Tourist Information

Visa
For participants from non-EU countries (with the exception of US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan) a visa may be required for entering the Netherlands. Please consult the Dutch embassy in your country for more details. The invitation for a visa application can be obtained through the congress organizers (CAOS).

Getting around
Amsterdam offers a dense public transportation network. It consists of tram, bus, subway and boat, making it easy to navigate the city. Besides these options you can also choose to take a taxi or rent a bicycle.

Currency and money
In The Netherlands the currency is Euro. Money exchange is possible at "Grens Wissel Kantoor" (GWK) which you will find at Schiphol Airport (on the Plaza) and at the main train stations (Central Station) and at banks. At Schiphol and in Amsterdam there are ample sites to pull cash via a credit card or EC-card (Maestro). In the RAI Congress Centre there are two cash machines. All of the hotels, most of the shops and restaurants accept international credit cards and some also will accept EC-cards.

The weather
Due to the influence of the nearby North Sea, The Netherlands has a moderate climate with mild winters and cool summers. During the summer temperatures range from 21°C to 26°C.

Smoking Ban
From July 2008, a smoking ban came into effect in all hospitality venues in the Netherlands. The ban also includes discotheques and concert halls. Most venues do have a designated smoking area.

Some figures
  • The total surface of the Netherlands is 41.500 km2
  • The country is approx. 300 km long (north to south) and some 200 km wide (east to west)
  • The Netherlands has 16 million inhabitants of which approximately 747.000 live in Amsterdam, the nations' capital
  • In Amsterdam we have a population of some 175 nationalities
  • 20.800 people walk to work every day
  • The bike is the most popular means of transportation in the city (600.000 bikes in Amsterdam alone)
History
What makes Amsterdam so different from other cities? Dozens of answers could be given to this question, but the most obvious is: the canals. A spider's web of waterways divides the city center into about ninety islands linked by characteristic bridges. The famous canal rings in the shape of a crescent–comprising Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht–were constructed in the 17th century. Amsterdam was then the most important trading city in the world and the canals were ideal to transport the products from all corners of the world to the warehouses. The oldest canals were however originally intended to protect the city against unwanted visitors. The rapid population growth ensured that this line of defence had to be repeatedly moved. The bulwarks disappeared, to be constructed further up. The canals remained, because they were useful for the shipping.

Touristic highlights of Amsterdam
If this is your first visit to Amsterdam, a tour with a canal boat should be on your list! There are several boat trips that leave from different points of departure in the City Center. Amsterdam is famous for the variety of internationally renowned museums like the Van Gogh Museum, The Rijksmuseum with the world famous painting of Rembrandt, the Anne Frank house, The Hermitage and the Stedelijk Museum. If you like music and opera, Amsterdam is the place to be. Tickets for the Concert Gebouw Orchestra and the Opera House are usually hard to get, unless you book well in advance (www.aub.nl, www.ticketmaster.nl). Amsterdam city center is easy accessible by public transportation and can be explored best by foot. Lovely shops and boutiques, galleries, small cafés and restaurants are spread around the heart of the city. Stroll around and enjoy the many faces of Amsterdam. If you really want to feel like an Amsterdammer, rent a bike! Amsterdam is made for biking. The city is well-equipped with special bicycle traffic lights and bicycle paths. It is the cheapest and fastest way to travel in and around the city. Moreover biking is convenient, safe and a lot of fun. You will see more and enjoy a lot more! (www.macbike.nl)

If you are looking for a complete overview of information, please go to www.Iamsterdam.com.