The Netherlands' largest airport is situated about 15 kilometers (9 miles) to the southwest of Amsterdam. It's one of the busiest airports in Europe, seeing around 72 million passengers in 2019.
Schiphol Airport was built in 1916 as a military airport on a reclaimed piece of land. The airport is therefore actually located at the bottom of the former Haarlemmermeer (Haarlem's lake), about four meters (13 feet) beneath sea level. After WWI, KLM was the first airline to transport passengers.
Check the monitors for current departure times or go to the Schiphol Airport website or use the app to find current information about your flight.
There are clear yellow and black signs displayed throughout the airport to help guide you to the right gate. The blue signs direct you to the airport's stores and restaurants.
Schiphol has free Wi-Fi. You can use Whatsapp, Messenger or chat to get answers to your questions using the app or the airport's website. For less technologically inclined passengers, there are special information telephones throughout the airport. There is a tourist office (VVV) for hotel reservations and tourist information in arrival hall 2.
Then follow the signs to your airline's transfer desk for all matters relating to your connection. The transfer desks after passing through security are located at D Pier, GH Hall, Holland Boulevard and Lounge 1.
You can spend the night at or very near the airport. There are also various hotel accommodations after the security check. These hotels are open 24/7. You can check in to any of these facilities on the day your flight departs with your ticket and ID.
A rental car allows you to go wherever you want. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport offers a wide range of car rental options. The rental desks for Avis, Budget, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt are located at Schiphol Plaza. These are all companies that have competitive prices and good cars. Nevertheless, there are a few small differences between them: for example, the wait times at Sixt and Goldcar are longer than at Hertz. To make sure you get the right rental car to discover the low countries, consider reserving a car with one of these rental companies prior to your trip.
Just follow the "Car Rental" signs in the arrival hall. An employee of the rental company will tell you where you can pick up your rental car.
Always read the car rental contract carefully. Also check to see if there is any damage to the car, and if so, take pictures before you leave the lot. Did you find a dent or other damage to the rental car? Then tell the rental company and have them document this so that you don't have any nasty surprises later.
To rent a car in the Netherlands, most rental companies require you to be at least 21 years of age and have had your driver's license for at least one year. But this differs depending on the rental company. You may have to obtain an international driver's license if you travel to the Netherlands from outside the EU. EU citizens can simply use their own driver's license. Inquire with your car rental company about their rules. You will almost always need a credit card (in the name of the driver). A credit card is required for the security deposit, deductible, damage or traffic fines.
Amsterdam is popular among tourists. The city features exceptional museums, beautiful architecture, an impressive canal district and bustling nightlife. But Amsterdam's surroundings are also lovely. Not far from the city you can visit one of the Netherlands' most famous castles, Muiderslot - nowadays also known as Amsterdam Muiderslot Amsterdam Castle. If you want to see truly Dutch scenery, then the windmills at Zaanse Schans are a must, as are the tulip fields in and near Keukenhof.
A big advantage in the Netherlands is that distances are short. It only takes a few hours to crisscross the entire country. In a mere hour and a half you can drive to the province of Friesland, which boasts many UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the splendid nature of the Wadden Sea or the gigantic (oldest, still operational) Wouda steam pumping station.
After your vacation, simply return your rental car at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Take the Schiphol exit from the A4 freeway and follow the "Car Rental Return" signs. Don't forget to fill up on gas before returning the car.
Schiphol can be reached by car from freeways A4 and A9. From the airport, it takes 26 minutes to reach the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum - if there's no traffic jam, of course. Take the A4 freeway to the city center.
Schiphol Airport has various parking options, both short-term and long-term. For P1 (Short-Term Parking), take Ceintuurbaan Zuid, 1118 CX, Schiphol.
The airport has an excellent train connection with Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands. The train station is directly connected to the main hall of the airport/Schiphol Plaza. In the Netherlands you use a public transport chip card to take public transportation. You can use this card in the train, bus, streetcar (tram) and subway.
There are also taxis and buses available in the arrival halls to take you to your destination.
The roads are very organized and orderly in the Netherlands. You drive on the right side of the road here. You do need to watch out for the many cyclists when driving in the city. Bicycles usually have the right of way in the Netherlands, and there are many special bike lanes. In the city center it's best to park your rental car and go sightseeing on foot or by bicycle.
You may only use the cell phone in hands-free mode when driving.
The Netherlands is not a country for racing. In the cities, speeds are limited to 30 - 50 km/h. During most of the day, highway speeds are limited to 100 km/h, in the evenings (19.00 – 06.00 uur) the maximum speeds are increased to 130 km/h.
There are plenty of spots where you can buy a fun souvenir, from a Dutch Miffy doll to tulip bulbs to a nice pair of sunglasses. There's also plenty of variety to choose from if you want to grab a bite to eat or a drink. Feel like some old-fashioned Dutch pancakes, or perhaps something more exotic?
The Panorama Terrace features a real KLM Cityhopper Fokker 100 airplane whose interior you can check out. But you can also do some airplane spotting or enjoy the lovely view of the airport.
Children can conduct fun scientific experiments at Holland Boulevard. In addition to a NEMO Science Museum annex, there is also a Rijksmuseum Amsterdam pavilion where you can have a last look at the 19th century Dutch masters. There is also a library with comfortable chairs if you feel like relaxing with a book.
There are baby-changing stations throughout the airport. There is also a true Baby Care Lounge for intercontinental passengers with plenty of room for you and your baby to unwind and relax.
The (free) Baby Care Lounge is located at Holland Boulevard, between Lounge 2 and Lounge 3.
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is fully equipped to help travelers with disabilities have the most pleasant journey possible: automatic revolving doors, elevators, handicapped toilets and wheelchairs (upon request). If you have special needs, you should let the airline know in advance.
Need to wait for your flight? You can store your luggage for a maximum of seven days in the basement between arrival halls 1 and 2. There are also lots of small lockers for your carry-on baggage throughout the airport. Seal & Go offers you the option of safely wrapping your luggage in plastic.
The Netherlands has a temperate maritime climate with frequently mild winters and mild summers. It rains during every season.
The two airport codes used to indicate Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in the aviation industry are AMS (IATA airport code) and EHAM (ICAO airport code).