Frequendly asked questions
Questions about amsterdam
One traveler already knows a lot about Amsterdam, another traveler will visit Amsterdam for the first time. Find below the most common questions about a first time visit to Amsterdam.
WHAT LANGUAGE DO THEY SPEAK IN AMSTERDAM?
Naturally, it’s Dutch but English is widely spoken throughout the city and The Netherlands. Other languages are Spanish and German however these are less spoken.
DO TRAMS AND TRAINS RUN 24/7?
No, roughly trams and the subway do not run between 01 AM and 5:30 AM. If you need transport between those hours you have to take a taxi.
Trains from Amsterdam Central Station to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, however, do run between 01 AM and 5:30 AM once per hour. Check departure times at the NS site (Dutch Railway Company).
DO YOU PAY IN EURO IN AMSTERDAM?
Yes, the currency in The Netherlands is the euro. All credit cards are accepted as well. Remember, paying with credit card is not very common in The Netherlands since the Dutch have their own digital payment system with bank cards.
However, you should take a credit card with you to Amsterdam since ticket machines (among them for public transport) and parking machines do not accept cash. If you go to small shops it’s better to pay in cash also.
BEWARE OF … BIKES!
Travelling around in Amsterdam by car is a real hassle and parking your car is really expensive. For that reason, a lot of people use their bikes. There is an estimated number of 880.000 bikes (!) in Amsterdam whilst the city has around 835.000 inhabitants.
And bikes come from each direction! Even a red light does not stop the bikers. A one-way road in Amsterdam means no cars from the opposite direction, but bikes always are allowed to use one-way roads in each direction.
When you are in Amsterdam, take a bike and do as the locals do!
WHERE CAN I FIND A MAP OF THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT?
More information and a map you can read and see on the Red Light District page.
WHERE IS AMSTERDAM LOCATED?
The city of Amsterdam is located in the west part of The Netherlands, not far from the Dutch coastline and more or less in the center of the western part in the province of North Holland. Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands or Holland.
WHAT COUNTRY IS AMSTERDAM IN, HOLLAND OR THE NETHERLANDS?
Now, this indeed might be confusing. First of all, The Netherlands consists of 12 provinces and 2 of those provinces are called South Holland and North Holland, there you have the name ‘Holland’. These 2 provinces together are called ‘Holland’and those 2 provinces are the most densely populated provinces of the country. Amsterdam is located in the North Holland province.
The official name of the country is The Netherlands, although even the Dutch people use the name Holland often.
The Netherlands itself is part of The Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of The Netherlands, located in Europe and in the Carribean St. Martin, Aruba, Curacao and 3 special municipalities; Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire.
Still confused? Watch this video:
AMSTERDAM, CAPITAL OF THE NETHERLANDS
Although the capital of The Netherlands is Amsterdam, Amsterdam is not the capital of the province North Holland, that is the nearby city Haarlem. Amsterdam is the largest city in The Netherlands, but is not ‘big’ in everything. The Dutch government is located in the 3rd largest city in The Netherlands: The Hague. The Dutch King also lives in this area.
The largest harbor of The Netherlands is located in Rotterdam, the 2nd largest city in The Netherlands. In Utrecht, the 4th largest city in The Netherlands, you will find the largest railway station.
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is the international airport of The Netherlands and its location is very close to Amsterdam downtown.
Did you know Amsterdam is close to other major cities?
Amsterdam – Londen: 214 miles (345 km)
Amsterdam – Brussel: 108 miles (173 km)
Amsterdam – Paris: 267 miles (430 km)
Amsterdam – Berlin: 360 miles (579 km)
AMSTERDAM IN 360°
WHAT IS A COFFEE SHOP IN AMSTERDAM?
Remember: a coffee shop in Amsterdam is NOT the coffee shop you think it is. A coffee shop in Amsterdam means a place where you can buy and smoke weed/pot. Sure, they serve coffee too if you want too but that’s not their main business.
CAN I SMOKE WEED IN THE STREETS IN AMSTERDAM?
Yes, you can. And it is allowed too so no worries about the police arresting you. Strictly to the law, it is prohibited, but it’s tolerated in The Netherlands. The possession of weed is also tolerated as long as it is in a portion for personal use. However, selling and buying weed outside the coffee shops is not tolerated!
NOTE: from mid May 2023 new rules will apply. Smoking joints in the historical part of the centre in Amsterdam is prohibited.