How To Use Amsterdam Trams

Last Updated: December 31, 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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Hi, I'm Gerrit

I enjoy sharing useful tips about the beauty of this county.

Have you heard about Amsterdam trams and are you wondering if they’re something for you?

In this article, I will answer questions like how to use Amsterdam trams, how they work, which lines (and stops) are handy for tourists, and how to get tickets.

Plus, everything else you need to know.

After reading this post you’ll know exactly how to get around with a tram in Amsterdam.

There is an extensive tram network in Amsterdam.  There are 15 tram lines in Amsterdam, covering more than 500 stops throughout Amsterdam.

Traveling by tram is one of the easiest ways to get around the city. Trams run at a high frequency and cover pretty much the entire city. 

Especially within central Amsterdam tram lines are found almost anywhere.

If you need to cover a larger distance it’s better to use the Amsterdam public transport system than walk!

It’s a lot quicker too than taking a taxi or Uber since cars usually need to take longer routes, and there are lots of delays on the roads, which is not an issue for trams.

I also have a secret up my sleeve that can get you around the city much faster: the Amsterdam metro.

I dedicated a separate article to the Amsterdam Metro because it’s the most underutilized mode of transportation in Amsterdam by tourists.

But I get it; the Amsterdam tram is also fun, doing some sightseeing along the way.

GVB Amsterdam trams are part of the Amsterdam Public Transport network.
GVB Amsterdam trams – ยฉ Hidden Holland

Amsterdam Tram Lines Most Useful for Tourists

Tram 2 Centraal Station โ€“ Nieuw Sloten
Tram 4 Centraal Station โ€“ Station RAI 
Tram 5 Station Zuid – Westergasfabriek 
Tram 12 Centraal Station โ€“ Amstelstation
Tram 13 Centraal Station โ€“ Geuzenveld
Tram 14 Centraal Station โ€“ Flevopark
Tram 17 Centraal Station โ€“ Osdorp Dijkgraafplein
Tram 26 Centraal Station โ€“ IJburg

Tramlines 2 and 12 connect the central station and Dam Square, Spui (Begijnhof, 9 streets, van Stapele Cookies), Leidseplein, and Museum Square with the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.

These two tram lines are the ones most used by tourists.

Tramline 5 travels between Museum Square and the Jordaan area (a popular area in Amsterdam).

Tramlines 4 and 14 connect the central station with Dam Square, Rembrandtplein, and then split. Line 4 goes to de Pijp and line 14 to the Jewish quarter and Artis Zoo.

Trams 13 and 17 are useful for visiting the lesser-known parts of western Amsterdam. They stop at the West Church, the Anne Frank House, Elandsgracht for the indoor antique market, and Ten Katemarkt (plus De Hallen).

Tram 26 is useful for visitors arriving by car. At P+R Zeeburg along road S114, you can park your car for reduced rates and then take tram 26 to Central Station in just a few minutes.

GVB tram in Amsterdam passing.
Tram line 2 towards Amsterdam Central Station – ยฉ Hidden Holland

Other Tram Routes in Amsterdam

Line 1 Muiderpoortstation โ€“ Osdorp De Aker
Line 3 Zoutkeetsgracht โ€“ Flevopark
Line 7 Slotermeer (Sloterpark)
Line 19 Station Sloterdijk โ€“ Diemen Sniep
Line 24 Centraal Station โ€“ VU medisch centrum
Line 25 Station Zuid โ€“ Amstelveen Westwijk
Line 27 Surinameplein โ€“ Osdorp Dijkgraafplein (only during rush hour)

These trams are mainly useful for locals. You might want to take one once in a while depending on your plans. But they’re not particularly interesting for visitors.

Amsterdam Tram Tickets

Fares for Amsterdam public transportation mentioned below are the same in 2024, as they were in 2023.

OVpay

OVpay is not a special system it’s the term used to use a regular credit or debit card that has contactless payments enabled.

You tap it when you enter the tram, and then again when you leave. Afterward, you’ll be charged the lowest possible price.

This is a great option if you plan to use public transport NOT that often.

GVB Day Ticket or Multi-day ticket

The GVB day or multi-day tickets are fantastic if you’re planning on making multiple trips during the day. It then quickly pays itself. Especially multi-day tickets are a steal.

If you buy your GVB public transport tickets through my link here, you get the best price and the convenience of having them delivered to your app immediately.

No need to pick up a physical ticket anymore. You scan the QR code when you enter a tram.

Sometimes the machines are a bit particular, then show it to the host in the back, or to the driver. Make sure to keep the QR code facing up, and scan it under the red light.

Amsterdam City and Region Ticket (To Use Outside Amsterdam)

The Amsterdam and Region Ticket is particularly great if you’re planning to make trips both within the city of Amsterdam and to places of interest in the  Amsterdam region. Like to Zaanse Schans and Volendam.

The ticket is also valid to and from the airport, both on the train and on the Amsterdam Airport express bus.

It can be a complete money saver if you’re planning on trips like this.

You can buy your Amsterdam and Region Travel Ticket here.

There is also a ticket “Amsterdam travel ticket” similar to the region ticket but it just covers GVB inner city traffic and trains to and from the airport. I don’t recommend this ticket.

Getting a regular GVB day ticket plus separate train tickets for the train between Amsterdam Airport and Amsterdam is usually cheaper.

I Amsterdam Card

Read here my article if the I Amsterdam Card is worth it for you.

Different GVB travel passes.
Public Transportation Ticket Amsterdam – ยฉ Hidden Holland

The I Amsterdam Card is fantastic if you enjoy museums. Museums in Amsterdam are expensive so it’s not that hard to save money with this card.

As a bonus public transportation operated by GVB is included. That includes all trams in Amsterdam.

One-Hour Ticket Travel Ticket

A one-hour ticket can be purchased on the tram or from GVB ticket machines. It’s exactly what it says it is a one-hour ticket valid on the entire network for an hour.

It’s the ticket most often purchased by tourists but a waste of money.

There are better options available.

Save Money on Amsterdam Trams

You can save money in three different ways. 

  1. Use a contactless credit or debit card to check in and out instead of buying the 1-hour ticket for single journeys. Your savings will be 30-50%.
  2. Use Day Tickets instead of paying for single rides. The GVB day ticket is a steal and becomes even better for a multi-day ticket if offers unlimited travel on all GVB busses, metro, and trams
  3. Use a City Pass that includes public transportation. The I Amsterdam card offers free entrance to most museums and some attractions plus free public transportation.

PS: It’s good to know you can not pay cash on public transport in Amsterdam. Also, Amsterdam trams are cashless. You can check in or pay with a payment card, a day ticket, or with the I Amsterdam City Card.

Recognize Amsterdam Trams

Amsterdam’s trams, with their eye-catching blue and white design, are a true part of the city’s character.

Listen out for the familiar bell โ€” it’s a sound locals and visitors alike associate with the streets of Amsterdam (and to get out of the way quickly!) Both you and other pedestrians and cyclists.

Plan your Amsterdam Tram Journey

Many people advise downloading specific apps for planning their journey whether that’s 9292, Glimble (Android or iOS), or the GVB app.

I would say you don’t need any of them. Google Maps or Apple Maps both work perfectly fine without the need for another app on your phone.

Most likely you’re also already familiar with these apps, taking the stress out of learning to navigate a new app you’ve never used before.

My tip is to always use Google Maps or Apple Maps to plan your trips. It gives the best connections for every journey, which line(s) to use, and see in between stops and departure and arrival times.

You can even follow along live as you travel knowing exactly where to get off the tram. 

When you’re using an app while you travel you need enough data on your phone.

I recommend using Airalo they’re super affordable and it saves you a lot of money compared to an international plan from your home provider.

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This is How you Board a Tram

It’s good to know that you can not access a tram in Amsterdam from any door you choose. There are two doors to enter. And the other doors are just to exit.

The front door next to the driver is always one you can enter the tram from. There is also a second double door, the one before the last, where you can also enter.

It has a sticker on the outside saying “Welcome” (Welkom).

The one in the back is also usually staffed with a tram host. He or she can help you answer travel questions and sell tickets.

But I don’t advise buying your tickets on the tram. You’ll delay the boarding process, and it’s sometimes difficult to communicate due to the noise.

Buy tickets online in advance.

GVB Public Transport Pass

If you only need transportation within Amsterdam by bus, tram, and metro, this is the most cost-efficient pass (not valid to the airport and on regional transport. From โ‚ฌ9.

Once boarded you need to scan a ticket.

If you have a QR code you scan at the bottom of the scan machine (look for the red light). Make sure your QR code is facing upwards.

If you have a physical ticket you hold it to the front of the device with the contactless logo (this is a different place than scanning the QR code). 

  • QR code at the bottom of the machine, code facing up
  • Physical card: hold against the contactless logo at the front of the machines

If the QR code gives you any problems (it doesn’t scan that great) ask for help from the tram host or the driver.

Scan your ticket with contactless OR QR code on tram Amsterdam.
Scan your QR code below the scanner (face up) or tap in front – ยฉ Hidden Holland

Exit an Amsterdam tram

If you want to exit an Amsterdam tram you need to press the stop button before you want to exit.

Usually, another passenger has already done so (you can check this on the monitors), if the word stop shows at the top of the screen a stop is already requested. 

When you’re ready to exit make sure to use the right doors. Any door that is not meant to enter. This is not the one at the driver and near the host in the back of the tram. Any other door is fine. 

Also, make sure to check out if you’re traveling with a contactless card.

Tram Map of Amsterdam

You can download the public transportation network map of Amsterdam from the official GVB website by clicking the image below.

You can also get a paper version of the map at the โ€œGVB Tram Bus Metro Ferry Officeโ€ just outside Amsterdam central station near the eastern tram stops (4, 14, 24, 26, etc). 

It’s the cute little white building across from Amsterdam Central station.

But paper maps are more difficult to come by: they are not always there. It’s easiest to watch it on your phone. Or use Google Maps.

Amsterdam Tram Schedules

Trams run every day of the week. The first tram of the day starts around 6 am, a little later during weekends.

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The last tram leaves around midnight. Of course, this varies slightly depending on what stop you’re using.

During operating hours trams in Amsterdam run at a frequency of one tram departure every 5-10 minutes. Again depending on the tramline and whether it is rush hour or not.

During the evenings and weekends, they are a bit less frequent but still at least 3-4 times an hour.

Amsterdam Tram Seats

Seats accessible for all passengers are colored blue. Red seats are priority seats meant for passengers who need them.

That includes those with disabilities or injuries, the elderly, and pregnant women.

You can take one of these seats if nobody needs them but you are required to give up your seat if somebody needs it. 

Accessible Public Transport in Amsterdam

Trams in Amsterdam are accessible for wheelchairs and there are priority seats for those who need them. They are colored red as you’ve read above.

Scooters will be allowed space permitting and when they’re not too large.

More information about accessible transport in Amsterdam can be found on the official GVB website.

Take a Historic Tram Ride in Amsterdam

Do you not want to bother figuring out different tram lines on regular trams, and instead just sit back and relax enjoying the sights

Or are you a tram aficionado, then I think I have just the thing for you.

Hop on a nostalgic journey with the Lijn 30 tram from Haarlemmermeerstation to Amstelveen.

This trip is a step back into history.

Board the lovingly old-fashioned restored tram service, enjoy the unique charm of having your ticket punched like in the old days, and listen to the sounds of the whistle and bell.

Along the way, you have the freedom to explore. You can get off at a specific place along the way and catch the next tram, or you stay on board.

It’s a simple, yet enjoyable way to experience a piece of Amsterdam’s past.

The trip starts at the Electric Tram Museum Amsterdam, with trams ready to take you on this memorable ride. And by the way, a great museum to visit that many people skip!

Buy tickets for this historic tram ride in Amsterdam here.

History of Streetcars in Amsterdam

You would find the first horse-drawn street cars in Amsterdam already in 1875. A very different sight to the trams we know to today which are fully electrified.

For a long time, Amsterdam operated trams with steps to board, not very convenient for those with mobility problems.

And did you know Amsterdam street cars even ran to other cities? 

Today trams are easily accessible for wheelchairs and they operate in the city only. 

For a moment trams started to become less popular halfway through the 20th century when cars suddenly became just the thing.

But because the city kept investing in upgrading the system and making it more difficult (and expensive) to operate a car within Amsterdam (and they still make it more difficult to this day), the tram is more popular than ever as a means to get around Amsterdam.

Frequently Asked Questions about Trams in Amsterdam

How much does a tram ticket cost in Amsterdam in 2024?

The cost of a tram ticket depends on the kind of ticket you have. A single ride paid with a contactless payment card is based on distance.

Usually, it’s about โ‚ฌ1.50 to โ‚ฌ2. A one-hour ticket costs โ‚ฌ3.40 but I do not recommend this ticket for reasons I explained earlier in this article. A day ticket costs โ‚ฌ9 but becomes cheaper (per day price) if you buy a multiday ticket. A ticket for public transportation in Amsterdam is included in the “I Amsterdam City Card”.

Can you travel by tram at night?

No, trams in Amsterdam stop operating after midnight, and the first trams in Amsterdam start running around 6 am again. In the meantime GVB (the local public transport company of Amsterdam which is responsible for the city trams, busses, metros, and ferries) operate night buses.

Are Amsterdam Trams Trains?

Maybe tourists call a tram a train. Technically they operate in similar ways. But no, a tram is not a train. Streetcars are different in the sense that they run along streets. Trains do not. Trams are also light rail networks focused on local transportation. While trains cover longer distances across the country and internationally. But the main difference, and the most important one is that trains use a different ticket system. Tram tickets are not valid on trains and visa versa.

Final Thoughts

Amsterdam’s tram network is a great example of how well-organized Dutch public transport is. I hope this post helps you navigate Amsterdam trams a lot more easily.

I wish you Safe travels! 

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Are You Planning to use a Tram in Amsterdam?

Iโ€™d love your thoughts: What is your main reason using an Amsterdam tram?

Let's start a conversation below this article ๐Ÿ’ฌ.

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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