Flying to Amsterdam Airport with a small dog
Why should I write about flying to Amsterdam Airport with a small dog? Well, you know you’re a serious traveller when you follow the votes for the best airports every year. It’s like the Oscars, only without the fanfare. And I get totally excited when I can say, “Wow, I made it to three of those!” This year’s winners? Take a look. (PS – How #10 even got on the list is a mystery to me.)
TOP TEN AIRPORTS, 2014
- Singapore Changi Airport
- Incheon International Airport
- Munich Airport
- Hong Kong International Airport
- Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
- Tokyo International Airport Haneda
- Beijing Capital Airport
- Zurich Airport
- Vancouver International Airport
- London Heathrow Airport
I have reviewed Munich Airport for you and Zurich airport is coming up, but today … today, I want to talk to you about #5 – Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. It was #3 in 2013 but slipped this year to 5th, likely due to the extensive renovations currently going on in the international flight area.
I love Amsterdam Airport. On my list, it’s #1. Granted, I’ve not been to Singapore so it could be good, but on my list, it’s Amsterdam.
Why am I such a big fan of Amsterdam Airport? Because they get travellers.
Where else can you happily go outside, run around on AstroTurf – OFF leash – and get some air? Oh, and without having to leave the airport or go through customs, either! Enter the Airport Park (it is located above Pier D in lounge 1) concept!
Green wall? Waterfall? Log bench? Check!
And where else can you enjoy bean bags?
Or a massage chair?
And what other airport has brought the outdoors in? Including the sounds of birds in a forest to help you relax?
And there is an “office” area with free wi-fi too!
And where can you have a snack inside a GIANT TEACUP?!
I can’t tell you how much I love this airport. The staff are helpful; the security guards zoom about on Segways; and did I mention the museum?
The Rijksmuseum Schiphol Airport (opened in 2002) is a small, fun museum that exhibits original art, normally about ten to twelve masterpiece paintings at a time. The art is rotated to keep the exhibits fresh. The themes usually link to travel in some way and always connect with the Dutch masters or Dutch art in general. So far, the themes have been:
- Sunny Skies in the Golden Age
- Brueghel in Business
- The Art of Flying: Bird Pieces by Melchior d’Hondecoeter
- Holland & Japan: 400 Years of Trade
- Vincent van Gogh: Nature Close-Up, with eight original paintings by the world’s most popular artist
- Dutch Cows: Symbol of Prosperity – cattle pieces from the Rijksmuseum.
The museum is open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Admission is free but you need your passport. A pooch may enter if in a bag. You can find the museum at the Holland Boulevard, between E and F. (Yes, all the branches of the airport have street names.)
And if all of that is still not enough, there’s a casino, a grand piano available for travellers to play, good shopping, a meditation room for all religions, two spas (one offers massages), and a wide variety of bars and restaurants. If you feel the need, you may also take a shower at the Hotel Mercure. It’s open 24 hours a day and the cost is €15. Or, for a free shower, go to the top floor and use the showers near the meditation room. Bring your own towels.
Yes, this airport is AWESOME! Although water … yuck.
And there’s still more! If you want to sleep but do not want the hassle of going through customs, book a room at the Hotel Mercury or the Yotel Amsterdam Schiphol. The Yotel has pod-type rooms available for a minimum of four hours. Great if you want some privacy, a nap, and a shower. The Yotel also has two shower rooms, which you can book by the hour. The fee here is also €15.
In the summer of 2010, Amsterdam airport opened the world’s first permanent airport library. The library offers a collection of 1200 books by Dutch writers, translated into 29 languages. The 300-square foot library also offers e-books and music by Dutch artists, which can be downloaded to a laptop or mobile device at no fee.
My personal favourite, and the coolest offering of any airport anywhere: a wedding chapel for those wishing to take off in newly-wedded bliss! I kept hinting to the bipeds but no dice. Oh well, maybe next time!
All that to say, Dear Reader, even with the ongoing renovations, this airport is the absolute best place to have a layover.
In review: Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is Europe’s fifth largest airport in terms of passengers and third largest in terms of cargo. And yet the airport continuously manages to be listed in the top 5 best airports in the world. The airport has everything you could want, even a little mystery around its name! You can read about that here.
If you have to spend some time in an airport, I recommend this one. Flying to Amsterdam airport with a small dog never makes you feel overwhelmed. You can relax, eat, shop, sleep … you name it. We had and one-hour layover on our way to Nice from Montreal and a four-hour layover on the way back. And Mom was super sick. Yet we were fine. We felt comfortable and we didn’t feel hassled. If you have a little bit more time (say, 8 hours), then you can take the speed train into Amsterdam proper. In fact there are even bus tours that leave from the airport! That’s classy, Amsterdam. That is classy.