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Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE)

27–29 October 2014 RAI Centre Amsterdam, The Netherlands

About Amsterdam

For those ATCE attendees who are visiting Amsterdam for the first time, we have compiled some information for you from some well-regarded travel sources. Links to the sources are provided should you wish to learn more about this fascinating and vibrant city.


The Netherlands has a mild North Sea climate, with moderate temperatures. In the winter, it rarely drops below -5° C (23° F). The weather can change very quickly however, so it is recommended that you dress in layers. We also recommend you pack an umbrella, a good jacket and perhaps even a scarf.

Source: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/about-amsterdam/weather

Monthly Averages


High Temp

Low Temp



12° C (55° F)

6° C (44° F)


Source: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g188590-s208/Amsterdam:The-Netherlands:Weather.And.When.To.Go.html

Travel from Schiphol Airport

Amsterdam is a world-class international transport hub and there are countless ways of getting into the city:

  • A direct rail link connects Schiphol International Airport with the Amsterdam Centraal station and is the fastest and most convenient way to get to the city centre. Trains run every 10 minutes (airport train schedule) from platforms 1 and 2 in the main arrival plaza and cost just €4.00 (full rate, second class) for a single journey. You may use major credit cards and pay at the special yellow ticket machines. There is a €0.50 surcharge if you buy the ticket at the ticket office. A fine of €35.00 will be added to the fare if you do not have a valid ticket.
  • Airport Shuttles run by Connexxion, depart every 10 minutes with service to more than 100 hotels throughout the city. Tickets cost €17.00 one way, €27.00 for a return, and can be purchased inside the main arrival plaza. Guests of major hotels should first check the shuttle area to see if their hotel provides a complimentary service. The tickets can be purchased at the Conexxion Shuttle Desk in Arrivals 4 or the Holland Tourist Information desk at Arrivals 2.
  • Taxi and Limousines from and to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport start at €45.00 and can be reserved through Dutch Business Limousine.

Source: http://www.amsterdam.info/transport/

Traveling Around Amsterdam

In line with our sustainability drive, delegates are requested to use public transport wherever possible. To plan your journey, please use the link.

Additional travel information is available on the ATCE travel and accommodation webpage.

Visitor Information Centres

General opening hours in Amsterdam

Shops are open from Monday to Saturday, 0900 to 1800 (Saturday until 1700 and Thursday evenings until 2100). Sundays 1200 to 1700. Some supermarkets stay open until 2000 or 2200 on weeknights. Most businesses operate Monday to Friday, 0830 to 1700. Banks are open weekdays only, between 0900 and 1600. Post offices are open weekdays only, between 0900 and 1700. The main post office on Singel 250 basement is open weekdays between 0730 and 1830 and also open Saturdays from 0730 to 1700.

Source: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/plan-your-trip/practical-info/communication-money-matters

Time Zone

The Netherlands is on Central European Time, which is GMT plus one hour. The Netherlands observes Daylight Savings Time – which begins the last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday in October.


Source: http://www.amsterdamlogue.com/information

Electricity and Plugs

The Netherlands operates on a 220V/50Hz electrical system, and the electrical outlets you will find will require European plugs with two narrow cylindrical prongs.


If your electrical appliances are not 220V/50Hz, you will need a converter (to convert the electricity) and adapter (to make your appliances fit into the wall plugs). Most new computers, iPods and digital camera chargers, come ready for both 110V and 220V.

Source: http://www.amsterdamlogue.com/information


Other currencies are normally not accepted. There are currency exchange offices located throughout the city. Most hotels offer currency exchange services as well.

Many shops and restaurants in Amsterdam accept credit cards, but not all. It is therefore recommended to either ask before you order or ensure you have a sufficient amount in cash to cover the bill. Most shops and restaurants do not accept €200 or €500 notes.

Source: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/plan-your-trip/practical-info/communication-money-matters


Service is always included. It is however customary to tip in restaurants, bars and when paying for taxis. As a general rule tipping between 5% and 10% is acceptable.

Source: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/plan-your-trip/practical-info/communication-money-matters

Tax Free Shopping

Non-EU residents are eligible to get back the Value Added Tax (VAT) on purchases in the European Union. In the Netherlands the VAT is 19% and the minimum spend is €50.00. To get a refund, you can visit Customs before leaving the EU to get a stamp. You can either send the stamped receipt back to the store for a full VAT refund or make use of the following services:

1) Shop only at retailers affiliated with Global Blue. Eligible travellers will pay the full price for the goods, including VAT in the shop. The merchant then gives the traveller a Tax Free Form to complete in order to claim back their VAT at the airport. Visit www.global-blue.com for more information. 

2) Shop wherever you like, save your purchase receipt and then reclaim the VAT online or at the VAT Free service desk at Schiphol Airport, departure hall 2. Visit www.vatfree.com for more information.

Source: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/plan-your-trip/practical-info/communication-money-matters


The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch. The majority of Amsterdam’s residents speak English well and are often fluent in one or more languages on top of that. You can usually get by effortlessly in Amsterdam without knowing a word of Dutch.

The Dutch ‘g’ is normally pronounced mid-throat, sounding similar to the ‘ch’ in loch or Bach

Do you speak English?

Spreekt u Engels?



Good morning


Good afternoon


Good evening



Dag or doei (pronounced: doowee)

Excuse me


Thank you

Dank u


Alstublieft (pronounced: alst-u-bleeft)


Ja (pronounced: yah)


Nee (pronounced: nay)





















Source: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/about-amsterdam/history-and-society/language


As in all major cities, pickpockets are typically active in crowded places and cafés, bars and restaurants. Pickpockets are known to target major events and the Museum District, as well as public transport (especially trams and train services between Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam Centraal Station). Mind your belongings carefully – take extra care of valuable items such as smartphones and, if possible, leave your valuables in a safety deposit box or safe at your hotel, or a locker at the station. It is advisable to keep the amount of cash you carry with you to a minimum. If you are the victim of pickpocketing, report it to the police (see below).

Source: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/plan-your-trip/practical-info/health-safety


If you are a victim of crime, either report the crime online via the website (in Dutch) or in person at a police station in the city (by appointment). The Dutch police website offers a map of police station locations. In emergency situations or to report a crime in progress, call 112. For non-emergency situations requiring police assistance or to make an appointment to report a crime in person, call 0900-8844 (if using a mobile phone with an international SIM card please dial +31 343 578 844).

Source: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/plan-your-trip/practical-info/health-safety


Just about every country in the world has a representative in the Netherlands. You will find addresses and telephone numbers of approximately 250 embassies and consulates in the Netherlands using this link.

Source: http://www.government.nl/issues/embassies-consulates-and-other-representations/contents


The consumption of alcohol is prohibited in the majority of public places in the city centre, but you are naturally welcome to visit Amsterdam’s many bars. Never combine drugs with alcohol. For serious drug and alcohol-related emergencies, seek immediate medical assistance.

SPE recognise the legitimate serving of alcoholic beverages in the process of conducting business and social activities. We also recognise that the use and consumption of alcohol carries with it the requirement for all attendees to consume those beverages responsibly and in keeping with our professional code of ethics and conduct. We strongly oppose the abuse and misuse of alcohol.

For more information about health matters in the city, contact the Public Health Service of Amsterdam.

Source: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/plan-your-trip/practical-info/health-safety


In a life-threatening emergency, the national telephone number for an ambulance, police and the fire brigade is 112.

Source: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/the-netherlands/amsterdam/practical-information/health

Medical Services

The Netherlands has reciprocal health arrangements with other EU countries and Australia. If you are an EU citizen, a European Health Insurance Card (EUIC) covers you for most medical care. You still might have to pay on the spot, but you should be able to claim it back in your country of residence. Citizens of other countries are advised to take out relevant insurance. For minor health concerns, see a local chemist. For more serious problems, go to the casualty ward of a hospital.

Contact the Centrale Doktersdienst (Central Doctors Service; 592 34 34; 24hr) for doctor, dentist or pharmacy referrals.

Source: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/the-netherlands/amsterdam/practical-information/health

Other Useful Phone Numbers

Police (theft and other queries): 0900-8844 / +31 343 578 844
Tourist doctor: +31 (0)20 427 5011.

Source: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/plan-your-trip/practical-info/health-safety

XXX and the City


It is actually a complete coincidence that the St. Andrew's Crosses on Amsterdam’s 500-year-old coat of arms are also similar to the modern-day shorthand for x-rated entertainment. The 'XXX' symbol can be seen all over the city – on flags, buildings, manhole covers and even on the poles that stop cars from driving on the pavement (known locally as Amsterdammertjes).

The majority of people have heard about Amsterdam’s Red Light District well before their visit, but the heart of Amsterdam is much more than that.

The area is bustling with visitors and groups of tourists. It is best to travel in a pair or in a group, as the area also attracts some seedier characters.

It is forbidden to take photos of the women, and this is strictly enforced. Although there is 24-hour video surveillance in most parts of the district, beware of pickpockets. They tend to target crowds of distracted tourists, so keep an eye on your belongings and leave your valuables in a safe at the hotel.

The Wallen, also known as the rosse buurt to Amsterdammers and the Red Light District to visitors is actually the oldest part of Amsterdam. The neighbourhood is chock-full of interesting shops, pubs, fantastic restaurants, leaning gabled houses and the city’s most charming canals. Don’t miss the vibrant Nieuwmarkt square, the gothic Oude Kerk or a walk along the centre of Amsterdam’s Chinatown, the Zeedijk (also home to an impressive Buddhist temple).

Source: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/about-amsterdam/history-and-society/city-symbols

What to do in Amsterdam

The best guide for what to do in Amsterdam can be found on the Iamsterdam Website, they also have an interactive map to show the locations.

Source: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/what-to-do