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Written by Rosina Majid   
Verkeer Amsterdam

Verkeer Amsterdam (Photo credit: Nationaal Archief)

Amsterdam Centraal (Central Station)

Upon landing at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, the first port of call is almost always Amsterdam Centraal Station. Following a fifteen minute train ride from the airport you'll find yourself at Amsterdam's main railway station from which daily domestic and international trains depart. Not only is Amsterdam Centraal the starting point of the city's Metro (subway) lines 51, 53 and 54, but it is also the main train station of the Netherlands. Daily connections are offered to major Dutch cities as well as European destinations such as Brussels, Paris, Zurich, Prague, Berlin, Warsaw and Copenhagen to name a few.

 

The station, built on three artificial islands, first opened its doors in 1889, and though its current site was not the city of Amsterdam's first choice, it was ultimately settled upon as the best location. Amsterdam Centraal Station's impressive structure currently stands at the 'head' of the city and serves as a central information and meeting point as well as major attraction. With fast connecting train services to and from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and the rest of the Netherlands, the station is home to many shops, restaurants, cafes, a florist, newsagents, supermarkets, snackbars and coffee salons, for your convenience when on the go.

 

Outside the station is a taxi rank, several tram and bus stops, while Metro lines are running underground,  waiting to transport passengers throughout the city. Tickets may be purchased on board trams and buses. Those planning to use public transport all day or longer may wish to purchase a 24-hour pass. Though the comfort of public transport is offered on Amsterdam Centraal Station's doorstep, it is not at all needed for visitors to start enjoying the wonders of this beautiful city. Damrak, leading into Dam Square, is but a few steps away. Along the Damrak you will find plenty of souvenir shops, a Sex Museum, the Beurs van Berlage building, and towards Dam Square, the popular Dutch shopping mall chain, De Bijenkorf.  Once you have gotten through the hustle and bustle of the Damrak you will arrive at Dam Square where you can expect to find street performers and real-life human statue figures entertaining the crowds with the hopes for a euro or two.

 

One of the best things about Amsterdam Centraal is that no matter which direction you go, you can't go wrong. If you take a walk to the right of Amsterdam Centraal Station, you will find yourself on the wonderful Haarlemmerdijk, trailing into Haarlemmerstraat. With its quaint shops and stores offering a variety of Dutch and international produce, this street is high on the list of top streets in Amsterdam and is loved by many Amsterdammer's. Be sure not to miss taking a stroll along its breathtaking adjacent streets like Brouwersgracht. Should you feel like adventuring  to the left of Amsterdam Centraal along Prins Hendrikkade and the water, you will eventually stumble upon great attractions for the family. There's a science museum called Nemo that's fun and educational for little kids and big kids, while Scheepvaartmuseum, a National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam, is a little further down the road.

 

Exiting Amsterdam Centraal Station from the opposite direction, you will find yourself immediately on the river IJ. Here you can hop on a free ferry that will transport you to the relatively new shores of Amsterdam Noord (North). The ferry ride is an adventure in itself and is worth the experience. It's good to know that bicycles may also be taken aboard and will come in useful when exploring the Amsterdam Noord area. Left of the station lies the serenity of the newly built Westerdok area, while to the right is the renowned Club Panama.

 

Whichever direction you head, there is ample to keep you occupied at Amsterdam Centraal and its neighbouring streets. There are also plenty of places to eat, drink, sightsee, and shop-till-you-drop. There is also no better place to lay your head at night than close to Amsterdam Centraal Station, ensuring that you are but a tram ride away from all the major tourist attractions. What more, you will be that much closer to getting on the all-important train back to Schiphol Airport when it's time to catch your flight home. With hotels lining the Damrak, as well as on neighbouring streets Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and Warmoestraat, there is no shortage of accommodation around Amsterdam Centraal. For a list of hotels and apartments to match your budget see below. 


 

 

 

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