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Amsterdam: Disabled Access and Travel

by Pablova Symonds


Amsterdam is a premier destination for culture and nightlife and sees an influx of thousands of tourists each year. A number of these tourists are handicapped in one way or another, but manage to make their way around the city and enjoy themselves to boot!


To aid disabled travellers in getting the most out of their trip, the Amsterdam Tourist Board offers brochures with listings for accommodation, restaurants, tourist attractions, museums, and boat excursions that cater to disabled visitors.


A wheelchair taxi service can be booked in advance to help you get around the city. In the metro stations, lifts are provided for easy access and a number of the trains are wheelchair-accessible. Most of the train stations and public buildings maintain special reserved toilets for the disabled. The handicapped are eligible for discounts on public transport and are allowed to park in the city at no charge, although some restrictions do apply. In addition, to assist those who are visually-impaired, train timetables are published in Braille and the corners of banknotes carry raised shapes for easy identification.


Although Amsterdam conjures up images of narrow, cobbled streets, not all the streets are cobbled, so those in wheelchairs find it relatively easy to wheel around. But that’s not the only way to travel. Amsterdam is dotted with canals, and one of the best ways to see the old city is to travel in a canal boat, some of which are fitted with wheelchair lifts. An hour long trip on the canals will get you the best view of all the old buildings that line them.


May is often the best time of year to visit the city since the flowers will be blooming and you won’t want to miss the opportunity to visit the gardens and buy some tulips. Other sights to see include making the rounds of the many museums ranging from art to history to alternative museums dedicated to the wild and wonderful. If you book in advance with the Van Gogh Museum, you may be able to skip the queues for entry and move straight on to artistic treasures within. The Rijksmuseum is also wheelchair-accessible on two floors that are connected by a lift. Special disabled toilets are available on the ground floor. Amsterdam Historical Museum is also a must-see with easy access and lifts to the various parts of the large complex. The Het Muziektheater should also be high on your itinerary. The opera house maintains a very comfortable wheelchair section with a good view.