The blue "stippenkaart" or "strip ticket" WAS a very useful and flexible public transport ticket that was valid in Amsterdam and all over the Netherlands. However since June 2010 the strippenkaart has no longer been valid in Amsterdam having been replaced by the chip based card called the OV-Chipkaart.
The strippenkaart has now been phased out all over the Netherlands - however (for reference purposes only) we will keep the following article on how the strippenkaart was used:
The Strippenkaart in Amsterdam
The strippenkaart can be used for multiple journeys and/or by more than one person, provided you have enough empty 'strips'. You can buy either a card with 15 strips (€7.70) or with 45 strips (€22.80) - 2011 prices. Children between 4 and 11 and foreigners over 65 with a passport can travel using a concession 15 strippenkaart (red) for €5.00. Note, under 4's travel free.
Where to buy: They are on sale at NS station 'Kiosk' outlets, post offices, supermarkets (ask at the front desk) and newsagents. You can't buy strippenkaarts on buses, trams or trains.
How the Strippenkaart works
Amsterdam is divided into a number of travel zones: Centrum (Central), Oost (East), Zuid (South), Zuid-Oost (South East), West, Noord (North) and Amstelveen. These are indicated by a yellow hexagon on the transport maps you will find at stops and stations.
You need to stamp the strippenkaart with the correct number of strips at the start of your journey. The number of strips depends on how many zones you plan to travel through. For travel within a single zone, you should stamp 2 strips - so on a brand new strippenkaart you would stamp strip number 2. If you subsequently took another single zone trip you would then stamp strip number 4...and so on until the ticket is used up.
Each additional zone you travel through requires an extra strip. So for travel within 2 zones you need to validate 3 strips at the start of the trip.
Most places of interest in Amsterdam are in the Central zone which requires 2 strips only - on a standard 15 strippenkaart this journey costs just over 1 euro. If you don't have a strippenkaart and have to buy a single ticket on board it would cost you €2.60.
There are a number of ways to stamp your ticket. On buses the driver will always stamp your ticket as you enter - tell them your destination or just ask for the number of strips you want stamped. On trams the drivers can also validate strippenkaarts and there may also be a conductor at the back. Some trams have self stamping machines - fold it to the required strip number and insert it face up. You will also find these machines at metro and train station platforms where you should stamp before boarding.
Once stamped the strippenkaart is generally valid for 60 minutes (2 to 4 strips) or 90 minutes (5 to 7 strips), which includes any transfers or journey breaks. So you can hop from metro to tram to bus etc if you want, as long as you are within the permitted travel zones.
Travelling with Multiple Passengers - For example, if there are 3 people travelling in a single zone you stamp the strippenkaart 3 x 2 strips for each person (so 3 stamps using a total of 6 strips).
If you make a mistake by stamping too many strips then the driver or conductor can use stickers to correct the fare. If you are running out of strips, you can combine 2 strippenkaarts for a journey.
Note once again, the strippenkaart has been replaced in Amsterdam and Netherlands by the OV-chipkaart.