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Group travelling through Schiphol - time to see Anne Frank House?

All:

I'm leading a group of students to Budapest in May, with a layover in Amsterdam. We arrive Schiphol at 6:55 a.m. local time, and depart at 2:20 p.m.

From what I've learned, this should be enough time to check some bags at the airport, leave via train to Centraal Station, walk to the Anne Frank House Museum (with online ticket purchases), wander through the Red Light District on our way back to Centraal Station, and get back to the airport with plenty of time.

Is this itinerary do-able? I don't want to lose anyone :-)

Thanks in advance,
Fred

Posted by
8960 posts

For a couple of folks traveling together it's more than enough time, with a group I'm not so sure. How big a group are you leading? If it's ten or less it should be okay, any more not so much. My experience with tour groups is that there are always a few passive aggressive types who lag behind, take extended bathroom breaks etc. that hold up the rest of the group.

Posted by
19 posts

There will be ten of us total - including myself and another faculty member. College students.

Fred

Posted by
8960 posts

You should be okay. When storing your bags at Schipol, be sure to use the lockers in the public area of the airport after customs. There are also lockers near the gates but when you reenter the airport you may not have access to those lockers, as flights to Schengen destinations use the other half of the terminal.

Posted by
21353 posts

It could be a little tight. I would take a couple of taxis to Frank's house just to give yourself more time. I remember it being a bit far from the train station but we hit for a different direction. I would even consider a taxi from the airport. The Red light district will be pretty bland late morning. Everyone is sleeping in. Not sure I would make that the highlight of the trip.

Posted by
8960 posts

I wouldn't take a taxi to the city center at that time in the morning, you could easily get caught in traffic. The train runs right in the middle of the freeway and doesn't have those issues. Centraal Station is an easy 20 minute walk to the Anne Frank House through some of the most scenic portions of the city like this:

http://goo.gl/maps/NeHpc

Posted by
14454 posts

I just wonder if Anne Frank House is the best choice, because of the timed entry. If you have any delays, you may miss out. When you land, you have to go through passport control, get euros and lots of coins for the lockers. Then you have to get train tickets - there are often lines at the ticket windows. You will probably be in Amsterdam about 2 hours after you land - unless there's a flight delay. It sounds like rush hour into Amsterdam. You have to get back to the airport with enough time (it's 1/2 hour train ride) to get the bags, go through passport control and security and get to your gate, probably at least 40 minutes before flight time.

Working backward:
2.20 flight
1.30 boarding
12.00 train to airport (gives you 1 hour from the train to the gate)

That gives you about 3 hours in the city. Don't forget about lunch.

There are many other interesting sights. If WWII is a theme, you might consider the Dutch Resistance Museum. If Judaism is a theme, there's the Portuguese Synagogue (closed on Saturdays). Or a walking tour.

Posted by
8960 posts

lots of coins for the lockers

The lockers at the airport only accept cards. Unless there has been a recent change, magnetic strip cards are accepted.

Posted by
19 posts

Thanks for all the replies. We will be arriving on a Saturday morning, so I hope the traffic concerns are minimized.

If we reserve the 9 or 9:20 am space to Anne Frank House - barring flight delays - I'm hopeful that we will have enough time. The students know that we are going to have to move quickly, but it is their idea to try to visit the museum on our 7-hour layover.

As always, advice is appreciated.

Posted by
8670 posts

If things don't work out for you to leave the airport, there is a small branch of the RijksMuseum in the airside area in the airport. There is also a big area with lounge chairs in the mezzanine area but people need to stay alert regarding their belongings here.

Posted by
8960 posts

Sadly the airport Rijks Museum is currently closed due to renovations that are on-going inside the terminal:(

Posted by
8670 posts

Thanks Michael. I could find info on the airport site in Dutch only and wondered why it was not in English as well! Apologies to the OP for posting incorrect info and thanks to Michael for correcting it.

Posted by
2828 posts

I think the whole thing seems very rushed, but it is your call. If it were up to me, I'd take a train to Amsterdam Centraal and just take time to walk till Musumplein, taking a look of neighboring areas and stopping here and there without a schedule, and then going back to the airport.

You could try to arrange a van to transport you all regardless, anyway,

Posted by
8889 posts

@Pam. The official airport site is http://www.schiphol.com/ or http://www.schiphol.nl/
If it isn't in English, try selecting English (Union Jack flag) in the small menu top left. Many European websites are multi-lingual, there is usually a menu of flags (Union Jack for Engliah) or abbreviations (en = English) at the top.

Posted by
1631 posts

Hi Fred, I visited the Anne Frank House Museum last year and it was a very moving experience. I think you have enough time to see it with your group and I'm sure it will be worth the pre-planning to do it. As mentioned, the house is relatively small for all the crowds so it could take 1-2 hours. There is also a gift shop and café if you need a break.

Posted by
19 posts

Thanks for all of the replies and valuable information! We'll weigh our options and make plans accordingly.

Fred

Posted by
2297 posts

I think you have plenty of time to visit the Anne Frank House during your layover. We had less time with only a 4 hour layover, got to tour the museum even though we had to line up for tickets for about half an hour, AND had time for a hot chocolate sitting in a cafe overlooking one of the canals.

Posted by
63 posts

Fred,

My biggest concern would be purchasing the 9-9:20am tickets. I might give myself a bit more flex time to account for things like flight delays, getting turned around on the streets of Amsterdam, etc.

That being said, I do believe your suggested itinerary is doable with a seven+ hour layover. Go for it! You should even have time to stop into a market and get some stroopwafels for snacks on the plane. :)

I hope you and your students have a wonderful trip.

Posted by
19 posts

Everyone:

As mentioned in my original post, I'm leading a group of 10 college students May 15-29 to Budapest, and have a 7-hour layover on a Saturday in Amsterdam.

From what I gather, we can check bags in lockers, both in Schiphol and Centraal Station. However, travelers report that the lockers only take credit cards, and must be chip-and-pin.

Where does that leave US travelers who don't have chip-and-pin?

Thanks,
Fred

Posted by
16171 posts

From the Schipol website, right after they tell you you need a PIN & chip for lockers:

Baggage storage in de Baggage Depot (between Arrival Halls 1 and 2) can be paid for in cash.
Baggage depot at Schiphol
Suitcases, bags and any other baggage can be stored at the baggage depot securely and safely for an extended period of time. The maximum time limit for this is one month. The baggage depot is open daily from 06:00 to 22:00. Outside of opening hours assistance can be requested through the available intercom.
Baggage depot charges
•For the first seven days, per piece, per 24-hour period: EUR 7
•From day 8 onwards, per piece, per 24-hour period: EUR 6
Contact: If you need more information, please call +31 (0)20 7952843.

Posted by
19 posts

Thanks - I must have missed that.

One response on this thread said to make sure that we use lockers after passing customs, since we might not be able to get back into that area of the airport. Does anyone know if the depot is accessible for our flight from AMS-BUD?

Fred

Posted by
1809 posts

If you don't have reservations for the Anne Frank house by now it is to late.

Posted by
16171 posts

Since it is located between Arrival Hall 1 and Arrival Hall 2, it is outside the secure area of the airport.
And check about the Anne Frank House reservations or your students will all be heading for the coffee houses.

Posted by
8960 posts

From the Schipol website, right after they tell you you need a PIN &
chip for lockers

The web site doesn't say that. It says "Please note that in Europe, credit cards with chips need to be verified by a PIN code"
My read is that if you are using a chip card you will need to know your pin to use the lockers. Magnetic strip cards will work without a pin. I used those lockers two years ago with a magnetic strip card no problems with that same wording on the web site. Unless there has been a very recent change older cards should still work. I was at Schipol last Thursday and wanted to use the lockers in the public area but they were all taken. The lockers in the gate areas are currently not available due to the construction going on.

Posted by
19 posts

Thanks for the updates. I appreciate the wisdom and experience of the forum!
Fred