By Car


Accessible Amsterdam
(but not really!)
Amsterdam is not a car loving city. Bicycles are a constant irritation, parking fee is about €5 per hour in the center and parking space is scarce. If interested you may click here to find a worldwide comparison of parking fees. (PDF 900 KB)

If you still want to come by car you are advised to examine thoroughly a PDF file (7.4MB) that is titled 'Accessible Amsterdam'. Especially the first three pages of this file are important for motorists.
Click on your favorite language to see this file: English Dutch German French.
As you can see this file has six pages that can be printed on three sheets (A4 or Letter size), stapled together and as a booklet taken to Amsterdam.

Please find more details about 'Inexpensive P+R parking' by clicking one of the following links: English Dutch German French Spanish Italian and download the PDF file in your language (360KB) from that internet page. But remember that the parking fee for 24 hours has increased from €6 to €8 on February 1, 2011. The least chance to get an inexpensive P+R parking place is in P+R Olympisch Stadion. The best chance is in P+R Gaasperplas.

Most of the car parks in Amsterdam can also be found in the internet sites www.p1.nl and www.q-park.nl (both in Dutch). In the starting page of each internet site you are asked to fill in the name of a city ('stad' is city in Dutch), after filling in 'Amsterdam' you can then click for a list of car parks and proceed. I am sorry these internet sites are in Dutch only, but I think a great part can be understood.

If you open maps.google.nl and zoom in on Amsterdam and select 'Map' instead of 'Satellite', you will see again the A10 ring road (beltway) and the numbered streets (S100 to S118) that can be seen on page 2 of 'Accessible Amsterdam'. You may now fill in an address and a city name (for instance: 'Emmastraat 1 Amsterdam') and find this address and the nearest numbered street. If you take a taxi from Schiphol it is sometimes helpful to have a map handy as the Schiphol Taxi drivers serve many other places. For them the S-number of the exit is especially important.


Parking Meters

City districts At the left you see a map of the City districts.
The municipality (between the red solid lines) is divided in sixteen City districts (in dotted red lines). (because of mergers there are now eight districts)

Each City district has its own kind of Parking Meters.

Most parking meters in the city have a number of five digits in top, above or under the letter 'P', that can be transmitted by mobile phone after which the car owner's bank account or credit card will be debited. With this system there is no need to display a ticket behind the windscreen or to plan the duration of the parking time. 40 percent of the transactions are done by mobile phone. The car owner must apply online for this way of paying at Yellow Brick, Parkmobile, Park-line or SMS parking. Only the latter is in Dutch and English, the other three are only in Dutch.

The parking meters in Centrum, Oud Zuid and Oud West will be treated below.

Click here about parking fines and towing away.

Click here to see the calendar of 2010 in the Netherlands. and click here to see the calendar of 2011. On the red days most people have a day off and most shops are closed.


Parking meter in the Centrum city district This is a parking meter in the Centrum city district and more and more streets in the Oud Zuid city district, east of the Rijksmuseum and Museumplein.
This parking meter has touch screens and accepts no cash. Accepted are payments by mobile phones, 'PIN' (ATM cards issued by Dutch banks), 'Chip' or 'Chipknip' (smart cards for small amounts in Dutch ATM cards), debitcards with the Maestro logo and Visa and Mastercard credit cards.
You can select English or Dutch touch screens.

In one of the touch screens you may enter your licenceplate number after which there is no need to display a ticket behind the windscreen (windshield).


This is an important screen:
Safe PIN usage
A method being used very frequently in the Netherlands is a type of skimming where the perpetrator puts a device over the card slot of an ATM (automated teller machine), which reads the magnetic strip as the user unknowingly passes their card through it. These devices are often used in conjunction with a pinhole camera to read the user's PIN at the same time.
So, keep your free hand over the hand that is keying in the pin code. Check your bank statements regularly. The 'picture' mentioned in this touch screen has been scraped off the parking meter. Click here for a youtube movie about criminal ATM skimming.


Parking meter in the Centrum district. Front Parking meter in the Centrum district.


Welcome


Information screen
After touching an 'Info' icon in any other screen, this screen will appear.

Enter your license number


Choose article


Paying
You can even park for five minutes. 'Creditcard' is Visa or Mastercard; 'Chip' is a smart card for small amounts in Dutch ATM cards; 'PIN' ATM cards issued by Dutch banks and debitcards with the Maestro logo.


Please follow the instructions in the Point of sale terminal
This text is not translated. It means 'Please follow the instructions in the Point of sale terminal' In the Point of sale terminal you can select Dutch, English, German and French.


Parking meter in the Oud Zuid and Oud West city districts This is a parking meter in the Oud Zuid and Oud West city districts.

Underneath the 'P' is the word 'Chipknip'. This is a smart card for small amounts that is on all ATM cards issued by Dutch banks. Most people (if they do not pay by mobile phone) use the Chipknip.

For both systems (mobile phone and Chipknip) a Dutch bank account is needed. If you do not have a Dutch bank account you must insert euro coins of 10 cents or more. If coins are not accepted you can try an other nearby parking meter or ask a passer-by if his Chipknip may be used. Shopkeepers are mostly unwilling to give coins.

Please note: The parking meters in Oud Zuid are now being replaced by the sort that are in the Centrum district and that are discussed above.


Instructions on the parking meter in the Oud Zuid


At the left you see the instructions of the parking meter in the city district of Oud Zuid.

The only legible words are 'ALLEEN CHIPPEN', meaning that you must use a Chipknip (smart cards for small amounts in Dutch ATM cards). As you can see, the slit for the coins has been blocked, in spite of the image of coins. So you must try an other nearby parking meter or ask a passer-by if his Chipknip may be used.

It is rather confusing that the order of the operations (yellow - blue - green - red) is not the same as the order of the buttons (green - yellow - blue - red)


Below, you can see the instructions in a readable size, in Dutch and English.

The instructions of the parking meter in the city district of Oud West are different from Oud Zuid although the parking meters are exactly the same.

If you are interested you may click here for a PDF file (1.5MB) comparing parking fees and parking meters worldwide. In here you find the Oud Zuid and Oud West parking meters and the Oud West instructions.

Instructions on the parking meter in the Oud Zuid. Enlarged
Instructions in Oud Zuid
Of the instructions, the following is not translated into English:
When inserting coins (2A) you will automatically be setting time. After every insertion you will see in the display that the duration to park will go up. When using a Chipknip (2B) (Chipknip is a smart cards for small amounts in Dutch ATM cards) you must push the blue button to confirm the price.
Free days are Sundays and 1 January, 30 April, 25 and 26 December, Ascension day, Easter and Whitsuntide (Pentecost) and the Mondays after Easter and Whitsuntide.


Instructions on the parking meter in the Oud West. Enlarged
Instructions in Oud West
The column on the right side is not translated into English; it is assumed that all Dutch bank card owners understand Dutch.
For those who wish to pay with a chipknip (smart cards for small amounts in Dutch ATM cards) but do not understand Dutch: Items 2 and 5 mean insert/take out the chipknip. Item 3 means use the blue button to set time (A) or make your choice from Daytime ticket (B), Evening ticket (C) and 24 hour ticket (D). The items 1, 4 and 6 are the same as 1, 3 and 4 in the left column.


Explication in Dutch of parking meter Vipas
Explication in Dutch of the touch-screen parking meter. In district Centrum and parts of district Oud Zuid. Discussed above.
Explication in Dutch of parking meter DG. In district Oud West. Discussed above.
Explication in Dutch of parking meter Strada Express
Explication in Dutch of parking meter with turning knob. The depths of misery.


Route planners

Click here for a route planner for motorists in the Netherlands. If you do not know how to spell a street name, you may use the postal code.

Click here for the beta version of a route planner by TomTom. Here, you may use the postal codes as well. Tom Tom also states road works, jams etc.

Click here for a route planner for motorists in Amsterdam
After clicking on the link up here you will see the map of the municipality. Under that map you can zoom in and out and click for English. Please read the instruction at the right side of the map and proceed. Postal codes are not accepted.
In the map you can click on any warning triangle for road works. Then you will see a detailed street plan of the work on the road and an explanation in the right column, that is now in Dutch again. In this detailed street plan, the street names around the road work relate to alternative routes that are explained in the text. In the text, the word Klaar, in bold type and followed by a date, means Finished. The word Omleiding in the bottom means Alternative route.


Car rental

Click here for the six companies that hire out cars at Schiphol airport. Most of them are open seven days a week from about 7 am until 11 pm. Please find the icon for Car rental in the Schiphol floor plan . It is in the 'Arrivals & Schiphol Plaza' near one of the revolving doors to the outside, above the underground car park P1.

Below you may click on the names of these companies and find more addresses and business hours.

Avis
Budget Then search the Google map.
Europcar Then click on Vestigingen in the grey menu bar, and then on Europcar.
Hertz Click on Locations in the left column of their internet site, click then on Full Location List in the menu bar. Select Netherlands and Amsterdam.
National Car Rental Click on Locations in the dark green menu bar of their home page and fill in 'City' and 'Amsterdam' in the "location search".
Sixt. Click then on the number 1 in the Google map that will be shown and you will see Schiphol.


Traffic jams

Especially when going to Schiphol Airport by car or bus you should reckon with delay. The internet links below may be maybe helpful.

Click here to see a map of the Netherlands. Select Files or traffic jams, if necessary. The red lines are the actual traffic jams and the redder the red the slower the cars. Tick the three boxes on top of the map so that you can see what they mean.
You may click in or outside the rectangles to see an enlargement in a separate pop-up screen. In this screen you may tick the seven boxes so that you can see what they mean.
Translations of the Dutch words in the top of the maps: Files means: Traffic jams, Flitsers (mobiel) means: Mobile traffic enforcement camera, Benzinestations means: Petrol/gas station, Weer means: Weather, Werkzaamheden means: Work on the road, Webcams means: Webcam and P+R-locaties means: Park and ride.

Click here to see several maps of the Netherlands with the 'traffic forecast'. It is updated every weekday before noon.
Because it is in Dutch, please remember the days of the week: maandag, dinsdag, woensdag, donderdag, vrijdag, zaterdag and zondag. And ochtend, middag and avond mean: morning, afternoon and evening. So maandagochtend, woensdagmiddag and vrijdagavond mean: Monday morning, Wednesday afternoon and Friday evening.

Click here to see a broad outline for the next months (PDF 85KB).