Back in 2014, we embarked on our maiden European voyage via KLM, which necessitated a stopover at Amsterdam’s airport.
The Netherlands is truly captivating, and Schiphol Airport stands out as one of the largest and busiest in Europe. Since that inaugural trip, we’ve transited through Schiphol multiple times.
In this article, we’ll delve into its organization, retail stores, Duty Free shopping, immigration procedures, and more!
Being KLM’s main hub, Schiphol acts as the connecting point for all the airline’s global destinations. This centralized approach is mirrored by airlines like Air France (connecting in Paris) and Iberia (connecting in Madrid).
Schiphol isn’t just one of Europe’s largest airports; it’s among the world’s elite, annually welcoming an average of 70 million passengers globally.
Amsterdam’s Airport General facts and information
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is one of the busiest and most significant transportation hubs in Europe. As of my last training data (up to September 2021), here are some key details about Schiphol:
- Size: Schiphol covers an area of approximately 2,787 hectares (6,887 acres).
- Passenger Traffic: In 2019, Schiphol Airport handled nearly 72 million passengers, making it the third busiest airport in Europe in terms of passenger volume, after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle.
- Terminals: Schiphol has one main terminal building, but it is split into three large departure halls. Despite its singular terminal design, the airport has multiple concourses or piers connected to the main terminal.
- Runways: Schiphol has six runways ranging in length from 2,014 meters (6,608 feet) to 3,800 meters (12,467 feet).
- Flights: The airport handles over 500,000 flight movements annually, serving various destinations worldwide.
- Airlines: Over 100 airlines operate out of Schiphol, offering flights to over 300 destinations.
- Cargo: In terms of cargo, the airport handled around 1.57 million metric tonnes in 2019.
- Economic Impact: Schiphol is a significant contributor to the Dutch economy, supporting tourism, commerce, and employment.
- Connectivity: Schiphol boasts excellent connectivity options, with a direct railway line that links the airport with Amsterdam Centraal (the central station) and other major cities in the Netherlands.
- Facilities: Beyond the usual airport facilities, Schiphol has numerous shops, eateries, a library, and even an annex of the Rijksmuseum, allowing travelers to view Dutch masterpieces for free.
Given the dynamism of air travel, and factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, these figures can change. For the most recent data, it would be best to consult Schiphol’s official reports or relevant Dutch aviation authorities.
Leaving Schipol, Amsterdam’s Airport to city center
Traveling from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the city center is quite straightforward. Here’s a simple guide on how to get to the heart of Amsterdam:
- Location: The train station is located directly below the airport. You can descend to the train platforms via escalators or lifts.
- Frequency: Trains to Amsterdam Centraal (the central station) run frequently, with around 4-10 trains per hour depending on the time of day.
- Duration: The journey takes about 15-20 minutes.
- Tickets: You can buy tickets from the yellow ticket machines near the platforms or at the NS (Dutch Railways) ticket counters. You can also purchase e-tickets online before you travel.
- Location: Buses depart from Schiphol Plaza, right in front of the arrivals and departures halls.
- Option 1 – Amsterdam Airport Express (Bus 397): This bus service runs approximately every 15 minutes and takes you to several key locations in Amsterdam, including the Museumplein, Rijksmuseum, and Leidseplein. The journey takes about 30 minutes.
- Tickets: You can buy tickets directly from the bus driver, at the ticket desk in the arrivals hall, or via the Amsterdam Airport Express’s mobile application.
- Location: Official airport taxis can be found outside the arrivals hall.
- Duration: Depending on traffic, the ride can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes.
- Note: Always use official taxis to avoid scams. They will have a blue number plate and the official Schiphol taxi logo.
- Services like Uber operate in Amsterdam. The pickup point is usually in the official car park area. The app will guide you to the pickup location.
By Rental Car:
- Location: Car rental desks are located in Schiphol Plaza, right behind the arrivals halls.
- Driving: Once you have your rental, follow the A4 motorway towards Amsterdam. The journey to the city center is approximately 20-30 minutes, but can vary based on traffic conditions.
Whichever method you choose, remember that Amsterdam’s city center is busy, and parking can be both difficult to find and expensive. It’s often easier to use public transportation, especially if you’re staying centrally.
Navigating Amsterdam’s Airport
Whether you’re arriving or departing from Schiphol, rest assured, the connection to the city is seamless with multiple transport options. The airport houses a train station, adding to the ease. A
Additionally, transfers, taxis, and ride-sharing services like Uber are readily available. Typically, a 20 to 40-minute journey will get you to Amsterdam’s city center.
If you have an extended layover, it’s feasible to explore Amsterdam during this time.
Things to Do at Schiphol
A bustling airport like Schiphol is more than just a transit hub; it’s a realm of entertainment for its passengers.
- Library: Relax with a book in the airport’s library, especially located in the international departures section. It’s an ideal place to kill time and, best of all, it’s free!
- Children’s Area: For those traveling with kids, the airport offers amenities like baby-changing rooms, feeding areas, and cribs to ensure your child’s comfort.
- Museum: Inside Schiphol, there’s a mini-version of the Rijksmuseum, Holland’s National Museum. You can admire works by Rembrandt, Ferdinand Bol, and others at no cost. This attraction is between gates E and F.
- Amenities: Given Schiphol’s magnitude, it brims with services to enhance your layover experience. One of these is the baggage storage facility. If you’re venturing out for a few hours, you can safely store your luggage here. Our experience suggests this is a convenient and affordable option. Plus, there’s an array of stores, including Duty Free shops, where you can buy souvenirs, Dutch cheeses, cosmetics, and more. If you’re looking to freshen up, the airport also offers shower facilities, albeit at a fee.
- Dining: Numerous eateries, from fast food to upscale restaurants and bars, cater to varied tastes.
Connecting at Schiphol -Amsterdam’s Airport
If you’re flying KLM and your destination isn’t the Netherlands, you’ll connect in Amsterdam. Arriving from non-Schengen countries, like Brazil, necessitates specific procedures. Firstly, you’ll need to clear passport control. Then, refer to the display boards to find your next flight’s gate.
For those with extended layovers (over six hours, for instance), there are steps to follow. Ensure you know if you need to collect your luggage upon landing in Amsterdam.
You can safely store your bags if you wish to leave the airport. Exiting the airport and reaching the Central Station by train takes about 20 minutes. This grants you time for a short excursion in Amsterdam’s heart.
Why miss an opportunity to explore a new city in a different country during an extended layover?
We always emphasize the importance of travel insurance for international trips. You never know when you might need medical assistance abroad, which can be exorbitantly expensive. Beyond medical emergencies, travel insurance also covers situations like baggage loss, theft, and more.
Tips and general guide to Amsterdam’s Airport
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is one of Europe’s busiest airports and serves as a major hub for international travelers. Here are some tips to ensure a smooth experience when navigating this vast transportation center:
- Arrive Early: Like any major international airport, Schiphol can get busy. It’s advisable to arrive at least 2 hours prior to European flights and 3 hours for intercontinental flights.
- Inter-terminal Transit: Schiphol is large but is uniquely designed as a single terminal split into three large departure halls. While distances can be long, there are no train rides between terminals, which makes transfers relatively easy.
- Use Schiphol App: Download the official Schiphol app for real-time flight information, maps, and more.
- Self-Service Options: Make use of the many self-service kiosks for check-in and baggage tags.
- Lounge Access: There are various lounges available, including airline-specific ones and third-party options available for a fee.
- Free Airport Wi-Fi: Enjoy unlimited free Wi-Fi, but remember to stay secure when accessing public networks.
- Airport Library and Museum: Kill time by visiting the airport’s library or the annex of the Rijksmuseum, both free of charge.
- Shopping and Dining: Schiphol offers a vast range of dining options and duty-free shops. Don’t miss out on the Dutch cheeses and tulip bulbs!
- Luggage Storage: If you have a long layover, use the 24-hour luggage storage facilities and explore the city unburdened.
- Public Transit: The airport is connected to Amsterdam Central Station via frequent trains. The journey is around 15-20 minutes.
- Car Rentals and Taxis: All major car rental agencies operate from Schiphol, and official airport taxis are available outside the arrivals hall. Beware of unofficial taxis.
- Sleep: If you have a very long layover, there are airport hotels, like the YOTELAIR, where you can rent rooms by the hour.
- Security and Immigration: E-gates are available for EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens with biometric passports, which can save time.
- Stay Charged: There are plenty of charging stations throughout the airport for your devices.
- Relax and Freshen Up: There are shower facilities available for a fee if you’re in need of a quick refresh.
Remember, always check the airport’s official website or your airline for any specific guidelines, especially due to changing circumstances like health and safety protocols. Safe travels!