Amsterdam Airport Duty-Free Can You Save Money?

Last Updated: July 21, 2023

Gerrit Vandenberg

Gerrit shares his love for the Netherlands from his home near Amsterdam, helping thousands plan unforgettable trips to the lowlands. Discover his inspiring journey "From a critical health scare to celebrating Holland's charms". If you want to send Gerrit a quick message, you can contact him here.

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Schiphol is a great airport if everything runs smoothly.

This is my home airport, and I fly from Schiphol often. I always ensure I am early at the airport when I travel.

This way, you have ample time and don’t need to stress if there is a hiccup.

When everything does run smoothly, you’re in for a treat. This airport is a shoppers’ paradise. I love to do this after I clear security before going to the museum and the airline lounge.

Of course, you can expect all the classics, like liquors, tobacco, and perfumes. And there will be oversized candy because what Airport doesn’t have them?

First, I will pick up an Amsterdam Airport Duty-Free Catalogue. This is where the best deals are promoted.

The deals are always for a specific time window, so picking up the catalog at the airport is best. You can find it everywhere! In stores and the general walking areas.

Besides the yellow Duty-free stores, there are also “regular” stores, making it feel like a nice-looking department store, from electronics to books to Rituals to Gucci.

Prices here are called “Tax-Free,” but they are often the same on the high street (regular stores outside the airport), so know your costs. Or be okay that you don’t always save. It’s more the convenience to have everything together.

Amsterdam Airport Duty-Free See Buy Fly shops.
Check the Schiphol Duty-Free Catalogue for the best deals – Photo: Schiphol.

2 Ways To Save On Schiphol Duty-Free Prices

  1. Look at the See Buy Fly Schiphol Duty-Free Catalogue before you arrive at the airport. Every month, the airport publishes a catalog called the “See Buy Fly folder” in Dutch, full of great deals and savings! The booklets are available in many places around the Duty-Free area.
  2. Download a €5 Discount Schiphol Voucher. Don’t worry. You won’t be spammed. The airport itself issues it. It’s an easy way to save money on your purchases.
Tax Free shopping area at Schiphol. The Schiphol Duty-Free Catalogue can be found here.
The Tax-Free Shopping Area in Lounge 1 – Photo Schiphol.

How The €5 Schiphol Voucher Works

It’s super simple.

After you click the download link above, complete a few details on the airport’s website. Then, you can download the actual voucher. It takes less than 30 seconds. All they ask is an email address and the date when you’re flying.

PS: you can do this well in advance. The coupon stays valid for a long time.

Your email address is used to deliver the voucher. Make sure to enter a valid email address.

The date of travel is asked so they can email you a reminder. I always find that super handy because when I download this voucher myself, it’s often long before the actual date I fly, and I will have forgotten all about it when my departure date is finally there. I forget everything if I don’t set reminders for myself!

If you don’t like this update from the airport, you can unsubscribe anytime.

The voucher can be shown in print or digitally from your phone once you’re in the shop. Whatever works best for you. It’s super easy.

You can spend the voucher on most products sold by the See Buy Fly stores except for products excluded by law, like books and cigarettes. Branded stores like AKO, Gucci, or Rituals will not accept the voucher.

Make sure you visit – one of the many – large yellow and blue See Buy Fly outlets.

Book Your Airport Transfer Ahead of Time

Book Yourself a Private Transfer

Why get in line at the taxi queue at the airport, when you can also book a private driver?

Your driver will be waiting for you in the terminal building with a sign, at the price of a regular taxi.

Get Transfer offers the best-priced personal driver transfers from airports worldwide, including Amsterdam.

TIP: Download the App.

If you’re looking for other ways to travel to and from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, please read my post “How to get from Schiphol to Amsterdam.”

Check Out The Current Schiphol Duty-Free Catalogue

Are you curious about what Schiphol Airport has on sale right now? Luckily, you can view the promotions online via this link. Be careful to check the dates when these promotions run. They might expire before the date of your flight. If so, don’t worry. A new brochure will be available soon.

Find A Place To Stay In Amsterdam Airport

Find accommodation in Amsterdam Airport for the lowest prices on your favorite platform. What's great about this map is that it shows both Hotels, as VRBO rentals (AirBNB but then cheaper).

Update your (intended) travel dates for accurate prices. TIP: Zoom out on the map (-) in the bottom right corner. This will show more options and availability.

Interested in my recommendations? You’ll find them in my article 9 Schiphol Airport Hotels How To Make The Best Choice? 🛎️

More Info On Duty-Free Shopping at Amsterdam Airport

There are three discount Tax-Free shopping areas at Schiphol Airport. All areas behind security (and passport control) are called Lounges. Don’t confuse it with Airline Lounges. These lounges are paid or available to Business Class passengers. To make it confusing general areas are called Lounges: Lounge 1, Lounge 2, Lounge 3, and Lounge 4. I’m sorry, it’s not my idea.

Lounge 1

Lounge 1 is located in the so-called Schengen, the passport-free area in the EU where you can travel without Passport Control. So if your flight is heading to Spain or Sweden, or any of the other Schengen countries, your flight most likely will leave from here. The Amsterdam Duty-Free shopping area here is huge, spacious, and pleasant. It can be busy, though!

Besides the great shopping, this is also where you find the outside park (upstairs), an authentic-looking Amsterdam cafe, many restaurants, and more.

You’ll use this lounge if you fly from an “A, B, C, or D” gate number (for “D gates” high numbers only, D59 and up).

My Favorite Travel Books

My Favorite Travel Guide
Rick Steves Amsterdam & the Netherlands
$18.59

I love how Rick Steves' guidebooks offer a traveler's perspective. This is my favorite Amsterdam guidebook by far! Rating 4.8/5 on Amazon.

11/26/2023 06:18 pm GMT
A Classic
Lonely Planet Amsterdam
$19.49

Lonely Planet guides have changed but I still enjoy this book, it's pretty and up to date though it's not as hands-on as Rick Steves'.Rating 4.6/5.

11/27/2023 10:59 am GMT

Click here for more Netherlands book recommendations.
(travel books, art books, language books, and maps)

Lounge 2

This is the area where many flights to the UK and the US depart from. You will likely enter this area if you check in with KLM. Again a vast shopping area filled with the same tax-free shops as in Lounge 1.

Officially you’d use this area if you fly from the D (lower numbers, D57 and below) or the E gates. But all other lounges (3 and 4) are connected. If you make a left, you can walk from Lounge 2 to Lounge 3 to Lounge 4 and back without any issue. It would be a 15-minute walk from one end to the other.

Lounge 2, 3, and 4 have more restaurant options than Lounge 1. I personally never eat here since I have full lounge access to Privium, which serves amazing food. But you’ll find anything here, from fast-food places like Burger King and Starbucks to fancy restaurants like freshly made sushi and more.

Between Lounge 2 and 3 are the Rijksmuseum depot, a cool kids’ playground, and the library to enjoy after you’re done with your Duty-Free shopping.

🚨 If you have a Schengen departure (gates A, B, C, D59 and up), you can only get to this area by passing Passport control and security. And to get back to the Schengen Area, you would have to do the same thing again—this cost (significant) time. So don’t hop over to the Rijksmuseum if you have less than two hours before boarding.

Lounge 3 & Lounge 4

Lounges 3 and 4 offer the same shops again but are not as large as Lounge 2.

Are You Done Shopping?

Are you done with your shipping? No need to get bored. There is a free library, a fantastic play area for the little ones, an outdoor green park, and a satellite location of the Rijksmuseum! All Free.

I always make it a point to visit the free Rijksmuseum. It’s small but great! And the collection constantly changes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Amsterdam Airport Duty-Free

Is Amsterdam Duty-Free available for all customers?

Yes, it doesn’t matter whether you’re traveling inside or outside the EU. If you have a valid boarding pass, you can purchase it in all shops, including liquor and tobacco. But there are different limits to how much you can buy some products like alcohol or cigarettes depending on your destination. These are clearly signs posted near the products.

Are Duty-Free purchased liquids sealed, and can I safely take them?

Yes, all restricted items can be sealed at the payment desk. However, many parts of the world have different rules about liquids in hand luggage. Sealed or not. So my advice is this: if the flight you’re taking from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is the last (leg) for you? Then don’t worry about it. You can safely take these liquids home. If you have another transfer to make before you reach home, wait till you get to that airport to make your purchases. If you travel to the USA and have an onward flight you’re safe purchasing at Schiphol. You collect your luggage once landed in the US. You can check your liquids in your hold luggage and then pass security again for your next flight without your liquids.

What are the opening hours for the See Buy Fly Schiphol?

Tax-Free shops, at least the main ones, must be open before every flight. No matter how early you leave, the main shops will be open at least one hour before departure. And they won’t close until the last flight. However, only one liquor store is usually open, not all of them. So you might need to walk, for example, from lounge 4 or lounge 2, or the other way around. Also, some smaller outlets and restaurants might still be closed. However, you will find that most products are still available at one of the outlets that do open, no matter the departure time of your flight.

What currency is accepted in the Duty-Free shops at Schiphol Airport?

The main currency for payment is Euro (EUR). All major cards are accepted for payment. TIP: if pay by card make sure you never say yes to charges in your currency. Let’s say you’re from the USA. The machine or cashier could ask if you would like to pay in dollars (USD). It’s best to decline and be charged in euro. The exchange rate will always be better. If you want to pay cash in a currency other than Euro, you are most likely denied and referred to a currency exchange desk. But whether the store accepts your currency or the currency desk, you will get an awful deal on the exchange rate. It’s the worst thing you could do. Pay by card instead, or use your leftover cash Euros.

Can I find local Dutch products in the Duty-Free shops at Schiphol?

Yes, it’s actually one thing they’re quite known for, like cheese, candy, Miffy, flower bulbs, and cookies, to name a few. They will have a large selection, including items not always available in regular stores. It makes for great souvenirs without the need to haul them around from the city. But prices tend to be a bit higher than at city shops. So it’s really a choice between convenience versus savings.

Are there any Duty-Free shops available at Schiphol before the security check?

There is a large shopping area before security called Schiphol Plaza. It’s located on the arrivals level. Shops are open from 7 am to 7 pm, 7 days a week. These are, however, not Duty-Free stores. These are regular stores available to the general public. It includes all kinds of stores and places. Whether you need a full supermarket, a drug store, perfumes, clothing, or a restaurant, you’ll all find it at Schiphol Plaza. It’s super convenient. Another benefit is if you purchase here, you can still add these items to your checked luggage. But again, this is not Duty-Free. And discount vouchers won’t apply here.

Get your perfumes and cosmetics at Schiphol Airport.
More shopping at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport – Photo: Schiphol.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this tax-free shopping at Schiphol Airport guide. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to download your Schiphol voucher for €5 off your purchases. I make sure I do every time I fly from Schiphol Airport.

Enjoy your time at the airport. Make sure to be on time to account for check-in and security so you’ll have enough time to enjoy this airport’s many great facilities.

Safe travels!

Flying From Amsterdam Airport Schiphol?

I’d love to hear your thoughts: Are you planning to shop at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s start a conversation 💬.

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Gerrit shares his love for the Netherlands from his home near Amsterdam, helping thousands plan unforgettable trips to the lowlands. Discover his inspiring journey "From a critical health scare to celebrating Holland's charms". If you want to send Gerrit a quick message, you can contact him here.

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