Are you looking for more information about the RAI Amsterdam Convention Center? Or wonder how do I get to the RAI?
Then you’re in the right place. In this post, I review all aspects of the RAI Convention Center.
How to get to Amsterdam RAI:
- From the Airport to the RAI by train
- From the city to the RAI by metro
- How to get to the city by tram
- Get there by car and parking
I’ll also cover topics like surrounding hotels, and the RAI exhibition center..
As a local, I’ve visited the RAI convention center several times. For a few reasons. I’ve been to trade- and theater shows there (The RAI is also a theatre). I’ve even seen Disney on Ice here.
The RAI also has discounted parking for visitors to Amsterdam on non-event days, so that’s another reason I go to the RAI regularly.
After reading this post, you know exactly how to get there, and where you can stay.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
1. About the Amsterdam RAI
RAI Amsterdam is together with the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht, the most important convention center in the Netherlands. Today, it also serves as a theater. Currently, the largest show is the yearly IBC.
The RAI has been around for a while. It originated in 1893 from the RI trade association, focusing initially on the bicycle industry. The association evolved to incorporate automobiles by 1900 and renamed itself RAI, an acronym for “Rijwiel en Automobiel Industrie” or “Bicycle and Automobile Industry” in English.
The current building dates from 1961, and it’s so massive it is almost a neighborhood. Knowing which hall you must be in is essential because it’s easy to get lost. It happened to me.
After its 1961 opening, it received even more extensions, and today, it’s 112,000 square meters. Somewhere around 2 million people visit the RAI annually. It’s popular because of its easy access to the airport and the city.
2. Getting to RAI Amsterdam
Do you wonder how to get to the RAI? If so, let’s go over the different options together. It’s super easy.
Amsterdam RAI Train Station
The RAI in Amsterdam has a convenient train station right next door. It connects different towns in the area, but it’s mainly used for the direct train connection from station RAI to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
It takes 8 minutes from Schiphol Amsterdam Airport to the Amsterdam RAI train station by NS sprinter train. From there, it’s a short signposted walk to the convention center.
Trains run up to 4x hourly between the airport and the RAI. You can check current train timetables here. From the station it’s a 300-meter walk to the entrance of the exhibition center.
With the introduction of OVpay, you no longer need to buy a ticket. Just use your contactless debit or credit card and tap one of the check-in poles before entering the Schiphol Airport platform. And check-out with the same card when you arrive at RAI station.
Amsterdam RAI Metro Station
The RAI also has two metro stations—one for the “old” metro lines, which stops next to the train station. But there is now also a new station for the new Noord-Zuidlijn (North-South Line) called Europaplein.
This is the metro (station) you want to use. It’s metro line 52 (M52). It’s much closer to the entrance of the convention center. Also, this metro line is SO much faster than the old lines. Just remember the M52 metro line.
It takes 8 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station to the RAI stop (Europaplein station) on the M52 > Direction Zuid.
It takes only 3 minutes to travel between Amsterdam Zuid (South) station and the RAI (Europaplein) > Direction Noord.
Metros run every few minutes.
There are also some handy stops along the way—De Pijp for the hip neighborhood De Pijp. Vijzelgracht for the Heineken Brewery Experience (tickets) and the Rijksmuseum (tips). Rokin is a convenient stop for the Rembrandtsplein area.
You also don’t have to buy a ticket for the metro anymore. It works the same as with the train. Just tap your contactless debit or credit card when you enter the station and once again when you exit at your arrival station.
PS: There is also line metro 51 from the RAI Train station towards central station (not the Europaplein stop), but it will take longer to reach the central station. M52 is your better option.
The RAI convention center is also connected by GVB tram line 4. This is a slower means of transport than the metro, it covers almost the same route as the North-South Metro. But the tram has more stops, which can also be more convenient, and you have a view.
RAI Amsterdam is easily accessible by car. It has an exit on the A10 Ring Road Motorway. It’s exit 9 RAI – Buitenveldert. From the exit, the parking garages are signposted.
The trip takes only 12 minutes from the airport without traffic. You can take a train or taxi from the airport to the RAI convention center. I would advise the train since it’s more reliable. You always risk a traffic jam when taking a taxi or an Uber.
The travel time from Utrecht to the RAI is approximately 30-40 minutes.
Parking at RAI Amsterdam
Amsterdam RAI has excellent parking facilities. It doesn’t matter which one you choose. All are close to the entrance.
PS: you’ll need the P4 parking garage if you have a van or another higher vehicle. The maximum height of most parking garages is 1.90m, but P4 is a little higher at 2.70m.
It’s good to know you won’t get a parking ticket when you enter. Everything is registered by license plate. Make sure you know yours when you’re at the payment machine.
Parking costs at the RAI
Parking is expensive at the RAI (see current Amsterdam RAI parking rates here). If you’re coming to visit a convention, it’s best to reserve a place ahead of time. That saves you money on the daily price.
Special rates are available if you visit the theater or the RAI restaurants: Strandzuid, Zuidpool, or The Traveller. When you exit the venue, you pay for parking to qualify for those lower rates.
P+R Amsterdam RAI
When visiting the famous city of Amsterdam by car, you can park at one of the P+R locations of the city at reduced rates and visit Amsterdam’s beautiful center with its canals and attractions. Amsterdam RAI Convention Center is one of these locations.
P+R stands for Park and Ride.
PS: You might find P+R rates advertised on out-of-date websites advertising a €1 for the day rate. But since July 1st, 2023, that has been increased to €6 (if you arrive after 10 a.m. on weekdays or all day during the weekend) and €13 before 10 a.m. on weekdays. Still, it’s a steal.
The one caveat is these low rates are not available during event dates. Make sure to check the Amsterdam RAI website to check dates when this rate is not available:
If it’s not an event day, you can park in any car park for this lower rate, P1 and P2 are most convenient for the metro.
Another thing to be aware of is that you must continue your journey by public transportation for these lower rates. You need to prove that. You do that by scanning your OV chip card before you pay. OV chipcards are for locals.
No worries if you don’t have one as a visitor, but there is an extra step. You need one of the following tickets for visitors.
1. You can buy a special P+R public transport ticket, which also acts as a temporary OV chip card for a day.
The ticket consists of a 1-hour ticket for the outbound journey and a 1-hour ticket for the return journey. The tickets cost €4.50 or up. The price depends on the number of people traveling together. It’s relatively expensive for 1 person and becomes cheaper for two people or more.
It’s a scheme subsidized by the municipality for people to use public transport.
2. You can buy a 1-hour ticket from the tram driver if you only need a one-way. Normally, I say you don’t have to buy a ticket because you can use your contactless bank or credit card for travel, and that is true, but not if you want to get the P+R parking discount. For that, you need a physical ticket.
If you cannot produce a (temporary) OV chip card or arrive at your car later than an hour from taking your public transport journey, you’ll be charged full price.
It’s important to note that you’ll be charged full price, if you use any other (valid) transportation ticket other then the P+R ticket or a personal OV chipcard (locals). That means the “I amsterdam Card”, a ticket from their app, OVpay or any other day pass or e-ticket will not be accepted for the lower parking rate.
3. Hotels Near RAI Amsterdam
The area around the RAI convention center is actively developed as a hotel area, not just for the RAI itself but also for Amsterdam. The city tries to get tourists out of the city center as much as possible, and one of their ways of doing that is not allowing new hotels to be built in the city center but instead in areas like the RAI, Johan Cruijff Arena, and Amsterdam Sloterdijk.
Here are some Amsterdam RAI hotels I recommend. These are high-end accommodations close to the city and the RAI Amsterdam, perfect for attendees and exhibitors:
- The best Amsterdam RAI hotel is the nHow Hotel Amsterdam RAI. It has the highest rating, is closest to the venue, and the building is extraordinary. I love this building for its architecture when I’m driving by.
- The new Van Der Valk Amsterdam Zuidas RAI Hotel is the next best hotel. Van Der Valk is a Dutch chain of high-quality hotels located mainly at motorway exits. They’re best known for their elaborate breakfasts that Herman and I always love. Make sure to book a room inclusive of breakfast.
- Another modern hotel near the RAI is Motel One, right opposite.
- Novotel Amsterdam RAI, this is a little older hotel, and also the furthest away.
The nHow hotel and Motel One are the closest to the RAI, opposite the building. The Van Der Valk is a short walk from the RAI, and the Novotel is the furthest away; however, it is still within walking distance but also maybe a little bit dated.
I would try to book them in this order:
4. RAI Amsterdam Floor Plan
With a venue this large a floorplan is quite handy. Here is the Amsterdam RAI Floor plan for you to download. PS this is a smaller image, but when you click it you will be able to download a larger file from the RAI’s own website.
5. RAI Amsterdam Address
Amsterdam RAI exhibition and convention center is perfectly situated only minutes from the city center and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. RAI Amsterdam is located at Europaplein.
1078 GZ Amsterdam
P.O. Box 77777
1070 MS Amsterdam
Phone: +31 (0)20 549 12 12
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