Amsterdam Central Station is a massive transportation hub in the centre of Amsterdam. Amsterdam has several other train stations including Amstel Station and South Station, however most tourists will arrive through Amsterdam Central Station (Amsterdam Centraal).
Construction – Bustling and chaotic at the best of times, Central Station continues to operate while it is a major work zone due to the installation of the north-south metro line. Get to your connection and leave, this is no place to linger!
To The City! – When you exit the platform into the station hall, make sure you walk toward platform (spoor) 1. If you come out of the station and find a large body of water in ahead, you have gone the wrong way, are facing the Ij River, and probably want to turn around and exit on the other side of the station unless you are looking for the Oosterdock, Amsterbike, Movenpick Hotel, or the cruise terminal.
The Stationplein – is located beyond track (spoor) 1, and the wondrous vastness of Amsterdam beyond that. On the Stationplein you can find tram stands, kiosks, the GVB office for bus and tram tickets.
Food – There are dozens of fast food eateries, cafes and coffee places in and around Central Station. There are Albert Heijn express grocery stores in the east and west halls, as well as a HEMA near the central hall. There is a Ban and Jerry’s ice cream, Starbucks Coffee and Fine Dining restaurant on Platform 2
Money – There are ATMs in the West station hall. If you must take out cash at central station, be careful of pickpockets both during your transaction and after.
The following types of transport are available from Amsterdam Central Station:
Bike – There is a MacBike bike rental shop in Central Station. Turn left as you exit the station and walk along the front of the station, you will see a ramp leading down to the rental shop. There are also bike repair shops and bike storage at both ends of Central Station. Most people park on the massive bike parking garage floating on a barge at the west end of the station.
Train – Trains in Holland are operated by the Dutch National Rail Company NS. There are direct trains to Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Brussles, Bern, Hamburg as well as a number of night trains to international capitals including Prague and Copenhagen.
There is a large ticket office near the entrance to the East station hall where you can buy both domestic and international tickets. Make sure you get in the right line, as domestic ticket windows don’t sell international tickets. Generally you will have to take a number for international tickets, whereas the Domestic lines are just short ques for tickets to Schiphol Airport and such.
Tram – Buy tram tickets from the conductor or passes from the GVB Office on the Stationplein. 1,2,and 5 are popular tram lines that go to the Leidseplein. Line 26 goes to the new Oosterdok neighbourhood and Zeeburg.
Bus – The bus platform is 50 meters in front of the station. Buses depart for Amsterdam north, Amsterdam suburbs and smaller towns around Amsterdam
Most long distance buses from companies like Eurolines and Student Agency arrive at Amsterdam Amstel Station
Car – There is a pick up and drop off ramp for cars in the back (north) side of the station. Look for signs for ground transportation or walk through the station hall and look for the big ramp.
Taxi – There is a taxi stand in front of the station on the West side. Cabs in Amsterdam are generally honest and the industry is well regulated. Cabbies in Amsterdam speak English so jump in and tell them where you are headed.
Boat – It is a very short walk to the Amsterdam Cruise Terminal, a world class cruise passenger terminal. Cruises depart from here to The Americas, Germany and Switzerland, Scandinavia and the Baltic states.
Ferry – If you are headed for Amsterdam North, the ferry across the Ij River leaves from the back (north) side of Central Station. This is a bike and pedestrian ferry only, cars should use the Ij Tunnel. Conexxion also operates a fast ferry to Ijmuiden departing from a dock behind central station.
Walking – Leaving central station by foot wil take you across a bridge to the north end of the Damrak. To the right is the quieter Jordann, and to the left is the Red Light District. Directly ahead lies the Dam Square and Royal Palace.