Travel & Visa Information
Getting to Amsterdam
- By plane:
- Schiphol International Airport (AMS)
(recommended airport, see below for more information on travel to the city centre)
- Eindhoven International Airport (EIN)
(mainly low-cost carriers from Europe, approximately 1.5 hours from Amsterdam by public transport)
- Rotterdam/The Hague Airport (RTM)
(flights to Europe, approximately 1 hour from Amsterdam by public transport)
- Schiphol International Airport (AMS)
- By train:
International page of the Dutch National Railways
- By car:
In case you are considering travelling by car, note well that Amsterdam’s historic city centre is difficult to navigate by car and parking is expensive. The city has an excellent public transport network, so if you decide to come by car, we advise you to consider using the Park+Ride facilities that the city has.
Travelling from Schiphol Airport to the city
The most convenient and cheapest way to get to Amsterdam from Schiphol Airport is to take a train, which takes approximately 15 minutes to reach Amsterdam Central Station, and costs just €4.50 one way for a second class ticket. Ticket machines from the Dutch national railways are present inside the arrivals terminals at Schiphol Airport in the baggage belt area. The machines are easy to recognise, as they are painted bright yellow. The ticket machines at Schiphol Airport allow you to pay with international bank cards and credit cards. You can also pre-purchase tickets (at the same rate) on the Dutch Railways’ website.
When leaving the airport, make sure the train you get on stops at Amsterdam “Centraal Station”. Very few trains terminate there, so will have another final destination posted on the board. Generally, the electronic displays at Schiphol will show the first train to leave for Amsterdam Central Station, and there is Dutch railway staff present during most of the day who will be happy to help you on your way.
Finally, you can view current departure times from Schiphol Airport here.
There is also a number of public transport bus routes leaving from Schiphol. Unless you are travelling to accommodation that is (far) outside of Amsterdam, we would generally recommend that you use the train to travel, as travel by bus to Amsterdam city centre by bus is more expensive than taking a train and takes much longer.
Unless you are arriving between 1AM and 5AM, we strongly advise against using a taxi from the airport, as they are roughly ten times more expensive than taking the train, and due to rush hour traffic conditions will take much longer to get to the city centre than the train. If you do decide to take a taxi, be careful to only use the official airport taxis, and do not accept unsolicited offers for rides. Read more about taxis on the airport’s website.
By rental car
This is by far the most expensive option to get to the city. Even if you are planning to extend your stay in The Netherlands before or after IMC, we recommend against renting a car to get to IMC. You are better of exploring public transport options, and if you do decide you want a car to travel around to rent one when you leave Amsterdam for another location.
Getting around in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has a compact historic city centre that can easily be navigated on foot. The conference venue is on the edge of the historic canal district, so walking distance from everywhere in the city centre. Visitors should be mindful of cyclists; the locals zoom around the city on their bikes everywhere and increasingly use fast, but quiet electrically assisted bikes as well. The city has separate bike lanes and pavements throughout most of the city, be careful not to walk on bike lanes as these are exclusively reserved for bicycles. Bike lanes can be recognised because they are generally painted in red.
Amsterdam has an excellent network of metros, trams and buses, that is operated by the municipal transport company GVB. The network uses the Dutch national public transport chipcard called “OV Chipkaart”. This is a contactless payment card that exists in several forms (anonymous pay-as-you-go, subscription based, …).
We have arranged free-of-charge 5 day public transport chip cards for all foreign IMC attendees. You can read more about these free cards here.
In case you need additional tickets, but do not wish to get an “OV Chipkaart”, note that you can also pay with contactless bank cards on trams and buses (not on the metro), but will generally pay a higher fare.
If you want to go “full local”, why not enjoy Amsterdam by bicycle? There are many rental points in the city (including at the central railway station), and many hotels offer the option of renting or even borrowing bicycles for the day.
There are also plenty of taxis available in Amsterdam. Make sure you only use official taxis. Note that taxi fares are generally considered expensive by locals and you are typically better of walking or using public transport. Taxis can be convenient, though, in the late/early hours when there is little public transport available. Read more about taxis in Amsterdam here.
We strongly recommend against navigating Amsterdam by car, traffic is generally busy, and travelling by car is often the slowest way to get from A to B within the city.
Dutch law requires citizens and visitors to carry valid identification at all times. While it is unlikely that this will happen, if you are stopped by a police officer, you must be able to identify yourself, or risk being fined. The following documents are considered valid forms of identification:
- Dutch national identity cards, refugee cards or Dutch residency permits
- Driving licenses (EU nationals only!)
Hotel staff will also ask you for identification upon checkin. Note: hotels are not allowed to make photocopies of passports or hold them back.
Travellers from the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA)
The Netherlands is a member state of the European Union. Anyone with an EU or EEA passport can freely travel to/from The Netherlands, and for countries within the Schengen Area there will not even be passport controls at the airport.
Travellers from outside the EU/EEA
Note: for travellers from outside the EU/EEA the nationality of your passport decides your visa requirements!. Thus, if, for example, you are enrolled in a PhD programme in the United States, but you have a passport issued by the People’s Republic of China, you are not visa exempt and will need to apply for a Schengen short-stay visa (see below).
Travellers from outside the EU/EEA must comply with the visa regulations set out for the Schengen Common Travel Area, of which The Netherlands is a member. In general this means you fall in one of three categories:
- Visa-exempt countries (most IMC attendees) – citizens from these countries may stay up to 90 days without having to acquire a visa. Countries that are visa-exempt include: The United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Mexico and Brazil, for a full overview of visa-exempt countries, see the map on the Schengen Visa page of the European Commission). Alternatively, you can use the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ visa advisor service.
- Countries requiring a Schengen short-stay visa (some IMC attendees) – if you are not from a visa-exempt country, you will need to apply for a Schengen short-stay visa, that allows you to stay in the Common Travel Area (including The Netherlands) for up to 90 days. You can apply from 3 months before your visit up to 15 days before your visit, more information can be found on the website of the Dutch Immigration Service (under “Applying for a visa”).
- Countries additionally requiring an Airport Transit Visa (ATV) (few IMC attendees) – in some circumstances, you may need an additional Airport Transit Visa (ATV) for certain EU member states if you pass through their international airports en-route to The Netherlands. Please consult the European Commission’s page on Schengen visa requirements, countries with this requirement are coloured dark red on the map and included in a detailed list accessible from the page.
Letter of invitation
If you require a letter of invitation as part of your visa application, please indicate that during registration.
Note: in order to qualify for a letter of invitation, you need to have a paid registration for IMC. We will not consider requests without an accompanying registration.
If you have any questions, please contact the general chairs of the conference.
Conference Venue Address
KIT Royal Tropical Institute
1092 AD Amsterdam