Amsterdam Airport Schiphol – Virtual Tour and Review
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, in Dutch, Luchthaven Schiphol, is the Netherlands’ main international airport. It’s currently Europe’s fourth busiest and ranks as number five worldwide for international passenger traffic. Schiphol first opened in 1916 as a military base and was introduced to civilian aircraft in 1920.
The airport’s design is extraordinarily user friendly. Built as one terminal with three departure halls, the latest having been added in 1994 and expanded in 2007 with the addition of Terminal 4, the single-building design makes it easy for passengers to make connecting flights and to go from one hall to another while remaining airside.
Another example of Schiphol’s user friendliness is in its signage. Dutch designer Benno Wissing first created Schiphol’s iconic signs in 1967, using clear lettering and color coding. He avoided using the same yellow and green shades used on any other signs in the airport. New and equally effective signage was designed in 1991 by Paul Mijksenaar.
The airport, situated 20 minutes southwest of Amsterdam in Haarlemmermeer, is easily accessible by train. The Nederlandse Spoorwegen has a major railway station located directly below the terminal that offers quick transportation into Amsterdam as well as the Hague, Rotterdam, and Utrecht. The station is also a stop for the Thalys high-speed train serving Antwerp, Brussels, and Paris.
Schiphol is also the only airport to have its own boulevard within the terminal. Holland Boulevard runs the length the terminal between the E and F piers, which are where most transit passengers end up.
The Boulevard’s stated purpose is to give in-transit travelers a taste of the country, especially important because many connecting passengers at AMS will never leave the airport and will only be on Dutch soil for a few hours. I myself am included in this category and, although I’ve been to many parts of the Netherlands in past journeys and having transited its airport many times, I’ve never been to Amsterdam proper.