Amsterdam's main station:  Click for location & city map...

Amsterdam Centraal is the Dutch capital's main station, located right in the heart of Amsterdam, easy walking distance from most of the city's sights and hotels.  The impressive station building was designed by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers and completed in 1884.  Cuypers also designed the Rijksmuseum, the similarity is not coincidence.  You can read more about the history of Amsterdam Centraal Station and its construction at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amsterdam_Centraal_station.

  Finding your way around

  Ticket offices

  Left luggage & ATMs

  NS First class lounge  

  Food & drink

  Metro, bus & tram

  Useful links

 

On other pages....

  Trains from Amsterdam to other European cities

  Trains from other European cities to Amsterdam

  General information for European train travel

Amsterdam Centraal station, exterior

Amsterdam Centraal, seen as you walk towards the station from the city centre.

Finding your way around the station...

  • Main hall...  You walk through the main entrance (in the centre of the photo below) into the station's main hall.  Which isn't that big, as city station main halls usually go.  There are a couple of NS (Dutch Railways) information desks here to help with any questions, and plenty of yellow NS ticket machines.  If you want to buy a ticket from a staffed counter, see here.

  • Ticket gates...  On the far side of the main hall you'll see a row of automatic ticket gates controlling access into the passageway under the tracks.  Dutch domestic tickets operate the gates automatically and if your international ticket has a QR barcode this should also work to open the gates when held against the scanner (Thalys, ICE, Eurostar QR barcodes work, though some may not).  If you have an InterRail or Eurail pass or your ticket barcode doesn't work the gates, simply ask a member of staff to let you through.

    Tip:  Some facilities such as the luggage lockers and first class lounge are inside the gateline, but if you arrive on an ICE, Thalys or Eurostar train you'll find that the QR barcode on your ticket will work the gates for the rest of the day, letting you in & out as much as you like.

  • Passageway under the tracks...  Once through the ticket gates, a broad passageway lined with retail outlets takes you under the tracks.  There are escalators up to each platform on the left and stairs up to each platform on the right.  The main hall and passageway under the tracks is at street level, the platforms are one level up.

  • Platforms...  Platforms are numbered 1 to 15, with platform 1 on the city side of the station and platform 15 on the far side.  All are 'through' platforms where trains can leave in either direction except for platform 1 which is a dead-end bay platform.

    Two trains can use each platform at a time, so each platform has an 'a' end to the left (northwest) and a 'b' end to the right (southeast) so if your train leaves from (say) platform 14b it means the southeast half of platform 14.  It is all clearly signed.

    Departure screens all over the station show you which platform your train will leave from.  IC & ICE trains to Germany typically use platform 2 but often use other platforms.  Thalys high-speed trains to Brussels & Paris and the IC trains to Brussels typically use platform 13, 14 or 15.  But always check the screens!

Amsterdam Centraal station   Amsterdam Centraal station

1.  You walk into the main entrance...

 

2.  You then find yourself in the main hall.

Amsterdam Centraal ticket gates   Amsterdam Centraal under the tracks

3.  You go through the long line of ticket gates into the passageway under the tracks...

 

4.  The passageway is at ground level, the tracks are above.  You go up the escalators to the relevant platform.

Platforms 2 & 4 at Amsterdam Centraal

5.  Platforms are numbered from 1 to 15 with the northwest end of each platform being 'a' and the southeast end 'b'.  This shows platform 2 on the left and platform 4 on the right.  There are only in fact 11 platforms because tracks 3, 6, 9 &12 are 'centre roads' which don't have a platform.  Platform 1 is a bay platform, so the first long through platform right next to the station building is platform 2.

Domestic & international ticket offices...

There are plenty of ticket machines around the station, with a touch screen & English language facility, it's quickest & easiest to use those for domestic tickets.

The staffed ticket counters (both domestic and international) are located at the extreme western end of the main station building, on the ground floor - in other words, walk in through the station's main entrance, turn immediately left and just keep on walking along that passageway until you reach the ticket counters at the very end of the building.

The NS International ticket office is open morning till evening 7 days a week, you'll find precise opening hours at www.nsinternational.nl.  Note that NS International charge a booking fee in excess of 7 per person for buying from a staffed counter on top of the cost of the ticket, so it's far better to book online if you can, or (if you want IC tickets to Belgium or Luxembourg) use the yellow self-service machines.

Entrance to the ticket counters   Amsterdam Centraal ticket counters

Way in to the domestic & international ticket counters...

Ticket counters, some domestic, some international.

Self-service ticket machines...

The yellow ticket machines located all around the station are the easy way to buy Dutch domestic tickets or international tickets for IC trains (not for Thalys) to stations in Belgium, Luxembourg & also Aachen & Cologne.  They have a touch screen, an English language facility and they accept cash, MasterCard & Visa cards.

Amsterdam Centraal ticket counters   Entrance to the ticket counters

Left luggage lockers & ATMs...

There are various ATMs around the station.  Left luggage lockers of various sizes are available if you need to leave your bags, see the luggage lockers page for prices & opening hours.  The left luggage lockers are located on the ground floor at the eastern end of the main station building:  If you walk in through the main station entrance, turn immediately right, walk along that passageway a little way until you come to another set of ticket gates.  You'll see the baggage area just inside the gateline - any ticket valid that day (the one you arrived on, or the one you will leave with) will let you in & out of the ticket gates as much as you like.  If you have a Thalys, IC, ICE or Eurostar ticket, the QR barcode on that ticket should work the gates.  Payment for the lockers is made by credit or debit card, not cash.  There's a also a private left luggage facility in the city at Damrak 247 which accepts cash, see www.lockerpoint.com.

Amsterdam Centraal luggage lockers entrance   Amsterdam Centraal luggage lockers

Entrance to the luggage locker area...

 

Luggage lockers area.

First class lounge...

If you have a 1st class international ticket or a 1st class railpass you can use the NS International first class lounge at the western end of platform 2.  Follow signs for NS International Lounge.  Check www.nsinternational.nl for opening times.  It offers complimentary unlimited tea & coffee, charging points & free WiFi.  One complimentary soft drink or bottle of water.  Beer, wine and snacks to buy.  You can pay to access the lounge if you don't have a first class ticket, prices can be found at www.nsinternational.nl although I'd suggest using the Grand Cafe 1st Klas as your VIP departure lounge instead, see the section below...

Entrance to NS Lounge at Amsterdam Centraal   NS Lounge, Amsterdam Centraal

Entrance on platform 2a.

 

Inside the NS Lounge.  Courtesy of Brian Read...

Food & drink...

There are plenty of places to eat & drink at Amsterdam Centraal including Burger King on platform 2, a Starbucks & a Wagamama.  There are minimarkets where you can stock up for the journey, including a Hema mini-market on the left just inside the ticket gates in the main passageway under all the tracks.

The Man in Seat 61's top tip...  For somewhere classy, historic & quiet for a beer, coffee or meal before your train I recommend the beautifully retro Grand Cafe 1e Klas towards the eastern end of platform 2.  Say hello to the cockatoo on the bar for me.  If you enter the cafe from the platform you'll need to use your ticket to get in & out through the automatic ticket gate in the cafe entrance.

Grand Cafe 1e Klas, exterior   Grand Cafe 1e Klas, interior

Local transportWalking, taxis & metro...

  • Walking...  It's easy to walk from the station to the city sights.  Centraal station to Dam Square takes 10 minutes - you basically walk out of the station and keep going straight ahead of you along the main street.  Centraal Station to Anne Frank's House takes 19 minutes.

  • Metro, bus & tram:  For city transport in Amsterdam see https://en.gvb.nl.

  • Taxis:  For a taxi fare calculator see www.taxifarefinder.com/main.php?city=Amsterdam-Netherlands.  Taxis are usually plentiful outside the station.

Useful links...

Amsterdam Centraal frontage   Amsterdam Centraal -winged railway wheel

Keep your eyes open - you'll find all sorts of historic details around the station.


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