Amsterdam’s main urban transport hub is its Central Station. It is located in Stationsplein, at the northern end of the city centre, and its beautiful 19th-century neo-Renaissance building is in itself one of the most interesting things to see in Amsterdam. In fact, the façade dates back to 1880 and is the work of architect Pierre J.H. Cuypers, the same architect who designed the façade of the Rijksmuseum. This also explains why the two buildings are very similar.
Amsterdam Central Station, in Dutch Amsterdam Centraal, is the place where you will probably arrive in the city for the first time: even if you reach the Dutch capital by plane, your journey will continue by train or bus to here. Upon leaving the building, you will already find yourself immersed in the heart of Amsterdam: from the station square some of the city’s most important streets, including Damrak and Nieuwendijk, start. It goes without saying that the Central Station is the beating heart of Amsterdam, almost like Dam Square.
From a purely touristic point of view, it almost goes without saying that you will pass by the station or the square numerous times, as this is also an important stop of the Amsterdam Metro, which serves as an interchange for lines 51, 52, 53 and 54 (in other words: except for line 50, all metro lines stop at the station!), as well as the terminus of several bus and tram lines.
Also for this reason, the Central Station and the square in front of it are constantly frequented by tourists, and there is no lack of services. There are plenty of bars, kiosks, as well as hotels overlooking the square and several restaurants. Right in front of the Central Station it is also possible to book canal tours in Amsterdam, day trips to the surrounding area, cycling tours and much more.
As mentioned, Amsterdam Central Station is a major hub in urban mobility. As soon as you exit the station, on the left-hand side, you will find the metro symbol and the stairs to get off, to take one of the lines 51, 52, 53 or 54.
In addition, there are two tram stops: leaving the station on the left you will find the one where lines 4, 14, 24 and 26 stop, while on the right is the stop for lines 2, 12, 13 and 17.
The bus stops on the other hand, as Stationsplein is pedestrianised, are located slightly away from the exit of the central station: on the left you will have to walk about 100-150 metres until you reach Prins Hendrikkade where several bus lines stop.
Leaving the station on the north side, i.e. not through the historical building but on the opposite side, you will find yourself facing the water: here you will find the ferry stations, lines F2, F3, F4 and F5, which connect Amsterdam Central Station, and consequently the historical centre, with the northern part of the city. The lines leave every 30 minutes and are free of charge, making them an excellent opportunity to visit Amsterdam-Noord, a trendy and very lively district, and at the same time scarcely visited by tourists.
Taxis can also be found behind the station on the north side. Don’t worry if your journey will be short, taxi drivers cannot refuse a ride. You can also use apps such as Bolt and Uber.
Staying near the central station can be a very good idea: you’re practically in the centre, it’s convenient to public transport, and you won’t have to carry your bags up and down the city once you arrive. The high tourist appeal of the area means that prices are definitely higher than average, but if budget is not an issue it can definitely be worth it.
Hotels of all sizes, including large international chains, line the station square. Among the many, we recommend the ibis Amsterdam Centre, the ibis Styles Amsterdam Central Station, the Hotel Multatuli, the art’otel Amsterdam, the Hotel NH Collection Amsterdam Barbizon Palace and the Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam. The hotel offerings around the station do not end there, as there are many other small boutique hotels, private flats and B&Bs.
As a major European railway hub, expect to find all possible services at Amsterdam Central Station. You can leave your luggage at the self-service lockers accessible 24/7, ticket machines for regional, national and international trains, a lost property office, currency exchange, bike storage and bike rental.
There is also a police station, located on platform 2a, a smoking area on platform 2b, and pay toilets on both sides of platform 2. Inside, the station is a real shopping centre, with all kinds of shops open from early in the morning until late at night, and of course many bars, restaurants, fast food outlets and take-aways.
At the central station, opposite the main entrance, you will also find the Amsterdam tourist office of the VVV (in Dutch Vereniging voor Vreemdelingenverkeer, i.e. Association for Foreign Visitors), open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Sundays when it closes at 4 p.m. Next door is the GVB public transport information service, open every day of the week, where you can also buy tickets for public transport.
From Amsterdam Central Station, trains depart for virtually all Dutch cities, including Rotterdam, Utrecht, Alkmaar, Leiden and Maastricht. In addition, from here you can continue your journey to other European cities, thanks to international high-speed trains connecting the Dutch capital with Brussels, Paris and Cologne. The trains travel at 300 km/h, so, as an example, it is possible to arrive in Paris in only 1 hour and 22 minutes.
Of course, trains to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport also depart and arrive from Amsterdam Centraal. They depart every 10 minutes from platform 14a or platform 15. Beware of night trains to the airport, as they depart from other platforms.
Tickets for any train journey can be bought at the station, at the counters or at the ticket machines. Remember to validate them at the entrance to the platform area and keep them, as you will also have to present them at the exit station.
Amsterdam Central Station is located at the northern end of the centre, in Stationsplein, from where the Damrak. shopping street starts and ends at Dam Square.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.