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Tips & Tricks
Amsterdam Connect > Tips & Tricks

Prohibited to smoke
Since 2006, it is prohibited to smoke in all train- and metrostations, waiting areas and on platforms. Special smoking areas have been created. There are designated smoking pillars, which is basically a 2-meter high ashtray, where you can smoke and extinguish your cigarettes. The fine for smoking outside these areas is 25 Euro, and throwing your cigarette on the platform can cost you 40 Euro.

Valid tickets
Some people are in a rush, some people just forget to buy one and some people like to take risks. But, boarding a train/metro/tram without a valid ticket is not allowed. Moreover, it is not possible to buy tickets on the train. A fine of 35 Euro will be added to your ticket if you are an illegal passenger.

Train tickets
Where can train tickets be bought? Only at the train station itself. For some people it is a real challenge to find out how the automatic ticket machine works. Besides, they do not provide instructions in English. If you don’t want to take this high road, go to the information desk and buy your ticket in here. Be aware of the fact that you’ll have to pay 50 cent extra for your ticket at the information desk.

Cycling paths
Avoid walking along the (sometimes red) cycling paths. The paths are usually clearly marked with a white bike on the way. These are express-roads through the city in which the biker rules. Avoid walking on, and standing in bike lanes looking at maps, chat around, etc. This drives locals mad. When you hear a bike bell, get out of the way as quick as you can.

Do not talk to the individuals on the streets who are trying to sell you something (most likely drugs or bikes) - this is illegal and you get robbed during the negotiations. The drugs is not trust-worthy(so unsafe to use) and the bikes are usually stolen.

Do you love going to the cinema and are you staying for a longer period in Amsterdam? Buy a Pathé-card which gives you free entrance at all Pathé cinemas for one whole month. Costs: 17 euros. Check for more details

Let’s face it: the official taxi rates in Amsterdam are somewhat expensive. The taxi rates are divided into two different parts: one is a flat rate (around 3 Euro) and one is metered per kilometre (around 1,90 Euro per kilometre). It is possible to hail a taxi on the street, but you’ll get a taxi easier by waiting at a taxi rank or just call one (020-6777777). However, we recommend you to take the tram/metro/train as often as possible, since they can take you almost anywhere for 1 or  euro.

Discount card
Want to get free entrance at museums, attractions, restaurants and public transfer? Amsterdam offers the ´I Amsterdam Card´, a special card for tourists who want to explore Amsterdam at the very bottom. Costs start at 33 Euros for 24 hours.  For more information check the Information Office at the Central Station or buy this card online on

Pre-paid calling
When you’re staying in Amsterdam for a short period (between five and twelve months), replace your mobile number in order to save money. Search the internet for the kind of provider you like most, and go to the nearest mobile shop to buy a ´Prepaid SIM only card´. The costs depend on the provider. Every mobile number in the Netherlands starts with 06.

When you’re staying in Amsterdam for a longer period (a year at least), its best to get a contract with a telephone provider. You can go to a phone shop and ask what offers they have. Make sure you sign a 12 months contract instead of a 24 months one, because you have to pay the agreed upon amount every month by bank. If you want a telephone contract, bring a copy of a valid identity card, a copy of your bank duplicate (from last month) and a copy of your bank card (front and back).

Access codes fr phone
Always keep the card with the PIN/PUK number when you get a mobile phone chip. You will need this to get a replacement chips with the same number if your phone gets lost or stolen, or register with the phone company when you get the chip.

Enjoy Amsterdam by bike
Wherever you look in Amsterdam you see bicycles; people cross on their bicycles through the park, pimp their wheels with flowers and accessorizes, cycle with two friends on one bicycle and wrap three lockers on their own mobile transport. In the centre of Amsterdam 40% of the inhabitants move themselves by bicycles. The best way to see this city is to cycle along with these inhabitants and enjoy Amsterdam at a whole new level! For bike rental, check the ´Activities´ page on the left.

Are you looking for a room in Amsterdam? Quite a challenge but not impractible. In the beginning don’t be too critical. Find a balance and take these three important tips in consideration. (1) Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a place to stay (2) Search on the internet, like,, (3) Post original adverts in Albert Heijn or any other local gathering. Good luck!

If you’re having a problem that can be solved by the police, call 0900 88 44. For emergency help, call 112. To find a number, dial 1888 or 1850 to speak with an operator. Explain which number you’re looking for and you will be connected. Looking for tourist information? Call Amsterdam Tourist Assistant Service 020 625 32 46, they will also assist with victim aid.

25 degrees in March? Ice skating in November after a tropical October? Raining August? It is all possible. Due to the global warming or not, be prepared for everything. In general the forecast are reliable, but if you need to be sure what tomorrow brings, check (page 704) or call 0900 8003 (EUR 0,70 ct p/m).

Like any other major European city, Amsterdam has its share of petty crime. The best advice we can give is to only carry what is absolutely essential with you, which means leaving passport, documents and unnecessary credit cards and cash at home or in your hotel/hostel, if possible in a safe deposit box. However, if despite all precautions you are unlucky enough to be victim of a theft and want to make a report, go to the nearest local police office. The one nearest to the shopping street is at Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 104-108 or at the Lijnbaansgracht 219.

If you lost something in a TCA taxi (Taxi Centre Amsterdam) , you can call their lost-property-line on 020-677 7777 or 020-777 7777 to see if it has been handed in.

Need to report your stay in the Netherlands? Go to the Immigratie- and Naturalisatiedienst (IND, Immigration and Naturalisation Institution). This agency is situated a bit outside of Amsterdam, at Mercuriusplein 1 in Hoofddorp. You can only go there by appointment. Call 0900-1234561 (EUR 0,10 p/m), choose option appointments, available on Monday till Friday between 9.00-17.00.

Road constructions
Tired of traffic diversion in the middle of Amsterdam? Can’t stand the unexpected obstacles on your road to work? Looking forward to ride on a normal paved cycle path? Dream on. Amsterdam will be under construction until 2013 due to this whole new project called: the North-South line. This new metro line 52 from 9.5 kilometres will connect the North of Amsterdam to the South. We all hope it is worth all the unconfident, but for now…get used to it.

Cheap theatre tickets
Every day the Last Minute Ticket Shop offers tickets for cabaret, theatre, music, film, opera, comedy etcetera at half price. They show the last tickets on You cannot order online, so tickets should be picked up at their office on Leidseplein 26.

Second hand
The main area where to go to, if you’re looking for a whole new second hand wardrobe, is the Nine Streets. These streets are situated in the Jordaan, just behind the Spui and surrounded by the canals. Don’t hesitate to step into Laura Dolls, Episode and Zipper. On Saturday you can even score a design outfit for a special offer at Van Ravenstein. Nine streets: all funky vintage, unique pieces for less money.

Book market
Looking for cheap second hand books? Every Friday at the Spui there is a book market from 10.00 am till 18.00 pm. Especially for antiquaries those markets are interesting. You can also take a look in de Slegte, a book store that buys and sells books. In particular for students who have to buy new expensive books… check out the Slegte first! (Kalverstraat 48-52)

Wherever you are sitting having a few drinks in a bar with friends, eating a sandwich from Bakker Bart, drinking coffee in the Coffee Company or elsewhere: hold onto your bag! Bag theft happens every day here… and if you do get robbed check the bins nearby, where they might have dumped you bag.

Amsterdam is surrounded by lots of small villages. Haarlem, as capital of the North of Holland, is one of them. Visit the Gothic St Bavo Church and take stroll trough historic streets. If you don’t have a car, take the train from Amsterdam Central Station to Haarlem every 10th, 15th, 27th, 40th, 45th and 57th minutes past the hour. In 15 minutes you will see a whole other typical Dutch atmosphere!

If you want to buy some food, Albert Heijn has almost everything. It is easy to find (they are everywhere) but unfortunately, it is quite expensive. If you want to do cheap grocery shopping, go to Dirk (for example at Heinekenplein). The Dirk has great choice for little prices. For those who really want the best price/quality proportion, your best shot would be the market (for example the Dappermarkt or Albert Kuijp). 









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