Amsterdam is one of those ultimate travel destinations for vacationers worldwide. There’s so much to experience and the place is alive with both beauty and culture. You can spend time wandering the streets for hours, and also trying some amazing food while you do so. But what about if you are in a wheelchair? How accessible is this European city? Well, let’s explore how easy it is to roll around Amsterdam and hopefully you’ll be prepared the next time you find yourself there.
Remember that bit about being full of culture? Well, you are in luck in that regard. Many of the famous museums in Amsterdam are quite wheelchair friendly, for example the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Hermitage Museum. The entrances are made accessible with platform lifts or wide ramps. The walk ways and elevators are spacious. You should have no problem getting up close and personal with the art or have any obstacles exploring the different exhibitions. In most cases, taking pictures is not allowed but just ask because the museums have different policies.
Public transportation in Amsterdam can be quite easy. The new trams are accessible with a ramp at the middle wide entrance. Just ask the conductor for help putting out the ramp or ask your companion to give you a little push to conquer the 10 cm gap. The entrances of busses are on the same height as the platforms. Going from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam by train is easy; just wait for the Sprinter train that has an entrance on platform level. Have a look at the information about trams, trains or Schiphol Airport on the website of the Dutch agency Accessible Travel Netherlands. It’s always great to get a local insider’s perspective! If you are hesitant about taking the train to the centre of Amsterdam, reserve a wheelchair accessible transfer in advance with them. Oh yes, do not hesitate to rent a bicycle in Amsterdam. A variety of special bikes are available to rent, such as the Fun2Go bike, the tricycle, the O-Pair bike or the Firefly. You can explore the city individually or with a local guide.
Shopping in Amsterdam is what I would call half easy and half not easy. In Amsterdam, shops in the beautiful streets of the old city center have been made accessible with ramps. You can shop for clothes, souvenirs or cheese in the Kalverstraat, Nieuwedijk or Haarlemmerstraat. Additionally, you should enjoy the great atmosphere of the outside markets where fresh vegetables, fruits, antiques, souvenirs, books and clothes are sold. When in Amsterdam, definitely pay a visit to the Waterlooplein fleemarket, Albert Cuyp market or the Noordermarkt organic market. Shopping malls that can be found outside of the city centre are great when it comes to accessibility. There are several entrances to the malls that are on street level or have ramps and elevators are easy to find. Big shopping malls can be found in Amersfoort, Rotterdam and other cities, so finding some new clothes or a great pair of shoes will be no problem.
So let’s talk attractions for a minute. If you are a beer lover, the Heineken Experience is a must. Learn how they take hops and turn it into their amazing beer. The venue has been made accessible with regular and platform lifts and you will receive a map to navigate. You will have a great time! For a bit of culture, head to the Van Gogh Museum. This amazing artist’s works are on display and you get the opportunity to learn a great deal of history about him as well. You should definitely visit the Rijksmuseum and be amazed by Rembrandt’s paintings. The exhibits are easy to access and you’ll even love the building itself. At last, don’t miss out on the National Maritime Museum. Here you can enter a replica of the East-Indian sail ship as it offers good access. Imagine what it was like to sail the seas with this ship!
As for the rest of your time in Amsterdam, enjoy the sights, sounds, and the scenery. Also, be sure to check out some of their amazing food. Taste cheese at the cheese farm or try a haring with onion from a food truck. Multiple restaurants have handicap accessible restrooms and seating. Find out which restaurants are accessible from the city guide ‘Amsterdam & Metropole region, accessible routes through Amsterdam’. There are also the infamous coffee shops. Be forewarned though that they aren’t necessarily famous for great coffee. They are famous for their marijuana, which is completely legal in the city. You might want to pop in and try it for yourself or it might be fun to just observe everyone else if you’re not a smoker. However, if a particular restaurant or coffee shop has caught your eye and it is not accessible, the staff will work to accommodate you.
Amsterdam is a very friendly country and overall a great place for people who are in a wheelchair. Have fun during your stay, and take in all that Amsterdam has to offer.
For travel advises when travelling to Amsterdam with access needs, contact the local travel agency Accessible Travel Netherlands.
*I have not visited Amsterdam. All of this information was found online from various sources.
Your blog is pretty much inspiring! Although Amsterdam is not my kind of place to shop, there’s one thing I really love about this city.. their coffee shops and restaurants are the coolest place on earth.. and those wooden shoes are so cute!