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Amsterdam: Districts and Transportation

With our help you’ll be fully prepared for moving to Amsterdam: our expat guide has important info on visas, residence permits, public transportation and popular residential areas for expats. There is no more reason to worry about the red tape, as moving to Amsterdam has never been so easy!

Traveling by Bus, Metro, or Train?

The city of Amsterdam has a very good public transportation system, with buses, metros, and even ferries operating throughout the city. We have compiled a short list of the different types of transportation in Amsterdam.

  • Metro (operates throughout the city on 4 different lines)
  • Tram and bus
  • Night bus
  • Schiphol Sternet (buses between Amsterdam and the airport)
  • Ferries (connect Central Station to North Amsterdam)

The bicycle is another mode of transportation extremely popular among Amsterdam’s residents. Nearly everybody owns a bicycle — which means over 800,000 bikes are being used all over the city.

The OV Chipkaart

All over Amsterdam, the fare for public transportation is paid with a Smart Card, also known as an OV chipkaart. It is the size of a credit card with a built-in chip. You can reload your chipkaart with a certain amount of money or with a season ticket at the ticket vending machines or add value machines across the city.

To pay for your fare, simply hold the card to the card reader upon entering your chosen mode of transportation. The system will check the balance of your card. When you leave, check out by holding the card to the card reader again. The system will then deduct the fare.

The age discount offers 34% off of the basic fare for those aged 4–11 and those over 65.

Traveling without the OV Chipkaart

There are different types of tickets for Amsterdam’s public transportation, available with or without an OV chipkaart. The most common one is the 1h ticket for the price of 2.90 EUR. Other tickets allow for multiple trips with different types of transportation.

  • 24h–168h tickets: These day tickets or multiple-day tickets allow you free travel around Amsterdam for a certain amount of time. They are valid on trams, buses, and the metro and cost between 7.50 EUR to 32 EUR.
  • Season tickets: The prices for these types of tickets vary, depending on the time period and travel zones you choose. They allow you to travel within designated zones as you please. In some cases, a season ticket will be provided by your employer.
  • Night bus tickets: Night buses have their own tickets and prices. One ride will cost you 4.50 EUR, 12 rides 25 EUR. Tickets are available at GVB ticket booths and the tourist information center. 

Service desks and ticket booths all over town offer these tickets. They can also be purchased at ticket vending machines at every metro station or from tram and bus drivers. For more up-to-date information consult the website of the GVB, Amsterdam’s public transportation provider.

Amsterdam’s Districts

Amsterdam is divided into different districts (stadsdelen), with various neighborhoods and characteristics. In 2009, the 14 districts of the city were reduced to 7 in order to improve and simplify the administration process. Today’s districts include:

  • Center
  • Noord
  • Zuidoost
  • Zuid (formerly Oud Zuid and Zuideramstel)
  • Oost (formerly Zeeburg, Oost, and Watergraafsmeer)
  • Nieuw-West (formerly Osdorp, Slotervaart, and Geuzenveld-Slotermeer)
  • West (formerly Bos en Lommer, De Baarsjes, Oud-West, and Westerpark)

The Center in particular is a popular area for expats. Historical buildings are located all around the Grachtengordel (canal ring), giving Amsterdam its unique flair. The neighborhood Jordaan impresses foreign visitors and residents with its many galleries and specialty shops. However, rents are extremely high there.

Zuid is more of a family-friendly area with lots of schools and stand-alone houses. Rents are, however, comparable to those in the Center. The West is more of an urban and bohemian district with moderate rents. Younger and childless expats prefer to settle there or in the Oost. Zeeburg and its new housing developments attract many new residents as well.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

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