Amsterdam Central Station
Amsterdam main train station is the real heart of the city - central not only by the name, but also as the biggest public transport transfer spot, serving not only visitors to Amsterdam, but also city inhabitants. Every day 250 000 people go through the Amsterdam Central Station (Dutch: Amsterdam Centraal or shortly: CS; code: Asd).
Final stops of several lines of city trams and buses are located here, as well as waterfront stations of city ferry lines taking cars and passengers to Amsterdam North (Amsterdam Noord). It is also here, that the main Amsterdam Tourist Office is located, as well as departure quays for the tourist boats cruising around the city canals.
Permanent reconstruction – history of the station
Central Station impressive Neo-Renaissance building has been open to the public in 1889. As the city grew, the station had to change. The situation of the station renewal became permanent throughout the last decennia. At present, the whole station area remains a huge construction site because of the creation of the new metro line, which will be completed at earliest in 2015.
Arriving at the Central Station
The station has three tunnels under all of its platforms, leading you in two directions: to the Amsterdam Centre side (Centrum) or to the Amsterdam North (Noord) side. Unless you plan to travel by city ferry to the North of Amsterdam, you should exit into the Centre (Centrum) side of the station. All busses, trams and metro are located there, including the bus lines to the North of the city. During the present reconstruction, the Western tunnel serves as the Main Entry (Hoofdingang) and the main exit to the city.
Public transport and taxis at the Central Station
The taxis are waiting just in front of the station Main Entry (Hoofdingang). Other means of transport – busses and trams are located at hand on both sides of the station building. The entry to the metro is located in front of the station Eastern Entry (Ingang Oost). The city ferry boat lines linking the city with Amsterdam North are located behind the station at its Northern Exit, across the street - at the waterfront.
Departures from the Central Station – accessing the station
There is no easy access by the car to the Central Station. The only access by car is from the Northern side of the station, but there is no parking possibility there – you may only stop to drop off passengers and luggage. Taxis and city busses will bring closely to the station, but the most convenient are city trams, which stop just in front of the station building.
The main entry tunnel as well as the two other tunnels – central and Eastern lead you to the station platforms. The station has 15 platforms, additionally often divided into “a” and “b” parts. Entering the station, you may inquire about the number of the platform you need at the Information desks located at the entries to the station.
Trains to Brussels, Paris, Cologne
Amsterdam has convenient fast train connections with other European cities as Brussels, Paris and Cologne. None of leaving from Amsterdam trains is fully High Speed yet, but the line to Brussels is presently under construction, and beyond Brussels Thalys trains travel as High Speed at max. speed of 300km/h (190 miles/h), reaching Paris in only 1h 22 min. Even now, it takes only ca. 2h30 to get by train from Amsterdam to Brussels, thus you may with ease visit Brussels during your stay in Amsterdam.
Trains to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Local trains to the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport during the day depart each ten minutes from platform 14a or platform 15. Night trains to the Airport depart from other platforms – please check the airport train schedule for the correct departure time and the platform number.
Amsterdam Central Station services
An effort has been made to serve well the traveler. There are convenient Information desks at the entry, numerous vending machines sell train tickets to other stations in the Netherlands as well as public transport tickets. Service Centre sells international train tickets (open: 6 am - 11 pm). The station luggage lockers are open daily 7 am – 11 pm. Lost luggage desk is located directly at the lockers vault.
Central Station is also an active open shopping centre (some shops open 7 am – 1 am) and GWK Travelex Change offices. It has several cafés and fast food restaurants. There is also a vast bicycle storage, bicycle repair shop and Mac Bike bicycle rental place.
Big underground car park facilities are located in the direct vicinity of the station.
Station is accessible for the handicapped people.
In front of the Eastern Entry, located in a traditional wooden white Dutch house, there is the main Amsterdam Tourist Office of the state run VVV (Dutch: Vereniging voor Vreemdelingenverkeer - Association for the Foreign Visitors; open daily: 9 am – 6 pm). To the left in the same building you may find an Information Service of the public transport GVB (open: Monday through Friday 7 am – 9 pm, Saturday-Sunday 10 am 6 pm; they also sell public transport tickets).
Hotels near Central Station Amsterdam
There are several hotels located in front of the Central Station and in its direct vicinity. You do not need any mean of communication to get there – all you need is roll your luggage to the hotel lobby. Best known five are star NH Barbizon Palace and Hotel Victoria, while located on the Station Island Amsterdam Ibis Centre is the closest along with Bellevue Hotel, A-Train Hotel and Multatuli Hotel as other good budget choices. Online reservations.
Tips for passengers
Amsterdam Central Station and its area are by and large safe, although because of the building works it may seem inhospitable. Nonetheless, stay alert about your luggage and as on any train station in the world - beware of pickpockets.
If you depart from the station, arrive 15 minutes earlier and set aside some time for the quiet transfer to the platform. If you buy your ticket at the vending machine, be careful with your wallet and do care about the secrecy of your identification code.