Amsterdam is a city of freedom and lightness, hospitality and with some flavor of insanity. Some people call it New Babylon, others – the Northern Venice, but none of these names cannot convey the enchanting magnetism that the capital of the Netherlands has. Here reigns an amazing atmosphere, which makes everyone who comes to get acquainted with the local beauties fall in love with it.
Driving a car across the city center is not recommended, because in Amsterdam, there are very narrow and winding streets that are constantly in a state of repair, plus it is difficult to find a parking space. However, if you have such a need, here are some tips that will certainly help you:
- Carefully follow the cyclists and pedestrians. In Amsterdam, there are a lot of lovers of two-wheel cycle which are everywhere. They have privileges here and they know this very well.
- Always stay on the right side of the channel. All the streets along the channel are unilateral.
- Be careful on the crossroads, especially on those on the bridges, where there are no road signs at all. Behave as if you are moving a crossroads of four roads.
- Be ready for traffic jams. However, in Amsterdam, as a rule, you do not have to stand in traffic for more than 10 minutes.
Basic Rules and Penalties in Amsterdam
Traffic regulations in the Netherlands are comparable in their severity to European ones, but they have their own peculiarities. Therefore, throughout the country there are strict speed limits: rarely on some highways traffic is allowed faster than 100 km/h, and even more rarely – 130 km/h. Generally, drivers will have to drive no faster than 50 km/h – this is the permitted speed in the city, and sometimes even with a speed of 30 km/h is a must – such prohibitory signs can be found in cozy suburbs.
The permissible level of alcohol in the blood is 0.5 ppm, but for those who have less than five years of service, the rate drops to 0.2 ppm. Penalty for violation is from €350 to €750 (for excess at 1.3 ppm).
Seat belts should be used not only by the front, but also by the rear passengers – ignoring this requirement will cost €130, and for conversations by phone at the wheel take all €220.
Parking in Amsterdam
Free parking in the city center simply does not exist, so you should not even look for them. Some hotels can provide free parking for their quests, otherwise you must look for a garage or street parking. Blue automatic machines are settled through the whole city, which issue coupons for parking. The cost is 5 € from 9:00 to 24:00 from Monday to Saturday, and from 12:00 to 24:00 on Sunday. In addition, parking in the center of the Old Town will be much cheaper, as well as parking in the suburbs of Amsterdam, which can cost you only 1.10 € per hour. On some shopping streets, the parking fee can be purely symbolic – 0.10 €, but time is limited to one hour.
Tips for parking:
- Check if you have enough money for the parking machines, because they never give change, as a rule.
- A lot of automatic machines may require the registration number of the car. Therefore, it would be a good idea to issue it in advance, especially if you drive a rented car.
- Make sure that your parking ticket is valid and attached in a conspicuous place on the windshield. Otherwise, other cars can obstruct your departure.
- If you leave after the appointed time or ignore following the rules, do not count on the help of the parking police. If the time you paid for has come out, they will pay attention to your car.
- If you violate the parking conditions, then you will have 24 hours to pay a penalty, otherwise the machine will be towed. To resolve any parking problems or if your vehicle is towed, call on the number 020 251 3322 (the parking service Parkeerbeheer).
- Never leave valuable things in the car, because break-ups are typical for Amsterdam. If you intend to leave your car in a place where there is no supervision, please do not forget to put a sign on the glass “no values inside”.
So, we hope our advice will be very helpful during your staying in the magnificent place. If you still have some doubts about a car – a good variant is to choose car rental in Amsterdam airport, where is a good quality and prizes. The most profitable kind of cars in this city is either of mini class or compact one.