Schiphol Behind the Scenes Tour at Amsterdam Airport

behind the scenes tour schiphol amsterdam airport

Amsterdam airport offers a “Schiphol Behind the Scenes” tour for visitors which gives a glimpse into the working life of the airport. This is our independent review of the Schiphol tour…

The Behind The Scenes tour (run by Lovers) is made by a specially customised coach and takes about 1 hour – you are transported around the perimeter of the airport to the eastern side and then come back again.

You stay on the bus for the entire tour – you do not get out at any point. There are 7 on-board 24″ video screens that show the live GPS position of the bus. These play short films (Dutch with English subtitles) about the various passing points of interest and some historical anecdotes.

amsterdam schiphol airport behind the scenes tour bus

The tour takes you past a number of features around Amsterdam Schiphol airport. This includes the private jet terminal, the Fokker hangar, KLM operations centre, KLM engine maintenance and hangars, the engine noise testing facility, the fire station, the snow fleet, bird control, the justice centre and the former air traffic control tower.

schiphol behind the scenes tour klm palne engine test

There are some good panoramic views of the airport and runways and you may see some planes taking off and landing. Obviously photography can be a little compromised by being on the bus – at least try to get a window seat if taking photos.

The Schiphol Behind The Scenes tour costs €15.50 for adults or €7.75 for children aged 4-12. A family ticket is €35 (2 adults + 2 children).

Tickets can be purchased at the Planes@Plaza store at Schiphol Plaza or online. Note that for security reasons, everyone aged 13 or over will need to show ID to take part in the tour. You should “check-in” at the Planes@Plaza store at least 20 minutes before departure. The driver will ask you to confirm your date of birth (in front of the group, which some may find a little awkward).

You then board the bus which leaves from platform 15 just outside the terminal. Please note, there are no toilets on-board the bus.

Tours run all year round Tuesday to Sunday (closed Monday). Departure times are 1100, 1300 and 1430.

schiphol amsterdam airport tour view

We found the tour to be enjoyable with well produced video clips and a chance to see some of the working aspects of the airport you don’t normally get to see. It is certainly a must for any aviation enthusiasts.

The tour is aimed at all visitors to Schiphol and is popular with locals, especially during the school holidays. On the tour we took all the passengers were Dutch. For transfer passengers, do note that you must clear immigration to get to the tour departure point.

Marks & Spencer Stores in Amsterdam and Den Haag

marks & spencer store amsterdam

Marks & Spencer has currently 2 stores in the Netherlands. We will overview the Marks & Spencer Amsterdam store, a small outlet on the Kalverstraat shopping street as well as the larger flagship store in Den Haag.

Marks & Spencer Amsterdam Store

The Marks & Spencer Amsterdam store contains the ever popular Food Hall which offers high quality British and international-themed food plus an E-Boutique section.

The British retailer re-entered Amsterdam’s Kalverstraat in 2013 after an absence of 13 years. Plans to open a large flagship 6,000 m² store on Rokin in 2016 have since been shelved – the site has been sold off to Canadian Hudson’s Bay Company.

The Amsterdam food store will remain and sells a good assortment of M&S food. From sandwiches and take-away snacks, ready-meals, alcoholic beverages to groceries and specialty items. The store appeals to Anglo expats, visitors and locals alike looking for a takeaway meal or to stock up on British foods not available in Dutch supermarkets.

marks & spencer food hall amsterdam

Bargain hunters will find M&S marking down the price of its food slightly with yellow stickers if on the sell-by date.

At the front of the store there is a small women’s clothing section with an E-Boutique virtual shopping point.

marks and spencer store amsterdam

Opening hours for Marks & Spencer Amsterdam are 1000-2030 (Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat), 1000-2100 (Thu) and 1100-2030 (Sun).

Marks & Spencer, Kalverstraat 226, 1012 XJ Amsterdam

Marks & Spencer Den Haag Store

Marks & Spencer has a large 3-storey flagship store in Den Haag (The Hague) found on the main Grote Marktstraat shopping street. The ground floor level contains a large Food Hall store with a comprehensive selection of M&S food and a Coffee to go café.

marks & spencer den haag store

The rest of the ground floor and levels 1 and 2 offer an array of clothing for men, women and children. A large and stylish M&S Café is also found on the top floor.

m&s cafe den haag

Opening hours for the Marks & Spencer Food Hall are 0900-2000 (Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri), 0900-2100 (Thu), 1000-2000 (Sat) and 1100-1800 (Sun).

Fashion and M&S Café are open 1100-1900 (Mon), 1000-1900 (Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat), 1000-2100 (Thu) and 1200-1800 (Sun).

Marks & Spencer, Grote Marktstraat 32, 2511 BJ Den Haag

IJ-Hallen Flea Market in Amsterdam

ij-hallen flea market amsterdam

IJ-Hallen is a flea market which takes place monthly over a weekend (Saturday and Sunday) at NDSM wharf in the north of Amsterdam. With around 500 stalls it is the largest regular flea market in the Netherlands and one of the biggest in Europe.

NDSM wharf can be easily reached from the back of Amsterdam Central station by hopping on the free GVB ferry. The trip takes about 15 minutes and offers some great views of the IJ river and Amsterdam’s waterfront development.

On arrival it is a short walk towards the 2 large shipyard buildings that host the market. Entrance is €5 for adults and €2 for children aged 0-11.

ij-hallen ndsm wharf amsterdam

There are a number of outside stalls selling larger items (bikes, furniture etc) though the bulk of the action is inside the hangar-like buildings. You will find all manner of bric-a-brac for sale and it is a little reminiscent of the King’s Day free market in April. On our visit we would estimate about 2/3 of the stalls were selling clothes.

ij-hallen flea market amsterdam

Prices are cheap and open to negotiation. This is not really the place to look for high-end antiques though you might find that gem of a bargain if you get there early.

Most of the stall-holders are hobbyists and amateurs – a standard stall is 4m by 1.10m and is available to rent for €30 per day. You need to book early as stalls do tend to sell out – bookings open about 6 weeks in advance of the market.

ij-hallen flea market amsterdam

If you wish to temporarily leave the market then get a stamp on your hand which will allow you to re-enter later on that day. There are a number of good cafés around NDSM wharf such as IJKantine, Noorderlicht and Pllek; the area itself has a unique, eclectic atmosphere.

Just a couple of things to watch out for – obviously pickpockets; also mind your step inside the buildings as the floors can be uneven in places.

For those coming by car there are paid parking facilities on-site or nearby free parking opposite Papaverweg 50.

If you enjoy browsing flea markets or love shopping for vintage clothes then a visit to IJ-Hallen will make for a fun-filled few hours.

See our what’s on in Amsterdam section for IJ-Hallen dates or check IJ-Hallen’s site here.

IJ-Hallen Flea Market, T.T. Neveritaweg 1, 1033 WB Amsterdam-Noord

Foodhallen in Amsterdam (International Food Court)

map foodhallen amsterdam

Foodhallen is a compact indoor food court located in a former tram depot in Amsterdam West, near the Ten Kate street market. Opened in October 2014, it was loosely inspired by international food markets such as London’s Borough Market and Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel.

Foodhallen Amsterdam contains a central bar plus around 20 different stands from local food businesses/entrepreneurs.  There are a reasonable number of seats and benches around to enjoy your food – although it can get very busy, especially at weekends. It is not on the same scale as Rotterdam’s Markthal.

The flavour is both local and international – stalls include Viet View (Vietnamese street food), De Ballen Bar (Dutch food), Dim Sum Thing (Chinese), Green Brothers (vegetarian), Jabugo (authentic Spanish deli), Wild Moa Pies (pies from Down Under), Maza (Mediterranean food), Meneer Temaki (sushi), Bulls and Dogs (sausages), Entrecôte Mobiel (steak sandwiches), The Butcher (gourmet burgers), SHIRKHAN (Indian street food) and Caulils Kaas (cheese including the popular toasted cheese sandwiches and raclettes).

foodhallen amsterdamThe De Hallen building dates from the 19th century and has been renovated in a modern industrial chic style with lots of exposed brickwork. The complex also contains Hotel De Hallen and its restaurant Remise47, TV studios, FilmHallen (a 9 screen cinema), a small public library (OBA) with café and a few shops/boutiques. Outside can be found the Ten Kate street market.

de hallen amsterdam

Foodhallen is a welcome addition to the Amsterdam food scene. Reviews have been mainly positive although some visitors have complained about a lack of ventilation. If you are passionate about food and enjoy eating on informal communal tables then it is probably worth a visit. There is often live music on some evenings.

One issue we do have is that many stall holders will only take card payments, no cash is accepted. This policy is seen in a number of other places around town including Marqt, Vlaamsch Broodhuys and EYE Film. Many international card providers charge hefty useage fees per transaction, making it uneconomic for foreign visitors to use such cards for small amounts. On the other hand, some people just prefer the old-fashioned anonymity and reliability of a cash transaction.

We understand the hygiene issue of handling cash so we would like to see an Asian-style central cash desk available for payments which would be more friendly to international customers.

Foodhallen is open daily 1100-2330(Sun-Thu), 1100-0100 (Fri/Sat).


To reach Foodhallen you can either walk from the city centre (about 15-20 mins) or take tram 17 from Central Station or tram 7 from Leidseplein to the “Ten Katestraat” stop. You can enter the Foodhallen via Bellamyplein or the De Hallen passageway via Ten Katestraat or Tollensstraat.

Foodhallen, Bellamyplein 51, Amsterdam