Tourism Abroad - Disabled Accessibility

Amsterdam, Netherlands December 2007

Travellers with a mobility problem will find Amsterdam only moderately equipped to meet their needs.

Amsterdam lit up at twilight with Anne Frank's house in the centre

Amsterdam at twilight, with Anne Frank's house visible in the centre

Getting Around

Amsterdam has several options for mobility. There are trams, buses, trains, taxis and canal boats, which give the city a great 'getting around' image. As the city is very flat, cycling is popular and can be very dangerous at busy periods. Cyclists will not be inclined to avoid people if in the way. The metro stations have lifts, many trains have wheelchair access, and most train stations and public buildings have toilets for the disabled. Train timetables are published in Braille. Disabled people can get discounts on public transport. In Amsterdam, there is a taxi service called, Garskamp, this is suitable for people with physical and mobility disabilities, including wheelchair users.


The city's Red Light District is possibly the most popular attraction. It involves a walk through a busy part of Amsterdam, where the pavement is cobbled which can make mobility slightly difficult.

Anne Franks House has been adapted into a museum and access is difficult as the only way around this attraction is by walking. There are a lot of stairs involved with no particular resting places. Given this information, Anne Franks House is not easily accessible for the physically disabled.

There is reasonable access for disabled people inside the Amsterdam Historical Museum. There are lift and toilets provided for disabled people. This attraction is spaced out, with a very open plan, making mobility easier and plenty of space for wheelchairs. The museum also provides discount tickets for disabled people; two for the price of one.

Another attraction visited was Madame Tussauds, which allows a carer in free where the disabled person pays the full admission.  However, due to strict fire regulations they are only allowed to accommodate two wheelchair users at the same time. This regulation guarantees everyone's safety. It is strongly recommended that wheelchair users make a reservation before they come to Madame Tussauds Amsterdam. It is also noted that guide dogs for the blind are unfortunately not permitted inside Madame Tussauds. Most of the wax works are quite easy to identify; however, there is only a small print name tag beside each piece of waxwork. It is recommended that disabled people contact Madame Tussauds beforehand.

Wheelchair access is available at practically every large museum, though they don't always guarantee facilities for the visually impaired or hard of hearing.

Eating Out

Most restaurants tend to be on the ground floor, though 'ground' sometimes includes a few steps with no ramped or lift access.

Bars and Nightlife

Most bars provide little disabled access, and can be quite crowded throughout the night.

General Information

Most of the canal banks do not have barriers to protect people, but generally the lighting is adequate.

Despite the reservations above, Amsterdam is a practical destination for disabled tourists.