By train to Amsterdam

When a German consortium stated building InterCityExpress (ICE) trains in the early 1990s, they thought they could market them worldwide and make a big hit on the export market. Up to now, though, only one non-German railway has ever ordered any of these trains. That is the Netherlands Railway System, which runs them mainly on German tracks between Frankfurt am Main and Amsterdam.

A second-class coach in the ICE International

The journey takes only four hours (give or take a minute or two) because part of it is on the new high speed line between Frankfurt and Cologne, where speeds of up to three hundred kilometers per hour are possible. As of 2017 they are running six or seven of these trains per day in each direction, with stops at Frankfurt Airport, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Oberhausen, Arnhem and Utrecht.

Along the Autobahn

Where the new tracks run parallel to the freeway, you can sit back and watch all those fancy sports cars get left behind by the train.

Boarding the ICE International at Cologne (Köln), Germany


Centraal Station (CS) Amsterdam

This is the main railway station in Amsterdam, where all the international trains arrive and depart. It was built in 1889 in Neo-Renaissance style on an artificial island, supported by more than 10,000 tree trunks that were rammed into the sandy ground.

GBV ticket and information office

GVB is the public transport company of Amsterdam. They have a very well organized ticket and information office right in front of the central station. Take a number when you go in, and before you’ve had a chance to look around your number will flash on a screen and tell you which counter to go to. (Well, it might take a bit longer when a major international train has just arrived, but you get the idea.)

In the tram

As a cyclist I rarely use the trams, but I am highly in favor of them on general principles and was very impressed with the fast and efficient tram system in Amsterdam. Some of the newer trams even have a live human conductor who sells and checks tickets. By his presence he also serves to keep order and prevent vandalism. You don’t see this very often in Germany, where they go to absurd lengths to avoid hiring human personnel, and then moan about the unemployment rate being too high.

Tram number 9

Tram number 9 goes from Centraal Station to Diemen via Damrak, Waterlooplein and Linnaeusstraat. You could take this line to get out to the Frankendael House, for example.

Tram number 25

Tram 25 goes from Centraal Station to President Kennedylaan via Damrak, Muntplein and Weteringcircuit. In my photo it is waiting for the lights to change, meanwhile lots of cyclists are going by.


I’ve never tried the taxi-bikes, since I always had a rental bike and did the pedaling myself, but an alternative might be to take a three-wheeled Wieler Taxi. These can carry two passengers each, and they are allowed to go on the bicycle lanes. I’m told the fare is € 10 for fifteen minutes travel or € 20 for thirty minutes (as of 2017). The only negative thing I have heard about these taxi-bikes is that you might get somewhat wet if there is a heavy rainstorm.

My photos in this post are from 2006 and 2007. I revised the text in 2017.

See more posts on train travel.

2 thoughts on “By train to Amsterdam”

  1. Amsterdam Central station is well built and I wish to visit the city.Trams serves as an effective way to get around. Mumbaicity had trams when India was ruled by the British. My mom told me she had used the tram services way back in 1950’s. Gradually, intelligent authorities & politicians together ensured it’s shut down. In early 2018, a part of the tracks were found during digging of roads. Am glad that Europe has managed to maintain these services & most of which are connected with one another.

  2. I do like trains and trams, thanks Don.

    The San Diego Trolley trains “trams” are German made too. Over they years the, “look” of them has changed, so I don’t know if they still are. Ours are a bright shiny red color and sort of looks like the Blue Tram in your photos.

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