May 25, 2002
I turn round and look at the station building. It was completed in 1889 and the architecture is fascinating. Look up and you’ll discover the most lovely architectional details.
You may not realise this but the station is built on an island. It has two towers with beautifully decorated clocks. It is a gateway to the city of Amsterdam but also to Europe as here you can board international trains. It’s only 4 hours to Paris by Thalys.
Metro, bus and tram all have a stop at the station.
In the main concourse the NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen), Dutch Rail counters sell tickets to anywhere in Holland and international destinations in Europe. There are also machines but you need a bank pass to operate them. They do not accept coins, banknotes or credit cards.
The Centraal Station is a shopping centre where you will find newstands with foreign newspapers, bicycle rental, cafes, an Etos, a Ben and Jerry's, and many other shop.
Big yellow boards show all trains leaving Amsterdam and indicate from which platform they leave. The Dutch word for platform is ‘spoor’.
For the more adventurous: the back of the station is the place where the street hookers and bike thiefs hang out. Past them is the free ferry to Noord (North) Amsterdam.
The street leading from Central Station is the Damrak here are numerous restaurants, souvenirshops, money changers, ATM machines, easyEverything, an internet cafe, queues for the canal boats.
The next thing I do is going to the VVV, the Tourist Information Centre. When you get out of the station it’s on the left. They provided me with lots of useful information on trams and canal boats.
From journal Amsterdam: A Joy Forever