

So I fill out the form ( most of it was actually filled out by the computer-cookie ),

and press continue ;

Filling in more information :

buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal

and pressing "To shopping cart" :

buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal

Shopping-cart : pressing "Check out" :

buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal

Now I have to pay for the ticket and I have my VISA-card ready and my Mastercard as a back-up, since I know that in i.e. Germany VISA is not that much used.

Strangely enough I have to choose my bank ? Well - I have a Danish bank ( go figure ).

What the #%&# ?

buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal

I have to have an account with a Dutch bank in order to buy a eticket ? You gotta be kidding ?

NO - all 9 banks are Dutch banks.

Bummer - and actually - SHAME on you NS for treating me, as a tourist coming to your country, so badly.

Buying a "chip-kaart" !

No dispair :

I'll buy a "OV-Chipkaart" instead - apparently the "OV-chipkaart" is what the Dutch like, so when in Rome.....

So I go back to "Arrange and buy"

buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal

and press "Purchasing tickets"

buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal

where I get 2 options :

buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal

The ticket machines and a Service Desk. At this point the word "Service" sounds a bit ironic.


But I investigate a bit further about the "OV-chipkaart" and "single-use chipkaart" :

buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal

buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal

buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal

So in conclusion :

  • Its costs € 1,00 just to get a "single-use chipkaart" - rather expensive "tourist-tax" at 25 % of the ticket price.

  • It costs a further € 0,50 if you come to Schiphol without any coins. The ticket machine doesn't even take EURO-bills, so I you were going from Schiphol to Apeldoorn the ticket would cost about € 17,00 which means that you would have to bring along quite a lot of euro-coins.

  • If you plan to visit the Netherlands more than just once a year, you might want to buy a "OV-chipkaart" at the bargain price of € 7,50.

So basically :

  • You HAVE to have a Dutch bank account to buy the eticket, which in fact is the only ticket where you pay only the actual fare : € 4,00.

    That also means that you cannot buy your ticket in advance. You have to buy it in i.e. Schiphol Airport, which means delays and waiting in a line - a long line if you are unlucky - after a lot of tourists who just like you have to figure out how to work the ticket-machine.

  • A single-use chipkaart will cost you an extra € 1,00, and if you pay with a card like VISA, you pay an extra € 0,50.

  • If you want to buy a "OV-chipkaart" the price is € 7,50 - and that is just for the card. You have to put money in the card; minimum € 20,00.

I truly feel that this makes Amsterdam a tourist trap. You cannot even get out of the airport without being cheated and taxed.

If you want to take the bus : Good luck.

For some strange reason all the Amsterdam city busses and trams stop just about where the landing lights begin, so you have to take one bus-company into Amsterdam City, and then change to the City trams and busses.

And you would think that a tourist day pass for unlimited travel on all City trams and busses would be valid for rides with the other bus-company, right ? WRONG.


So NS and various other Dutch transport companies :

You really think that tourists feel welcome to the Netherlands ? - REALLY ?

All this research I did from home. How would it have been to figure all this out having just arrived to Schiphol after perhaps an 8 hours flight ?


One last acid remark. There are surprisingly few signs in English in Schiphol, even though it boasts to be an international airport.

Yes, the Dutch people no doubt use Schiphol too, but since the Dutch language even by the most optimistic Dutch nationalists cannot be called a world-language, it wouldn't hurt to have English on all signs.

In Copenhagen Airport we acknowledge the fact that Danish is not spoken by many outside Denmark, so ALL the signs are in Danish and in English.


I hope that I in the future can write an undate to this tourist-nightmare, when the Dutch have gotten their act together and really done something to make tourist feel welcome.


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