Amsterdam's main station:  Location 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.

small bullet point  Finding your way around

small bullet point  Ticket offices

small bullet point  Left luggage & ATMs

small bullet point  NS First class lounge  

small bullet point  Food & drink

small bullet point  Walking to the sights

small bullet point  Metro, tram & taxi

small bullet point  Suggested hotels

small bullet point  Useful links

    

Other stations

small bullet point  Amsterdam Zuid

On other pages:

small bullet point  London to Amsterdam by Eurostar

small bullet point  London to Amsterdam by train & ferry

small bullet point  Trains from Amsterdam to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from other European cities to Amsterdam

small bullet point  General information for European train travel

Amsterdam Centraal station seen from Victoria Hotel

Amsterdam Centraal taken from the 6th floor of the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel.  Note the tram platforms on both sides of the forecourt (Tram 2 for the Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum goes from the platforms on the left).  The cream building on the right houses the GVB ticket office selling GVB bus, metro, tram tickets.  Larger photo.

Finding your way around the station

Amsterdam Centraal station, exterior

Amsterdam Centraal main entrance.  Pause a moment to look up.  The right-hand tower has a clock, the dial on the left-hand tower shows the wind direction.

Amsterdam Centraal station

1.  Walk through the main entrance.

Amsterdam Centraal main passage under the tracks

2.  ...into the main hall.  There is a staffed information kiosk here, and escalators down to the metro.

Amsterdam Centraal ticket gates

3.  Go through the long line of ticket gates in front of you into the passageway under all the tracks.  Dutch tickets work the gates, so do the QR codes on Eurostar, ICE & Nightjet tickets and Interrail & Eurail mobile passes.

Amsterdam Centraal main passage under the tracks

4.  The passageway is a little lower than ground level (as there's a gentle slope down) with the tracks above.  You go up steps or escalator onto the relevant platform.

Platforms 2 & 4 at Amsterdam Centraal

5.  Platforms are numbered from 1 to 15.  1a is the northwest end of platform 1 and 1b is the southeast end, and so on for all platforms.

This shows platform 2 on the left and platform 4 on the right, looking northwest.  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.

Platforms 2 & 4 at Amsterdam Centraal

Standing on platform 7, looking southeast.

Online departures information

See www.rijdendetreinen.nl/.../amsterdam-centraal for a real-time list of upcoming departures, showing the platform number, type of train and any delays or alterations.  Handy to open on your phone when you're there!

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.  You can also make Dutch domestic journeys simply by touching in and out with a contactless bank card.

Main ticket office:

The main staffed ticket counters (both domestic and international) are located at the 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 keep on walking along that passageway until you reach the ticket counters at the very far end of the building.

Remember that Dutch train tickets cost an extra 1 when bought from a staffed counter or ticket machine instead of buying online or using a contactless bank card.

International tickets & reservations:  The NS International counters in the main ticket office are open morning till evening 7 days a week, for exact opening hours see www.nsinternational.nl.  NS International charge a booking fee for buying tickets from a staffed counter, 1.50 per ticket for tickets to Belgium, Luxembourg & Germany, 7.50 per ticket for tickets to all other countries, so it's better to book online at www.nsinternational.nl if you can (or for IC tickets to Belgium or Luxembourg, use the yellow self-service machines).

Second ticket office:

There is a smaller ticket office on the north (IJmeer) side of the station with several domestic & international counters, it's in a retail unit in the IJhal, the small concourse along that side of the station.  From the main station hall, walk through the IJpasage (the passageway under all the tracks without any ticket barriers) and turn left when you get to the other side.  If the counters in the main ticket office are busy, you may find these less so!

Entrance to the ticket counters   Amsterdam Centraal ticket counters

Entrance to the domestic & international ticket counters.

Ticket counters, some domestic, some international.

Amsterdam Centraal IJhal

Above, the smaller domestic & international ticket office on the far (north) side of the station, marked OV Service & Tickets.  The photo is taken standing in the IJhal, looking at the ticket gates at the entrance to one of the passageways under all the tracks to the south side of the station.

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 (but not Eurostar high-speed trains) to stations in Belgium, Luxembourg & also Aachen & Cologne.  They have a touch screen, an English language facility and they accept coins, MasterCard & Visa cards.

Amsterdam Centraal ticket counters   Entrance to the ticket counters

Left luggage lockers & ATMs

There are ATMs in various places around the station.

There are left luggage lockers if you need to leave your bags.  The lockers are on the ground floor at the eastern end of the main station building.  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 an IC, ICE, Nightjet or Eurostar ticket or Interrail/Eurail mobile pass, the QR barcode should work the gates.

It costs 7 for a small locker (90cm x 45cm x 40cm) or 11 for a large locker (90cm x 60cm x 40cm), for the first 24 hours.  You can pay by debit or credit card, but not cash.  The locker area is open from 05:00 until 00:45.  Maximum deposit 72 hours.

How to use the lockers at Amsterdam Centraal:

Find an open empty locker of the right size, put your bag in it and slam the door.  You then go to the adjacent control panel, switch it to English on the touch screen and follow the instructions to pay for the locker with a contactless bank card.  My UK-issued credit card worked fine.  It prints a receipt with your locker number and a barcode.

To reclaim your bags, go to the same control panel and scan the barcode on your receipt, your locker will pop open. 

There's 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 lockers, marked Bagage.

 

The X-ray machine is normally unused.

Platforms 2 & 4 at Amsterdam Centraal

First class lounge

If you have a 1st class international ticket or a 1st class Interrail or Eurail pass you can use the NS International first class lounge at the western end of platform 2.  Eurostar business premier qualifies for lounge access, but not standard premier.  Follow signs for NS International Lounge.  Open 7 days a week, check www.nsinternational.nl for opening times.

The lounge 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 1e 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.  Larger photo.

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.

Grand Cafe 1e Klas - recommended

For somewhere classy, historic & quiet for a beer, coffee or meal before your train I recommend the beautifully retro Grand Cafe 1e Klas (restaurant1eklas.nl), open from 09:30 to 23:00 every day of the week, located in what was originally the 1st class station restaurant.  It makes a great VIP waiting room, for the price of a coffee - and you get to meet Elvis, see the photos below.

They serve lunch & dinner and the food is excellent, I highly recommend the prawns in olive oil starter and the Flanders stew, browse the current menu at restaurant1eklas.nl.  If you enter the cafe from the station side you'll see Restaurant 1e Klasse in beautiful architectural tiling above the entrance door.

To reach the cafe from the main station entrance hall, look for an easy-to-miss set of stairs in the far right-hand corner of the main entrance hall, to the right of the row of ticket gates in front of you.  The cafe is one floor up, at platform level.  You'll see some historic tiling, the cafe is located in the former 1st class restaurant.

To reach the cafe from the platforms, go to platform 2.  The cafe has an entrance on platform 2b (the eastern end of platform 2) which has been fitted with an automatic ticket gate, see the photos below.  Simply scan the barcode on your ticket to open the gate and access the cafe.

Grand Cafe 1e Klas, interior

The beautifully retro Grand Cafe 1e Klas.  Larger photo.

Elvis the cockatoo at Amsterdam's Cafe 1e Klas   Cafe 1e Klas, uitsmijter

Elvis is in the house! Above left, Elvis the cockatoo on the bar at the Grand Kafe 1e Klas.  Above right, a Dutch uitsmijter, the perfect lunch, a sort of deconstructed omelette with ham & cheese.  Or how about a Wiener schnitzel?  For dinner, prawns in olive oil and the Flanders stew hit the spot.

Grand Cafe 1e Klas, exterior

The entrance to the Grand Cafe 1e Klas on platform 2.  Note the ticket gates between platform & cafe.

Cafe, 2e Klas

The class system is alive and well at Amsterdam Centraal!  Just before you reach the Grand Cafe 1e Klas having gone up the steps from the main hall, you'll see a more basic self-service cafe, marked Wachtkamer 2e Klasse (2nd class waiting room) - and the surroundings are still grand enough.  However, although the Grand Cafe 1e Klas opens until late, this more basic coffee place only opens until around 18:00.

Amsterdam Centraal cafe   Amsterdam Centraal cafe

Door to the Wachtkamer 2e Klasse, in the passageway to the Grand Cafe 1e Klas.  Note ticket gate to/from platform 2.

Cafe located in the old Wachtkamer 2e Klasse.

Walking to the sights

Metro, tram & taxi

A tram at Amsterdam Centraal

A tram outside Amsterdam Centraal.  Tram 2 to Museumplein for the Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum leaves from these tram platforms.  You board by the centre doors, and leave by end doors.  Remember to touch in with a ticket or contactless bank card as you board and touch out as you leave.

Amsterdam Centraal GVB ticket office

The GVB ticket office for metro/tram/bus tickets, across the forecourt and to the left from Amsterdam Centraal's main exit.

Hotels in Amsterdam

Outside Amsterdam Centraal

The view as you walk out of the station.  The Damrak is straight ahead of you, into the heart of the city.  The Park Plaza Victoria Hotel is on the corner to the right of the Damrak, with a dome above its (former) front door.

Useful links

Keep your eyes open

You'll find all sorts of historic details around this beautiful station dating from 1884.

Amsterdam Centraal frontage   Amsterdam Centraal -winged railway wheel

Amsterdam Zuid

Amsterdam Zuid is a secondary station in the financial district some way south of Amsterdam city centre.  Its platforms sit sandwiched between the 3 eastbound and 3 westbound lanes of the A10 motorway which produce a constant traffic drone.  Amsterdam Zuid is not one of my favourite stations! 

At the moment, you shouldn't need to go here.  But from December 2024, the Brussels-Amsterdam Intercity trains will be diverted to Zuid instead of Centraal.  Longer term, there are plans to massively develop the station to become the terminal for Amsterdam's international trains, with the A10 motorway put in a tunnel and covered with greenery.  It may then all look wonderful, but currently it's underwhelming (I'm being polite here).

How to transfer between Zuid & Centraal

Metro line M52 links Amsterdam Centraal with Amsterdam Zuid every few minutes, just 5 stops taking 9 minutes.  The metro is fast and modern, it accepts contactless bank cards so just touch your card on the ticket gate reader and the gate will open, do the same at the other end and your bank account will be charged.  Metro line M51 also links Centraal and Zuid, but via a slightly longer route.  Heading from Centraal to Zuid you want M52 towards Zuid.  Heading from Zuid to Centraal you want M52 towards Noord.  At Zuid, the metro is above ground, the metro platforms are alongside the mainline NS platforms.  For metro information see www.gvb.nl.

Station overview & facilities

The tracks run on a raised viaduct, station facilities are in the passage way under the tracks, with lifts and steps up to each platform.  There's a Starbucks and a minimarket just outside the entrance, and several newsagent kiosks, but facilities are limited.  There's a Wagamama restaurant not far from the north side entrance.  The best facility is the metro to Centraal.

Amsterdam Zuid exterior

This is the main entrance on the northern side of the tracks, the side facing Amsterdam city centre.

Amsterdam Zuid concourse

A dingy underpass runs under all the tracks from the north side entrance to the south side entrance, with lifts/steps/escalators up to each platform.  Entering from the north side, the ticket gates for the GVB metro platforms are just inside the underpass, the gates for the NS mainline platforms are beyond those.

Amsterdam Zuid platforms

The platforms and tracks are raised above ground level.  The metro is also above ground here, the metro platforms are alongside the mainline Netherlands Railways platforms.  This photo is taken from the metro platforms on the north side, looking south towards the NS mainline platforms.

Amsterdam Zuid metro platform

Amsterdam Zuid metro platform with a M52 metro to Centraal Station about to leave.


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