Amsterdam Schiphol Spotting Guide

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (IATA: AMS, ICAO: EHAM) is the largest airport in the Netherlands and welcomed 63.6 million passengers in 2016. So if you are going to Amsterdam, don’t forget to make a stop at this interesting airport.
The airport is the gateway to the Netherlands and Amsterdam has only international flights, with some small exceptions by businessjets and governmental flights. The most popular destinations are in Europe. The following Airlines have a Hub in AMS: Corendon Dutch Airlines, Delta Airlines, Easyjet, KLM, KLM Cityhopper, Martinair Cargo, Transavia, TUI Netherlands and Vueling. There are flights to all continents except for Australia . The largest regular visitor into Amsterdam is the 2x daily Emirates A380 flight to Dubai.
There are also a lot of cargo destinations especially to Afrika, Asia and the Americas.

Amsterdam is one of the spotterfriendliest airports in Europe and apart from the huge viewing terrace on the terminal building, two special spotterplaces were created outside the airports perimeter. The one at the Polderbaan is the most frequented one with toilets and some small food places during the summer. Additionally there is the McDonald’s close to the RWY 27 threshold which has a large area outside to accomodate spotters and enthusiasts. As spotting is a well known hobby here everyone is tolerating you at the airport. Another good thing is that the use of a radio scanner for listening to ATC communications is allowed in this country.

A great 24h real time schedule, arrival and departure times, aircraft type, registration and destinations can be found here:

Runway use can be monitored via:

Written by Patrick Weis, Jan Seba, Julian Mittnacht, Björn Van Brussel / Visited regulary, Bas Velders / local spotter

Rating Movements

Visitor Rating

How was your spotting trip? Rate this airport now.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(32 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)

Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Airport Informations    Runways 18R/36L 18C/36C 18L/36R
3.800 m (12.467 ft) 3.300 m (10.827 ft) 3.400 m (11.155 ft)
Asphalt Asphalt Asphalt
 06/24  09/27  04/22
 3.500 m (11.483 ft)  3.453 m
(11.329 ft)
2.014 m
(6.608 ft)
 Asphalt  Asphalt  Asphalt
Terminals Depature Hall 1 Depature Hall 2 Depature Hall 3
Non Skyteam and KLM Skyteam Airlines, like KLM, Delta, China Airlines, Chinas Southern and Other Middle Eastern and Asian except Emirates Skyteam, Low Cost Carriers and Emirates because of the A380
Spotting Informations  Ladder On some spots necessary (where it is always mentioned), but as the airport is surrounded by waterways instead of fences, there a lots of spotting places where you won’t need a ladder.
Car Recommended as the distances are enourmous. It can mean up to 20km from one end of the airport to another.
Restrooms Terminal, Spotterplaats Polderbaan or McDonald’s
Drinks/Food There are two McDonald’s, some restaurants in the terminal, several gas stations and supermarkets for example in Hoofddorp or Aalsmeer.
Hotels Lots of hotels near the airport
Season We suggest May-Oktober as this is the summertime. It can get very cold during the winter and a lot of fog can come up.
Runway Usage  18R/36L
Polderbaan – Always in use for landing or depatures as it is the longest runway and disturbs Amsterdam itself not that much. Only used for landings in 18 direction and for takeoffs in 36 direction.
18C/36C Zwanenburgbaan – During peak hours active in the same direction as the Polderbaan.
Aalsmeerbaan – Normally active together with the Kaagbaan for the opposite movement type (landing/depatures) as the Polderbaan/Zwanenburgbaan. Only used for landings in 36 direction and for takeoffs in 18 direction.
Kaagbaan – Normaly active together with the Aalsmeerbaan for the opposite movement type (landing/depatures) as the  Polderbaan/Zwanenburgbaan.Only used for landings in 06 direction and for takeoffs in 18 direction.
Buitenveldertbaan – Not that often in use. Mainly if there are strong northwest winds. Mostly used for landings in 27 direction and for takeoffs in 09 direction.
Oostbaan – Normally only in use for the General Aviation planes. During periods with very strong winds or RWY closures it is also used by commercial traffic. Heavies like the Boeing 777 have been seen to land here!
Northern Winds Primary runways are 06 for arrivals and 36L for departures. During peak hours arrivals additionally on 36R and departures on 36C.
Southern Winds
Primary runways are 18R for arrivals and 24 for departures. During peak hours arrivals additionally on 18C and departures on 18L.

Spot #1 – Polderbaan – 18R arrivals
WHERE This spot is at the parallel road to the Schipholweg. There you can park your car at the side of the road. Walk up to the cyclepath along the road until you have a clear view of the planes.
WHAT You can get all traffic on arrival into Runway 18R.
TIME You can walk along the cyclepath and can spot here the whole day round.
MISC. There are no facilitys. The closest are at spot 3
FOCAL LENGTH 10-400 mm

Spot #2 – 36L Takeoffs / Landings 18R Morning
WHERE This spot is at the roundabout at the end of the IJweg. But it’s not allowed to park here. The police will be called as soon as a car parks here by an old lady that lives here. Parking costs are 60€ or more!!! Park like Spot 1 in the parallel road of the Schipholweg and walk up!
WHAT This spot is good for depatures on runway 36L and 18R aircrafts that reverse here.
TIME Light conditions in the summer are perfect from sunrise till ~13:00.
MISC. There is nothing
FOCAL LENGTH 40-200 mm

Spot #3 – Spotterplaats Polderbaan
WHERE On the other side of the Polderbaan there is the other side of the IJweg. At the end of the road is a carpark with the offical spotterplaats.
WHAT This spot is good for arrivals on runway 18R and departures on runway 36L. There is a cyclepath along the runway. Walk up or down for the angle you like.
TIME Light conditions in the summer are good from ~15:00 till sunset.
MISC. There are toilets, rubish bins and in the summer foodstores.
FOCAL LENGTH 40-250 mm

Spot #4 – 36L intersection line up
WHERE Follow the Vijfhuizerweg to the end and park your car at the side of the road before the roundabout.
WHAT This spot is good for aircrafts lining up the intersection for a 36L departure.
TIME Light conditions in the summer are good from 15:00 till sunset.
MISC. There is some shadow on the other side of the road. Bring the stuff with you!
FOCAL LENGTH 18-200 mm
Spot #5 – Taxiway V Afternoon
WHERE Park your car at the marked parking spot and walk up to the spot.
WHAT You can take pictures of all planes coming or going to the Polderbaan. There is a fence at this location, so you need a ladder here! 3-steps are sufficient for most people. The further you stand to the east, the closer you will be to the airplanes. The closest you can get is a crashgate (also marked on the map), where you can even shoot without a ladder. But you are extremely close here and particularly widebody aircraft will be heavily distorted.
TIME Good spot in the summer from ~13:00 until evening.
MISC. There are a few trees for some shade.
18 – 200 mm

Spot #6 – Taxiway V Morning / Heavy Departures RWY 36C
WHERE Park your car at the Hoodweg at the marked spot and walk up the farmtrack. You can also walk up the farmtrack a bit closer to the taxiway, but always mind other spotters behind you, who might prefer the marked track.
WHAT This place is good for all planes taxiing to and from the Polderbaan.
You can also shoot heavies departing out of RWY 36C in the evening from this location. Though they are a bit further away, heavies should be perfectly fine.
TIME For the taxiway V, light conditions in the summer are perfect from sunrise till ~10:00.
For 36C Departures, light conditions in the summer are perfect from  ~15:00 till sunset.
MISC. There is nothing else than the spot.
FOCAL LENGTH 100mm for a B772 and 150mm for a B738.
Spot #7 – 18C Evening Arrivals
WHERE Use the parking location for the morning side and walk to the spot from there. You can use the small hill leading up to the plastic wall of the highways as an elevation point. Do not go up to the ultimate top, as police do not like you standing so close to the highway.
WHAT This location is ideal for arrivals on RWY 18C in the evening.
TIME Light conditions in the summer are perfect from ~15:00 till sunset.
MISC. The is nothing else here.
FOCAL LENGTH 100mm for a B744 and 180mm for a B738
Spot #8 – Tweeduizend El Street 18C morning arrival
WHERE This spot is directly at the side of the Tweeduziend El Street on the side of of a farm track as marked on the map. Park your car on the paved area.
WHAT From this spot you can catch all 18C arrivals in the morning hours.
TIME Light conditions in the summer are good from sunrise till ~13:00
MISC. There is nothing at this spot.
FOCAL LENGTH 55-200 mm
Spot #9 – Taxiway Q
WHERE If you follow the Pelikaanweg you will see the Taxiway Q. Parking is rather difficult. There are some carparks, but it’s only allowed to park here for 15 or 30 minutes. It is advised to park at the designated carparks near the main terminals instead. It is a 15 minute walk from terminal 1.
WHAT This spot is good for all aircraft taxiing on the Taxiway Q. Stairs are helpful as the grass is sometimes too high.
TIME Light conditions are perfect from ~13:00 till late evening
MISC. There is nothing here.
FOCAL LENGTH 10-100 mm
Spot #10 – Observation Deck
WHERE Due to construction of a security area and the expantion of the KLM-lounge, the northern part of the observation deck is closed. Only the highlighted area is opened. The entrance for the observation deck is between departure hall 1 and 2, near the coffee corner.

Once arrived at the airport, just follow the signs to the observation deck (landside). There are two entrances to the deck, one is located close to the F Gates while the other one is close to the D Gates. There are no disturbing security checks, glass walls, fences etc. and the entrance is free of charge too! Monitors next to the entrance are displaying all arrivals and departures.

WHAT The panorama terrace is pretty huge and you can spot parts of the apron between the F and C gates as well as parts of the taxiway and runway system. Photography is only possible between C and D gates and between D and E gates. In the summer months there is a lot of heat haze and the APU’s of the aircrafts can cause distortions too.
TIME You can visit the terrace for the whole day. Opening times are:

  • 09:00 until 17:00 in the winter
  • 07:00 until 20:00 in the summer
MISC. Restrooms, supermarket and restaurants are inside the Terminal. Enough benches are on the terrace as well as a KLM Fokker 100 PH-OFE on display.
FOCAL LENGTH 70-400 mm (depends on what you are photographing)
Spot #11 – 06 arrivals evening and Cargo apron
WHERE This spot is at the end of the Toekanweg. Parking is not allowed here. At the weekend it shouldn’t be a problem if you only do a really short stop here to take your pictures.
WHAT Here you can photograph cargo aircrafts that park on the cargo apron and you have a limited view on runway 06 for about 2-3 shots at the touchdown zone.
TIME Light conditions in the summer are good from 14:00 for the apron and 18:00 on the runway till sunset.
MISC. You have nothing here.
FOCAL LENGTH 55-300 mm
Spot #12 – 06 Arrivals Morning
WHERE This spot is located at the corner of the Beechavenue. Parking is changed and is only possible near spot #13 or at the ‘Schiphol-Rijk’ area (Boeing Avenue). You can use spot #20 of #21 instead.
WHAT This place is good for aircraft arriving on runway 06 in the morning in the air on inbound. Touchdown shots are also possible here as seen in the examples below.
TIME Light conditions in the summer are good from 07:00 till ~15:30.
MISC. There are some stones next to the road to sit on.
FOCAL LENGTH 100mm for a B772 and 150mm for a B738.
Spot #13 – Aalsmeerderweg – 06 Arrivals / 24 Departures
WHERE This spot is located at the end of the Aalsmeerderweg. You can park your car at spot #13. However, this could be changed in the near future. Parking is furthermore possible at the ‘Schiphol-Rijk’ area (Boeing Avenue). You can use spot #20 of #21 instead.
WHAT This spot is good for 06 arrivals in the morning with some background. Here are stairs required to shoot over the fence. This spot is only good during the morning hours due to heat haze in the late morning. You can also shoot 22 Departures here during the day and heat haze does not become a problem with them as they are already high in the air. Even some smaller aircraft are still not too high here (as seen below), but they might be a bit too far away.
TIME Light conditions in the summer are good from 07:00 till ~15:30
MISC. There are some rubbish bins along the fence.
FOCAL LENGTH 150-400 mm

Spot #14 – Reykjavikweg – Arrivals 36R / Departures 18L
WHERE For this spot park your car on the site of the Reykjavikweg at the side of the road. But don’t block the truck trailers.
WHAT There you can take pictures of heavy loaded planes taking of 18L or arrivals on runway 36R. You can vary your location here based on your preferences.
TIME Light conditions in the summer are perfect from ~15:00 till sunset.
MISC. There is nothing here.
FOCAL LENGTH Around 90mm for a B744 and ~160mm for a B738.
 Spot #15 – Breguetlaan – 36R Arrivals Morning
WHERE Take the Fokkerweg to get here and exit at the Breguetlaan. Go straight around the right corner and you are there. You can park here and stay next to your car.
WHAT You can shoot the arrivals on RWY 36R here. You can vary your location here along the waterway. But beware that you will only see the planes early when standing in the northwestern corner. In the northeastern corner you have to listen, so that you don’t miss any arrivals. But a better angle and more shots with a little bit background might make up for that.
TIME Light conditions in the summer are perfect from sunrise till ~13:00
MISC. There are some rubbish bins along the fence
FOCAL LENGTH 70mm for a B772 and 120mm for an A320.

 Spot #16 – General Aviation Terminal
WHERE Park your car at the side Thermiekstraat on the limited time carpark (up to 90 minutes) here and walk up to the fence.
WHAT You can take pictures of planes parking on the General Aviation apron or the Martinair Cargo Maintenance. Stairs are required here. You can also take nightshots here on limited angles.
TIME Light conditions are good all day round, though more planes have good light in the morning hours.
MISC. There are some rubbish bins.
FOCAL LENGTH 15 – 400 mm
 Spot #17 – Loevesteinse Randweg – 27 Arrivals
WHERE For this spot park your car at the McDonald’s at spot 18 and walk up the Loevesteinse Randweg until you’re near the General Aviation buildings. Another option is to park in the Thermiekstraat, but there you are limited to 90 minutes of parking and fines are high if you exceed that limit.
WHAT Here you can take pictures of planes on arrival to 27. You can vary your location based on your preference regarding distance and angle.
TIME Light conditions in the summer are perfect from 10:00 till 17:00
MISC. Next facilities are at spot 18.
FOCAL LENGTH 100mm for a B773 and 200mm for an A320.
 Spot #18 – McDonald’s – 27 Arrivals / 09 Heavy Departures
WHERE This spot is located directly at the carpark of the McDonald’s at the side of the Loevesteinse Randweg.
WHAT Here you can take pictures of aircrafts arriving runway 27 in the early morning and late evening. Heavy departures using runway 09 are also possible.
TIME Light conditions are perfect from sunrise till 08:00 and 19:00 till sunset.
MISC. Toilets and food at the McDonald’s and also rubbish bins outside at the spot.
FOCAL LENGTH 70-200 mm

Spot #19 – Rijkerstreek – 06 Arrivals
WHERE This spot is located along the Rijkerstreek, near the busstop Rozenburg NH, Kruisweg/Rijkerstreek. Parking is not allowed at the McDonald’s Hoofddorp, so you have to park somewhere along the road ‘Hoeksteen’ (15 min walk).
WHAT Here you can take pictures of aircraft arriving runway 06 in the evening.
TIME Light conditions are perfect from 17:00 till sunset. Summertime spot only
MISC. Toilets and food at the McDonald’s in Hoofddorp (5min walk). The Rijkerstreek can be a bit busy during peak-hours.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-200 mm (TAP = 116mm, ABC = 62mm)
Spot #20 – Aalsmeerderweg – 06 Arrivals
WHERE This spot is located along the Aalsmeerderweg. From spot #12/13, drive towards the ‘Fokkerweg’, cross the ‘Kruisweg’ and follow the road (with some twists and turns), until you reached the spot. You can park the car on the small dead-end road.
WHAT Here you can take pictures of aircraft arriving runway 06. This spot gives you a clear view of the flight path. The disadvantage is that is’t relatively far off the flightpath. You can use spot #21 instead.
TIME Light conditions in the summer are good from 07:00 till ~15:30.
MISC. There is nothing here.
FOCAL LENGTH 200-300mm for A340/777. 350-400mm for 757/A320/737.

Spot #21 – 06 Arrivals
WHERE From spot #20, drive over the viaduct until you have reached a dead-end/small roundabout. Enter the road left from the white house (as shown underneath) and continue along buiding until you have reached some trees. Park your car along the road and walk towards the open field on the end of the trees. This spot is a great alternative for spot #12 and #13.
WHAT Here you can take pictures of aircraft arriving runway 06. There is some obstruction of lampposts of the ‘Kruisweg’, but thats only a problem in the afternoon.
TIME Light conditions in the summer are perfect from ~15:00 till sunset.
MISC. There is nothing here.
FOCAL LENGTH 70-100mm for A340/777. 120-150mm for 757/A320/737.

Spot #22 – Aalsmeerderdijk – Arrivals runway 36R
WHERE This spot is located on ‘Aalsmeerderdijk’. From spot #12/13, drive on the N201 and follow the signs for ‘Schiphol-Oost’. Take the first exit on the roundabout and immediately go left (‘Oude Meer’). Once up the ‘Aalsmeerderdijk’, go right and drive till the end.
WHAT Here you can take pictures of aircraft arriving runway 36R. Another benefit of this spot are the many ships and pleasure yacht passing though the canal (great if you are a ship spotter as well). Walk along the canal to vary the photoangles.
TIME Light conditions in the summer are good from 07:00 till ~12:30.
MISC. There is nothing here.
FOCAL LENGTH 70-100mm for A340/777. 120-150mm for 757/A320/737.

Spot #23 – Nieuwemeerdijk – Arrivals runway 27
WHERE This spot is located on ‘Nieuwemeerdijk’. It is close to the motorway A9 exit 6. You can park on both sides of the road.
WHAT Here you can take pictures of aircraft arriving on runway 27. The view is a bit limited, you cannot see the runway and the aircraft appear from behind the forest.
TIME Light conditions are good almost all day.
MISC. There is nothing here.
FOCAL LENGTH 90-110mm for 777/747. 170-190mm for 757/A320/737.

Spot #24 – Hoofddorp, De Hoek Boven – Arrivals runway 06
WHERE On the bridge above the Kruisweg you can relax on the bench of the bus station “Hoofddorp, De Hoek Boven”. Just don’t forget to stand up to take pictures… Parking is not allowed at the McDonald’s Hoofddorp, so you have to park somewhere along the road ‘Hoeksteen’ (5 min walk).
WHAT Pictures of all arrivals to 06 can be taken here.
TIME Perfect after 18:00 in summer.
MISC. McDonald’s is in walking distance. In case of a rain shower you can stand under the roof of the bus station.
FOCAL LENGTH 250 mm for 747 and 450 mm for A320.
Spot #25 – Parking P5/P41 – Lineups runway 18L
WHERE Follow sings towards P5 (staff only). Park your car on the left side of the road and walk along the bicyclepath towards the runway.
WHAT Almost all aircraft that depart from runway 18L will lineup here. There are some exceptions: some narrow-body aircraft tend to line-up “early”.
TIME  Light conditions in the summer are good from 07:00 till ~12:30.
MISC.  There is nothing here.
FOCAL LENGTH 90-110mm for 777/747. 170-190mm for 757/A320/737.

Don´t miss our newest guides!

53 thoughts on “Amsterdam Schiphol Spotting Guide

  1. Mac

    Can you advice me what płace will be easier to get in by public transport (from the airport or Amsterdam Centre or Amsterdam Sloderdijk).
    I am disabled – I move on a wheelchair, so I will get there without car and and I am looking for any spotting place with a good view and traffic, but without a high fence, ladder, etc.
    I think the most interesting is Polderbaan, but getting there by public transport and on a wheelchair would be very difficult for me, right?
    I will be grateful for any recommendations!

    1. BasBas Post author

      Hi Mac,

      Well the best option is possibly the Observation Deck (spot #10). That is the most convenient i think. You can also try taking the train to station ‘Halfweg-Zwanenburg’. If you cross the N200 road, you can take bus 161 to Boesingheliede. But it’s still a long way towards spot #1. Spot #2/#3/#4 are not easly reached by public transport.
      From Schiphol Plaza, spot #16/#17 (bus 191/193), #18 (bus 300), #19 (bus 300/310/365/370) and #24 (bus 181/190/197/199) are easy to reach by bus (subjected to change).
      Keep in mind the Kaagbaan will be out of operation untill may 28, see:

      I hope it helps. Good luck and have a great time at AMS.


      1. Mac

        Thank you so much Bas!!!
        Observation deck is already on my “must-see” list.

        In addition to spots mentioned by you, I consider also spot #9 Taxiway Q.
        What I have seen taxiway Q is 15 minutes “walk” on the wheelchair from the terminal, right? (and the best way is to leave terminal through train station?)

        Do you think is it good idea to get there (Taxiway Q) on the wheelchair without any problems and difficulties?

        1. BasBas Post author

          To walk from the terminal to spot #9 takes about 30-35 minutes. Take public transport instead: to spot #9 take bus 181, 190, 197, 199 from Schiphol Plaza to Schiphol P30. Get out on Uiverweg (it’s only 4 or 5 stops). Then it is only a 5 minute “walk” to taxiway Q. Take note that sidewalks and bicycle paths are only limited available, cause it is an industrial area. But it is not the busiest area, so you should be fine if you need to use the roadways. Just be careful though.

          Here is the route you can take: Route Schiphol Plaza -> Spot #9

  2. Philippe

    Friendly request for those that go by car … is it possible to add the exact street + town adresses for the spots ? We had a bit of difficulty finding them in a car-gps because it needed the town first .. so like “Oude Meer – Breguetlaan” for #15 etc etc.
    Other than that, great guide. It sure helps for a first time visit to this *huge* place.

    1. JulianJulian

      Hi Philippe, its pretty easy to find the GPS Coordinates and the complete address. Just open a new map on google and click with the right mouse button on the target and select “whats here”.
      Then all details you need are shown. Thats why we don´t add this to our guides.


  3. Piotr


    I am going to AMS end of May for spotting. Would anyone help me better understand the parking rules in the Netherlands? I’m interested mostly in vising both spots marked within this text as “1” Polderbaan (most northern location). As I am a little bit disabled in moving and will have to rent a car onsite, I’d like to avoid penalties for wrong parking.

    Is parking along the cyclepaths allowed? May it be every place of choice (as marked with a red arrow) or only a darker place (as marked with a blue arrow) – pls refer to the drawing:

    Many thanks for – really useful ;-).

    Best regards
    Piotr / Poland

  4. Alessandro

    I want to go to Spot 1 – Polderbaan – 18R arrivals. Is it ok to use either bus 186,193 or 199 to Schiphool Ost – then walk 5min to Schipholweg and from there walk to Polderbaan?
    How long does it take to walk from Schipholweg to Polderbaan?


    1. Bas VeldersBas Velders Post author

      Hi Alessandro,
      Spot 1 is rather difficult to get to.. I think the best way is to get from Schiphol Centrum to Hoofddorp Station by train (only one stop). Then take bus 161 to Zwanenburg (get out in Boesingheliede) and walk about 10 minutes to spot 1.
      The total trip will take about 45 minutes.
      I figured it out via Google Maps:

      Good luck!

  5. Arryo

    Oh My God!! It finally happens. What an experience, although that I had to walk almost 10 km in one day 🙂
    I managed to go to Polderbaan (both sides), Line Up 36R (Spot 25), McDonalds (was lucky, that 27 was used for couple hours).
    Thanks to all of you at!!

  6. William

    Hi SpotterGuide,

    I am from Singapore and will be heading to AMS for a couple days while I am visiting Amsterdam In May.
    Would a Canon 7D, 17-40 and 100-400 be sufficient for most of the usual locations? (Polderbaan, Taxiway Q etc).
    Or would you recommend that I carry an extra full frame body or a 24-70?

    Thank you.

    1. Bas VeldersBas Velders Post author

      Hi William,
      I can’t really advise you on what to bring, but a 100-400 will be enough for most spots. On most spots you can vary your distance between you and the aircraft a bit. But there are some spots where a smaller lens is recommended for the larger aircraft (for example: Spot #3, #9, #11, #15).
      Have a nice trip to The Netherlands 😉


  7. Jarno Moleveld

    I visit AMS on a yearly basis at least 3 to 6 times. I am from the Netherlands myself and travel by train. I have to warn everyone that the train system here can be rather horrible, the Schiphol Tunnel (the tunnel that leads to the underground train station) often is out of service for long periods of time. Which can ruin the rest of your day pretty much. So please do that this problem could occur. Also trains are often suddenly arriving on other tracks, late or completely cancelled all together.

    For spotting on the observation deck, since the wind is a high factor in the Netherlands I strongly advice you to make sure you have the proper clothing for the fall and winter periods. Rain clothing may proof handy from fall to spring, just have it with you to be sure. For winter I strongly urge you to make sure to dress warm, not for ice or snow. But mostly because of the wind that can get your body temperature down real fast.

    Currently the observation deck on one side is closed, this due to construction on that side. I asked today on Twitter how long they expect this to continue, but no date known nor a expected date. So please note that not the entire observation deck is available. I did hear from other spotters it may take to mid-2019 for it to be completed.
    If you choose to stand on the observation deck, the best spot for spotters is on the far right side once you enter the observation deck. It’s the best spot for most of the photo’s you can shoot there. This is the side where the Fokker is on it’s pedestal, you should be able to see the tower on the same side if you look over your shoulder.

    The Dutch spotters are friendly towards fellow spotters, so please don’t hesitate to ask questions. Most that stand there are actually there very often. They usually know what will land where and can tell you what you looking at. There are some with radio’s or other things to track aircraft.

    This is a airport where you can also see rare aircraft such as a DC-3 in retro colors, Dutch Royal aircraft is stationed here as well, Dutch Police has their helicopters stationed here, Dutch Coast guard has a hangar and of course a lot of business jets on the other side of the airport (500mm or better should be able to take those shots). You can also look straight into a hangar that is used as maintenance and repaint hangar (big KLM letters on it), this also means you can see rare aircraft appear that are just there to get repaired or repainted.

    Positive Sides:
    – You are allowed to take photo’s as long as you don’t aim that thing at passengers (privacy) or inside the halls. Meaning photo’s of any aircraft or ground vehicle is no problem at all.
    – Schiphol loves receiving spotters
    – Emirates A380 flight to Dubai (arrives around noon, leaves usually around 15:00 hours. That’s around 3 PM for Americans)
    – Often odd birds arriving on this airport, you may end up getting a good surprise from time to time!
    – In the weekend there are less interesting flights, but still you can visit the observation deck without any problem!

    Negative Sides:
    – Weather can be nasty up on the observation deck, proper clothing highly advised
    – Many spotters battle with the many poles around the airfield, a problem around for decades
    – Viewing aircraft is not really a problem, but actually managing to take your photo is a different thing. You pretty much only have 2 clean spots to shoot at if you want aircraft in your photo without poles or any other objects in your photo.

    Depending on point of view:
    – So many KLM jets everywhere all day round
    – Transavia and EasyJet are probably the number 2 and 3 if it comes to common jets.
    – Observation deck is rather limited in space, in summer it could get crowded
    – You can see the cargo terminal, but there is a fence and part of the roof you are standing on that obstructs your field of view. It could end up causing your photo’s to turn out bad.
    – Traveling by train could end up in disaster, make sure you know what’s going on before you travel by train!

    Do NOT:
    – Smoking of any kind. Even if this is a duh moment, I see a lot of people still ignoring the signs. It’s strictly forbidden to smoke in this area due to the vapors of the fuel, light up your cigarette on the wrong moment and you could end up causing a disaster.
    – Place your kids on the railing so they can see things better. It’s 3 stories high, when they fall it will be the end of that story and you will end up in jail for murder most likely.
    – Place your camera or anything else on the railing without your hand actually on the item. If it falls and ends up hitting someone below, you probably end up in court for that. Wouldn’t be smart.

  8. Arryo

    Friends, as one my bucket list is going to happen: travel to and do spotting at AMS!
    I am interested to go to Spot No.3
    Only a stupid question: is Uber the right choice to travel form Amsterdam Central to Spot 3?

    Jakarta Spotter

    1. Bas VeldersBas Velders Post author

      Hi Arryo,

      When are you planning to come to AMS?
      I don’t have any experience traveling with Uber, but a taxi will do the trick too (at least to get there), so why not Uber. The problem is to get back to the airport (I think).
      Spot 3 is only good in the late afternoon/evening, so you might also check other spots.
      Spot 12 & 13 are easy to reach by public transport and are great almost all day long.

      Good luck and have a nice trip to AMS.

      1. Arryo

        Hi Bas,

        Thanks so much for your reply. I will be in AMS on 16-18 March 2017.
        McDonalds and the Panorama were considered as well. The main reason I want to pick Spot 3, that I just wanted to do spotting as “official” as possible, at an “official publicly known” spots :).

        Regards from Jakarta

        1. Bas VeldersBas Velders Post author

          Well, aircraft spotting is a well-known hobby in the Netherlands, so even when there are only a few “official” spots, you can go to all the spots on the map without being bothered (if you don’t violate traffic regulations 😉 ). Especially in the weekends a lot of people visit spot 12/13 or others.


    2. Jarno Moleveld

      If I’m not mistaken, you should be able to travel by bus from Amsterdam Centraal Station, I however do not know the specifics about it. You may want to contact Connexxion who is the bus owner for that area.

  9. Guillermo

    Hi Friends! I am writting from Argentina. Thanks for this guide. I am going to go to AMS in October (4 to 9) and I want to sppotter in my last day there (9th Oct) In the afternoon which is frecuently Rwy in use? I´ll take my airplane at 9PM is recomended go to spootter at the Panorama for the distance betwen rwys? Thanks your your advices!! Regards from Argentina!!

    1. PatrickPatrick

      Dear Gulimero,

      that depends on the wind which runway is in use. 36R and 06 is in use for landing and 36C+L is in use when the wind is coming from the north. Otherwise it will be other way round. From the observation Deck you can take many planes from different angles, which are parking in front of it or taxiing past. The light will be good in the afternoon for that.


  10. Jeroen Pijper

    Are these focal lengts taken with a APS-C camera + a full frame lens. Or a full frame camera + full frame lens.

    1. JulianJulian

      From our FAQ:

      Focal Length: All our photographers using a DSLR with a APS-C sensor from Canon or Nikon (DX). The focal length in the guides is not similar to a full-frame DSLR!


  11. Jan-Hendrik Fiedler


    I’m spending at least one day in AMS in the next three weeks. I’ve read that the observation deck is closed right now, does anyone have an idea when it opens again?
    Anyway, I also want to spot at the Polderbaan (Spot 1&3) and on the Line-up for the Polderbaan, do you need a ladder for the Line-up? After or before, I’m not sure where to go first, I want to go to Taxiway Q and on the map I can see a carpark right next to the Pelikaanweg. Is this for employees working in the nearby cargo terminal (or whatever this is) or is this a public one? And if you can say me if I should spot at the Polderbaan or on Taxiway Q first, that would be really nice.


    1. Freek Blokzijl


      taxiway Q is obstructed by high fences, so you need a ladder there, whil the Polderbaan is free of fences. I prefer the Polderbaan therefore.
      The observationdesk is not closed, only the northernmost part of it, but it will re-open later this year. Most parts are still open!

  12. Yuri


    I am from Belgium and would like to take the train to Schiphol and spot on the panorama terrace. There are 2 types of planes I would really like to spot then: the 747 from KLM and an A380. Is this possible from the panorama terrace. And how about the ongoing construction works? WIll the terrace re-open in full or will it be smaller?

    1. Freek Blokzijl

      the terrace is still under construction but will re-open later this year. It will be a bit limited,but not that much. KLM 747 are good visible from the terrace, but the Emirates A380 is not!
      However,if runway 18L or 24 are in use for departures, all heavies are good visible with 200mm, while taking off or rolling towards the runway! In midsummer, you have to care for heathaze though.

  13. arturo real

    Good friends, I wonder what tracks or spotter area is better to take the pictures and I’ll go a few days to nerderland, morning and afternoon and if it’s good April ,, thank you very much

  14. Philips Dirk

    Goeiedag beste redactie,

    Welke spottingspunten AMS kan je het best bereiken via openbaarvervoer meerbepaald de autobus.



  15. john murdoch

    coming to schipol tomorrow Saturday for 3 days and was wondering if there was any airside tours to try and get the biz jet area of the airport and is the citizen m hotel any good for spotting.
    cheers john.

  16. molinari nabil

    Good evening

    I wanted to ask you if there’s a bus station near Polderbaan, or maybe a bus service closest to the 18R/36L runway, i don’t have a car or either a driver’s licence, I am from France and I plan to come this week end (Octobrer 9th to 12th) to Amsterdam. My first time spotting there



    1. JulianJulian


      I am sorry to tell you but the Polderbaan is not the best place to be reached by public transport. Maybe there is a bus stop in Boesingheliede to reach spot #1 for the RWY18 arrivals. The other locations are very far away from any town. The Aalsmeerbaan and Kaagbaan are better to be reach by bus so we recommend this locations for you as well as the terrace.


  17. Yazn

    hello, hope your well
    i was wandering how i would get from one spot for spotting to another if i was staying at the ibis hotel. Is there a free shuttle bus? and if so what are the routes ?
    much appreciate your help

    1. MarlinMarlin

      Hi Yazn!
      We’re doing good, thanks and you? As you stay in the northeast of Schiphol, Spot #17 and Spot #18 would be in easy walking distance. If you want to travel to different locations you must use public transport or taxi. There is a free shuttle bus from you IBIS hotel to Schiphol Airport between 5am to 1am, enabling you to get easy access to the observation deck inside the terminal building.
      Travelling to Polderbaan and Kaagbaan by PT is rather difficult and takes you about 40mins of walking. Spot 12 and 13 can also be easily reached by PT which will bring you there in about 30 mins.
      Hope that was helpful, Yazn.

      Have a great day

  18. Brian Kenney

    Hello Julian,

    I am flying from FCO-DUS at the end of September with a four hour layover at AMS. Will it be possible to go to the observation deck during this time? I am assuming I will have to go thru passport control after I land and before I take off? Any help you can give me would be great. Thanks.


    1. MarlinMarlin

      Hi Brian,

      the observation deck at Amsterdam is a public area, thus you are required to leave the security area through passport control and check-in again afterwards. If you don’t want to do that you can also take some pictures through the terminal windows, but some of them are tinted and covered by sun shields, depending on where you depart.

      Hope that was helpful and have a great trip anyway!

    1. JulianJulian

      Hi, I would use the free hotel shuttle bus to both spots. For 8 take the one to the Dorint Hotel, for 18 to the Ibis Hotel. From there you can walk to each spot. But keep in mind that there are not many A380 movements at AMS! There are only Emirates and China Southern using this type.


          1. JulianJulian

            Sorry but I have no idea about that one. May you just have a look at google maps to find a bus stop next to it.

  19. Patrick

    I will be visiting Amsterdam in early October.
    I want to use the Panoramic terrace for some spotting.
    My flight leaves very late in the evening from AMS to YYZ on KLM.
    After I check in, can I go to the terrace?
    If yes, how do I get there?

  20. Jørn Lundtoft

    Hello Chinaphong. If you don’t min living in private homes instead of in Hotels, I can recommend where you can search for lodging around Schiphol. A friend and I are going spotting in May and found a room close by to half of what we would have to pay in a hotel.
    Julian, do you know if the observation deck is still under construction and if it will be open when we get there in mid May?


    1. JulianJulian

      Hi Jørn, thanks for the info about which seems to become a useful and cheap alternative to the hotels.
      I don´t have any info about the observation deck and the only source I know is the official website.


  21. Chinaphong Kowong


    I am a spotter from Thailand. I plan to visit Schiphol during 21-22 March for spotting on Sunday. Can you recommend a suitable hotel in the area that is good for a spotter? Which of these listed locations have good light for this time of year and preferably with background ie. terminal etc.?

    Thank you.


    1. JulianJulian

      Hi Chinaphong, usually you find all the informations above in the guides. We don´t know where you plan to stay and with so many spots for AMS it would be helpful if you tell us where exactly you wanna stay and what infos you need.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *