DutchAmsterdam.nl — Getting from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Amsterdam — and back — by public transport is easy, inexpensive, and fast.
Schiphol, Amsterdam’s airport, is located 18km (11mi) southwest of the city. The airport includes a train station – right underneath the main hall.
- Destinations: Among other places, Amsterdam Sloterdijk Station (about 11 minutes) and Amsterdam Central Station (about 15-20 minutes)
- Where: Underneath the main hall, the tracks can be reached via escalators or elevators. Trains to Amsterdam usually leave from track 3.
- When: Trains to and from Amsterdam Central Station run 8x an hour — so once every 7.5 minutes.. Signs above the escalators will show you when the next few trains depart, and where they are headed. Signs near the yellow ticket machines list trains that will depart within the next half hour or so. Type of trains: Sprinter: stop at Lelylaan, Sloterdijk, and Central Station. Intercity or Intercity Direct only stop at Central Station. The difference in travel time is 3 minutes.
- Tickets: €4.20 (2nd class) or €7,10 (1st class)1, purchased from the yellow machines in the main hall.
The ticket machines are easy to use (English language option available) and accept standard international credit cards. If you need assistance, visit the ticket counter instead.
You must activate your ticket (a chip card) at one of the card readers near or at the top of the escalators, or next to the elevators.
Do not buy return trip tickets, unless you plan on returning to the airport on the same day. Round-trip tickets are valid for same-day travel only.
The trains from Schiphol to Amsterdam are prime hunting grounds for these criminals.
Take precautions and do not let yourself be distracted. Do not turn your back on your luggage, and keep your handbags and purses where you can see them.
If you are sitting near an exit, hold on to your luggage to prevent grab-and-run theft.
The machines accept major credit cards and have English-language menus.
According to the Amsterdam Tourist Board, experience shows tourists with luggage prefer to take a taxi or shuttle bus into town.
Long story short: 93.4 % of users say they are satisfied with the I amsterdam City Card.
Small wonder: you get free use of public transport, free or discounted access to top museums, free canal boat tour, and much more.
The bus station is located at Schiphol Plaza — the square in front of the main hall.
There are two rows of bus stops just across the street from the taxi rank.
Amsterdam Airport Express / Bus 197
- Destinations: Museumplein (28 minutes), Rijksmuseum (32 minutes), Leidseplein (34 minutes) and bus station Elandsgracht (38 minutes).
- Where: Platform B9 at Schiphol Plaza. Look for a red bus marked ‘Amsterdam Airport Express’
- When: Departs every 10 minutes (between 7 am and 6 pm) or about every 15 minutes before 7 am and after 6 pm
- Tickets: €5,00 bought on board, or in advance as an e-ticket — the latter payable with iDeal, PayPal, or credit card.
Taking this bus only makes sense if your hotel is near the Sloterdijk train station, and if — for one reason or another — you do not wish to travel by train.
- Destinations: Takes you to train station Amsterdam Sloterdijk (final stop, 41 minutes), where a growing number of hotels are located in the vicinity.
- Where: Platform B14, the second row of bus stops at Schiphol Plaza, across from the taxi rank.
- Tickets: €2.90, purchased from the driver.
Note: As of March 26, 2017 you can no longer pay cash on board any GVB buses. In the bus you can pay by pinpas or credit card. At Schiphol Airport you can also purchase a ticket at the AKO bookshop/newsstand. However, they sell day tickets only, with a minimum price of €7,50 for a 24-hour card.
Buy your GVB Day- or Multiple Day passes online: This ticket gives you unlimited travel throughout Amsterdam on all GVB trams, buses, metros (day and night) for the number of days that best suit your plans.
- The Connexxion Schiphol Hotel Shuttle takes you from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to more than 100 hotels in the city of Amsterdam between 06.00 a.m. and 21.30 (9:30 p.m.) At the shuttle’s website select your hotel to view the ticket price. Rates start at €17,00 one way, per person. There are discounts for return journeys, children age 4-14, or groups of more than 3 people up to 8 people. You can book your ride ahead of time. VISA and Mastercard are accepted.
Amsterdam’s taxis are among the most expensive in Europe. The 30-minutes ride from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Central Station should set you back about €52,00.
– To Museumplein: about €40,00.
Confirm these rates with the driver, so he knows that you are aware of the average cost.
Note: a taxi ride from Amsterdam back to Schiphol typically costs less because there is more competition. While Schiphol has licensed a number of taxi companies to pick up passengers at the official taxi rank, all taxi firms are allowed to drop off passengers at the airport. We’ve seen prices as low as €37,50 ‘from anywhere in Amsterdam.’
Note: For several years, arriving passengers were accosted — inside and outside the airport — by people who offered, sometimes aggressively, taxi services. They were not licensed to operate at Schiphol. At times, tourists were quite literally taken for a ride. Some were charged hundreds of euros for a trip that should have cost less than 50 euro. Legal measures introduced in May, 2017, have now taken care of this problem. Still, be aware that some rogue cabs may still try and accost you. See the footnote for details:2
Select a taxi only at the official taxi rank in front of the main hall. You can select any of the taxis you see there. You are not obligated to take the first one in line — though lately airport-authorized ‘hosts’ have been used at peak times. Follow their instructions.
Theoretically you could catch a taxi after travelling to Amsterdam Central Station by train. You can do so at the Westernmost section of the IJzijde – the part of the train station that cases the river IJ — right across from the ferry boat landing.
Nowadays, whenever the DutchAmsterdam folks are in need of a taxi, we use Abel.
Abel can only be ordered via an app (both Apple/itunes and Android versions available), and doing so is well worth it. [Note: Schiphol provides free wi-fi, so you can easily download and use the app on the spot].
The concept is easy: you can elect to travel by yourself (‘private car’) or potentially share your ride with others. Either way you’ll save a chunk of money over using a regular taxi or a service like Uber.
Once you have downloaded the Abel app, click the menu and select ‘Promotions.’ Then click ‘Promocode.’
Enter this code to get €7,50 off your first ride: 6PKR
The fare price is determined by the distance, desired arrival time and willingness to share a ride with others. (In a hurry? Indicate that you are in a hurry in the booking process or book a private Abel car.)
You sign up with a credit card. You book your ride via the app, and the app lets you know the exact fare. This is your final price, so no surprises.
The app also shows you where the nearest Abel car is and in how many minutes it will arrive to pick you up. The name of the driver is shown as well, and we must say we are tremendously impressed with the friendliness and services provided by Abel’s personnel.
By the way, the company uses electric vehicles exclusively, so you’re helping the environment as well.
Did we mention the savings? For instance, a trip with Abel from Schiphol to Leidseplein with Abel costs $16.88 (one person, no hurry). That same drive will set you back €44.00 with a regular taxi.
In our experience Abel is cheaper than pre-booked taxis as well, and it’s got Uber beat. We’re sure you will be using Abel during your stay in Amsterdam as well — and for the ride back to the airport.
Note: the pickup spot is outside Departure Hall 2. Do not order your Abel taxi until after you have picked up your luggage. Depending on where the nearest car is the pickup time could be anywhere between 5-20 minutes from the time your order your ride.
(Just so you know: you have our word that this is an unsolicited write-up. We’re just happy customers.)
As in many other places, Uber has had its share of trouble in Amsterdam. Currently it is operating legally, though. In Amsterdam you can use uberX (low-cost option), UberBlack (“the original Uber”), or UberVAN (“Room for Everyone”). UberPOP has been declared illegal in the Netherlands, and is therefore not available.
Private or Shared Transfer
Many travelers prefer to bypass all public transport hassles by pre-booking a private or shared transfer. Usually meant for ‘groups.’ Essentially a taxi, though the term ‘transfer’ is often used to differentiate from taxi concessions.
- Dutch trains have First Class and Second Class cars, marked simply as  or . Most Dutch people travel second class, which usually is good enough.
First Class offers a bit more space and a bit more comfort, especially in newer trains — but the extra expense (€7,10 instead of €4,20) is not really worth it.
At Schiphol, the NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen = Dutch Railways) ticket machines may ask you to select a ‘comfort class.’ At one time, First Class was pre-selected.
Note: If you use a First Class carriage while you only carry a Second Class ticket, you risk a fine. ↩
- Taxis at Schiphol’s official taxi tank belong to companies that have won the airport’s concession. Individual taxi drivers pay €3.600/month for the permit, which is issued by Schiphol, with the blessing of the municipality of Haarlem, in which the airport is located. Both the airport and the municipality of Haarlem want to make sure that taxi drivers meet certain quality standards.
However, in the Netherlands by law all taxi drivers are allowed to offer their services ‘on public roads.’ In April 2015 the Court of Amsterdam [Gerechtshof Amsterdam] ruled that this applies to Schiphol airport as well. The airport can legally designate roads as private property, by closing them off with a mechanical barrier. This is why the airport pays some poor guy to do nothing all day but push a button to allow licensed cabs to pass the barrier.
Since that ruling, recruiters for taxis that have not been licensed by Schiphol have been accosting travellers, both inside and outside the airport buildings. At times travelers have found themselves set upon by three or more recruiters at a time, and rejections are sometimes met with rude remarks.
Effective January 1, 2016, a new by-law for the municipality of Haarlemmermeer has made recruiting for passengers outside the immediate vicinity of one’s taxi cab illegal. Since cabs not licensed by the airport cannot park anywhere close to the exit, this measure was expected to bring an end to illegal recruiting. However, now the unofficial cabs use ‘runners/recruiters.’ Schiphol has hired 25 private security guards to tackle the problem, but people are still being accosted.
Latest: Starting May 15, 2016 the guards are authorized to hand out fines to taxi operators who do not have a Schiphol concession and who nevertheless recruit inside the airport and outside on the main square. During the first two weeks of May the guards hand out warnings only. After that, fines will be issued: €350,00 for a first offence — and up to €1.500,00 for each repeat offence.
Nevertheless, on occasion travelers still report being accosted.
Update, May 2017: This issue has now been taken care of. The new rules have withstood various legal challenges and are now being enforced consistently. A number of rogue cab drivers and recruiters who tried their luck anyway have been issued large fines. And some drivers offering the illegal taxi services have seen their cars impounded.
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