Culture and transgression

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Holland, Netherlands
North Holland
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Amsterdam is a city that can be defined “on a human scale” because the distances for reaching the tourist attractions are short and also, for those who do not want to walk it is served by an efficient public transport network (tram, bus and metro). So you can decide to move freely on foot, by bicycle or by public transport, while it is better to avoid the use of the car in the center, impractical and very expensive for parking fees. The public transport system is also available with a single type of ticket that can be used, depending on the type chosen, on all the means of transport in the city.



The Amsterdam city transport ticket is organized through a new national ticketing system called OV-Chipkaart (which uses a microchip of movement) and the Chipkaart is the only valid travel ticket in Amsterdam. The chipreader must be able to  recognize  the entrance and exit from the metropolitan system. The tickets are equipped with a magnetic stripe inside them and they are validated both at the entrance and the exit. The ticket should be placed near an electronic validating machine, which, in case of a prepaid ticket, will show you the remaining credit. Basically the OVchip functions like a prepaid card. They can be purchased, at the price of €7.50 from the specific vending machines in the stations and at the entrances of many supermarkets, and also in the hotels affiliated and have a validity of 5 years.

We recommend purchasing a 24 (€7.50), 48 (€12), 72 (€16), 96, 120, 144 or 168 hours OV-Chipkaart, which allows you to travel unlimitedly on all trams, buses, metros and night buses for the duration of the card itself without taking into account the areas. There are also OV cards valid for 1 hour and available for purchase directly from drivers on trams and buses, but this solution (€2.70) is not very convenient in case you need to take more than one ride on public transport. Available, you will find single, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly tickets, which can be uploaded to a personalized card-account or not, and are valid for the duration chosen only in the selected zone or zones. There are also rechargeable OV-Chipkaarts, they work exactly like a pre-paid phone. There are two types, anonymous cards and nominal cards. The anonymous OV-Chipkaart costs €7.50 and can be recharged at all stations and many supermarkets with 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 euros, every time you take public transport the cost of the route will be deducted from the credit, so it is not bound to zones or duration but simply to use.

The nominal OV-Chipkaart must be ordered from the site of the GVB, the cost is always €7.50 but you have the possibility to connect your card to a bank account in order to recharge it automatically every time the credit is about to end.
Amsterdam, like all major cities, from the point of view of public transport, is divided into areas. For example, starting from the station with 1 area you cover, in fact, only the centre of Amsterdam, with 2 zones you can also reach the area of museums and parks (Vondelpark, Rembrandtpark etc.), with 3 zones or more you can also reach the most suburban districts important for those who live there since living in the center is a luxury only few can afford.



The tram is definitely the best public transport to get around Amsterdam

The tram service ends just shortly after midnight (the last tram leaves from the Central station at 00:15) it is then replaced by a network of night buses.



There are numerous daytime bus lines as well as the trams; but it is especially at night that buses are used because they replace the trams with the night routes. Buses also offer direct lines to the most popular locations around the city, such as Muiden or Marken.



It is a rather fast system advisable especially for those who want to travel outside the ring of the centre of Amsterdam. It is organized into four urban lines plus one under construction: Ring Line (line 50, green), Amstelveen Line (line 51, orange), North South Line (line 52, sky blue), Gaasperplas Line (line 53, red), Gein Line (line 54, yellow), and serve as a link with more suburban areas of the city and also connect the main train stations, Central station, Amstel Station and Sloterdijk station.



Using taxis in Amsterdam is undoubtedly less convenient than public transport, the rates in fact are quite high for the European average (about 1.90 €/Km as the maximum price and more than 5 € the call). The service is deregulated but beware of taxi drivers not in possession of regular license. The main points for catching a taxi are Leidseplein, Dam Square and Central station. Taxis can be otherwise called by telephone: the taxi will arrive in a few minutes. Keep in mind that on Friday and Saturday night the service is quite crowded.

Treintaxi is a typical Dutch means of transport, efficient and economical that consists in sharing the taxi with other passengers, saving on the costs for travelling to and from the Central Station: the fare is fixed. The ticket is bought at the train station and costs about €4.10. If you buy it on board, it costs around 5 euros. It is easy to distinguish the lay-by of the Treintaxi from that of normal taxis, because it is blue and yellow. The Treintaxi takes you from the station to certain areas, in the center and in the suburbs, indicated on the signs at the station. Just ask the driver or press the blue button at the stand, to talk to an operator. The driver waits for up to 15 minutes to pick up any other passengers and then heads to the various destinations. To reach the central station, call the Treintaxi at least half an hour before at 0900 873 46 82.



The fastest way to get around Amsterdam is by bicycle, so much so that half of the city traffic is supported by this means of transport. For this reason the city is literally “designed” for those who use this means of transportation with an efficient circuit of cycle paths (Fietspad). You must always pay attention anyway, especially in the narrow alleys of the center where you have to manoeuvre among other bikes, pedestrians and cars. Remember, also, when not otherwise indicated by special road signs, it is the rule to give way to the right, and do not forget to pay attention to the tracks of the tram to avoid unpleasant accidents. It is the most common means of transport in the city and you can rent it almost anywhere: at the airport, in the stations, in the city. The cost is about €6 per day or 40 a week. The rental will ask you for your Passport or ID card and a security deposit between 23 and 45 euros. Bike lanes follow the city route, and cyclists have their own traffic lights, and are prone to speed controls like motorists.



Driving in the city is not very easy, both for the actual difficulty of moving in the city, with the increasingly numerous streets closed to car traffic, and for high parking fees, it is not by chance the use of this means of transport is discouraged by the local administrative authority. However, if you need to rent a car, you will find the desk of many companies at the arrivals area of Schipol airport, but we recommend booking in advance on-line to avoid hitches and to save on rates.



It is obvious to underline how walking is the cheapest and most ecological way of moving, but in Amsterdam it is also one of the most convenient means to visit most of the city, especially in the centre. In addition to this, walking will allow you to capture every detail of your itinerary, freely chanting every moment of your visit.



Amsterdam has a large network of canals. In total over 150 of these waterways cross the city and its surroundings, dividing it in about 90 mini islands. The most famous canal is the Singelgracht, the canal that surrounds the fifteenth century walls and creates a sort of moat. Today these canals can be sailed almost exclusively by small barges, pleasure boats and typical tourist tours. There are many free ferry services across the river IJ, North Amsterdam. The voyage on the canals is slower and more expensive than the trips on the mainland, because the boats do not fit into the city transport system. In its favor, however, it is to be said that they represent a romantic and relaxing way to discover the city, and in addition the tickets give entitlement to the discount in different museums. All boats stop in front of the central station.

The canal Bus sails Amsterdam’s canals from 10am to 6.30 in the evening with three lines: The Green Line, the Red line and the Blue Line. The dayily ticket costs €22 and provides discounts on admission to various museums and attractions. If you are interested in a pleasant boat trip and visiting the most important museums, you can take the museum boat: it is in front of the Central station, every 30 minutes in the summer and every 45 minutes in winter, from 10am in the morning to 5 in the evening. The main stops are: Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Anne Frank House, Leidseplein, Vondelpark, Amsterdam Historical Museum, Flower Market, Rembrandt House, Museum of Jewish History, Museum of the Tropics and Maritime Museum.

There are, finally, water taxis, faster taxis but also more expensive than ones on the road: they cover the port, the canals and the river Amstel at a cost that varies between 1.75 and 2.25 euros per minute, up to eight passengers. They also leave from the Central station, but if you want them to pick you up somewhere else, you’ll also have to calculate the cost of the call.



The Central Station

The Renaissance Revival style Central station combined with Gothic influences was built on three artificial islands (supported by more than 8000 poles) and inaugurated in 1889. Take a look at the former firstclass Libertystyle waiting room, now Grand Café. The station overlooks, at the back, the port (Het Ij), from which there are several small ferries that connect the centre to the new residential complex signed by famous architects (Java Island) and the North Area (Noord). Central hub of the national and international rail transport network, the station is also the heart of Amsterdam’s public transport network: trains with a frequency of about 15 minutes during the day and an hour during the night hours connect the Station with Schipol Airport. At the main entrance of the station, and in towards the access to the tracks, two monitors list the trains leaving; just outside the station you will find tram stops, as well as two bus stations (for connections within the city and for connections to other countries/cities of the Netherlands), and the Metro station, as well as an 24 hour taxi service and a bicycle rental point.


Schiphol airport

Located 15 km southwest of the city, it is the point of arrival and departure for the main European airlines and not only, and represents one of the main airports of the Netherlands. It has only one terminal and the arrival and departure areas are divided into three zones (Arrivals 1, 2, 3 and Departures 1, 2, 3). On the ground floor there is the arrivals area, and on the first floor there are departure lounges with check-in counters and access to the gates. The bus and train connections with Amsterdam centre are fast and well organized. From Schiphol you can reach the centre of Amsterdam by choosing between different means of transport: train, bus or shuttle.

The train departs directly from the airport and in about 20 minutes it reaches Amsterdam Central Station. The ticket for a single connection costs €3.60 and is available at ticket offices or vending machines but not on board the train. Departures are scheduled every 15 minutes, and after midnight and until 5 a.m. every hour.


Schiphol is connected to the centre of Amsterdam by the 370 bus which, starting from the open space in front of the airport, arrives (in about 30 minutes) to Leidseplein and Museumplein. The one-way ticket costs about €3.10. Consider also the peak times that could lengthen the travel times.
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