About the city
Amsterdam is the capital and largest city of the Netherlands, located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. Amsterdam has a cool oceanic climate strongly influenced by its proximity to the North Sea to the west, with prevailing north-western winds and gales. Winter temperatures are generally mild, but can fall below 0°C. Amsterdam's average annual precipitation is less than 760 mm. Most of this precipitation is in the form of protracted drizzle or light rain, making cloudy and damp days common during the cooler months, October through March.
More information about Amsterdam can be found at the following websites:
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is less than 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam Central Station. It is the home base of three airlines, KLM, transavia.com and Martinair.
Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle-friendly large cities in the world and is a centre of bicycle culture with good facilities for cyclists such as bike paths and bike racks, which pervade the city.
In the city centre, driving a car is discouraged. Parking fees are expensive, and many streets are closed to cars or are one-way. The local government sponsors carsharing and carpooling initiatives such as Autodelen and Meerijden.nu.
Public transport in Amsterdam mainly consists of bus and tram lines, operated by Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf, Connexxion and Arriva. Three free ferries carry pedestrians and cyclists across the IJ to Amsterdam-Noord, and two-fare charging ferries run east and west along the harbour. There are also water taxis, a water bus, a boat sharing operation, electric rental boats (Boaty), and canal cruises that transport people along Amsterdam's waterways.
Amsterdam is served by nine stations of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways). Five are intercity stops: Sloterdijk, Zuid, Amstel, Bijlmer ArenA, and Amsterdam Centraal. The stations for local services are: Lelylaan, RAI, Holendrecht and Muiderpoort. Amsterdam Centraal is also an international train station. From the station there are regular services to destinations such as Austria, Belarus, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia, and Switzerland.
The Netherlands uses the euro (€). If you're coming with US dollars you'll be aware that the euro has appreciated sharply against the dollar in the past couple of years.
Whether or not you require a visa for the Netherlands depends on a number of factors. Please ensure that you check passport and visa requirements directly with the foreign office or the relevant embassy before travel.