Amsterdam Metro

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Amsterdam Metro
Amsterdam metro.svg
Amsterdam metro LHB.JPG
A metro train at Weesperplein.
Owner City of Amsterdam
Locale Amsterdam, Amstelveen,
Diemen, Ouder-Amstel
Transit type Rapid transit and light rail
Number of lines 4 lines (1 under construction)
Number of stations 52 (total)[1]
33 (metro only stations)[2]
Began operation 1977
Operator(s) Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf (GVB)
Number of vehicles 111[3]
System length 42.5 km (26.4 mi) (total)[citation needed]
31.4 km (19.5 mi) (metro only portions)[1]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
(standard gauge)
Top speed 70 km/h (43 mph)

The Amsterdam Metro is a mixed rapid transit and light rail system in Amsterdam, and its surrounding municipalities Amstelveen, Diemen, and Ouder-Amstel in the Netherlands. The network is owned by the city of Amsterdam and operated by the Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf, the company that also operates trams, ferries and local buses.

There are four lines in the metro system, which run on 120 kilometres (75 mi) of track, and serve 52 stations.[1] Three lines start at Amsterdam Centraal, of which line 53 and 54 connect the city centre to Diemen, Duivendrecht, and Amsterdam Zuidoost in the southeast, and line 51 connects the city centre to Amstelveen in the south. The Ring Line, line 50, connects Amsterdam Zuidoost to the west without crossing the centre of the city.



Amsterdam decided on the construction of a metro system in 1968. Four lines were to be built, connecting the entire city and replacing many of the existing tram lines. The following lines were planned:

  • An east-west line from southeast to Osdorp via Amsterdam Centraal;
  • A ring line of the western harbor area to Diemen;
  • A north-south line through the north of Amsterdam Centraal to Weteringplantsoen with two branches at both ends;
  • Half east-west line from Geuzenveld to Gaasperplas.

The expectation had been that the metro would be completed around the end of the 1990s.

Wall decorations remembering the demolition in the Nieuwmarkt neighbourhood and the resistance against it

In 1970, the construction of the Oost Line was started and it came into operation in 1977. This eastern line consists of two branches, the Gein Line and Gaasperplas Line running line 54 and 53 respectively, to link the city centre with housing developments in the south-east. During the construction, plans to demolish the entire Jewish neighbourhood near the Nieuwmarkt led to strong protests. The metro was still built (wall decorations at the Nieuwmarkt station are dedicated to the protests), but plans to build a highway through the neighbourhood in the centre of Amsterdam were abolished. The line had to be finished by the national government. Due to the protests, the planned East-West line was cancelled. At that time however one of the stations that had to connect this line with lines 53 and 54 had already been built underneath Weesperplein station. Because of this the lower level of Weesperplein station was never opened to the public. (Evidence of this lower level however can still be found, for example in the lift buttons.) Since the metro lines, including Weesperplein station, were planned and built during the Cold War, there is also a third section of Weesperplein station: a bomb shelter, which has never been used as such.

In 1990 the Amstelveen Line, line 51, was opened partially sharing track with the previous metro lines, and new track with the extended tram line 5 to Amstelveen. This is referred to as a 'Sneltram' (fast tram), and was constructed to light rail standards. The changeover between third rail and overhead power takes place at Zuid.

In 1997 the Ring Line (line 50) was added to the system, providing a fast connection between the south and the west, eliminating the necessity of travelling through the city centre.

Construction of the Noord/Zuid line in Amsterdam North
Map showing possible expansions for 2020


In 2002 the construction of the Noord/Zuid Line was started. The new metro line will be the first to go from the northern Amsterdam district, underneath the IJ. From there, it will run, via Amsterdam Centraal to Amsterdam Zuid, which is planned to replace Amsterdam Centraal as the city's main transport hub.[4] The line includes a mixture of bored tunnel and immersed tunnel under the river IJ.[5]

The programme has experienced several difficulties, mainly at Amsterdam Centraal, resulting in the project running more than 40% over budget and the opening being delayed several times. The project initially had a budget of €1.46 billion, but after several setbacks the total cost estimation has been adjusted to €3.1 billion (price level 2009). The original planned opening was for 2011 but as of June 2014 completion is scheduled for 2017.[6]

The Noord/Zuid Line might be extended to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the future.[4]

The tram line to IJburg in the east was originally planned to be a metro line, and a short tunnel was constructed eastwards from Centraal Station underneath the railway lines towards this goal. As this line was eventually constructed as a tram line, the tunnel had been abandoned, and there are plans to use it as part of a chocolate museum.[7] There are still plans for the tram to IJburg to be upgraded to metro and connect to the nearby city of Almere, where some big new residential areas are being built.[8]


Currently there are four metro lines in Amsterdam: the Gein Line and Gaasperplas Line (together Oost Line), and the Amstelveen Line and the Ring Line (Circle Line, though not a complete circle). A fifth line, the Noord/Zuid Line, is under construction. There are 33 full metro stations,[2] and 19 express tram stops on the route of Line 51,[2] for a total of 52 stations in the network.[1] When the Noord/Zuid Line opens, six additional stations will be added to the metro network.

Line Name Colour From/To Opening Length Stations Passengers (2009) Type
50 Ring Line Green Gvba50.svg Isolatorweg – Gein 1997 20.1 km (12.5 mi)[1] 20 100,200 Metro
51 Amstelveen Line Orange Gvba51.svg Westwijk – Amsterdam Centraal 1990 29 60,800 Light rail
52 Noord/Zuid Line Blue Gvba52.svg Noord - Amsterdam Zuid 2017 (projected) 9.7 km (6.0 mi) 8 (under construction) Metro
53 Gaasperplas Line Red Gvba53.svg Gaasperplas – Amsterdam Centraal 1977 11.3 km (7.0 mi)[1] 14 60,600 Metro
54 Gein Line Yellow Gvba54.svg Gein – Amsterdam Centraal 1977 15 73,500 Metro
Scale map of current Amsterdam Metro lines.


From October 14, 1977, the first metro line ran from Weesperplein to Amsterdam-Zuidoost, with two branches respectively going to Gaasperplas (now Line 53) and Holendrecht (now Line 54). Spaklerweg station was completed as a shell, but opened later.

From October 11, 1980, both lines were lengthened to Amsterdam Centraal Station, their northern terminus.

The extension of the Gein Line opened on August 27, 1982, with the finishing of the section between Holendrecht and Gein. Spaklerweg station was then opened. In some plans for the Gein Line, an extension to Weesp and Almere was being considered. However, according to the last Metro Network Study, that now seems unlikely.


Following the Nieuwmarkt Riots in 1975, the next expansion of the metro was as a fast tram connection rather than a full metro. On December 1, 1990 line 51 from Spaklerweg to Poortwachter opened. On September 13, 2004, an extension to Amstelveen Westwijk was completed.

From Amsterdam Centraal Station to Amsterdam Zuid Station, Line 51 is a full metro line and has no at-grade intersections. The trams on the line are powered from a third rail with the line being suitable for 3 meter (10 ft) wide trams. The fast trams have a width of 2.65 meters (8 ft 6in) wide and serve these stations with footboards at the doors of the rolling stock.

From Amsterdam Zuid Railway Station to Amstelveen, the line operates as a tram service. Only small-profile trams can be used and the power comes from overhead lines. On the northern half of this line, another tram line 5 also provides a service.

After the completion of the Noord/Zuid Line in 2017 there will be no more room at Amsterdam Zuid for Line 51 trams so the trams will not be able to use that station. There are several plans for alternative routes but none have been chosen yet.[9]


Rolling stock[edit]

There are 106 train sets used on the Amsterdam Metro. Those of type M1-M3 (now being replaced by type M5) are two cars sets of 4-axle cars and are used on routes 53 and 54. The rest of the fleet consists of two section, 6-axle units.

Types S1-S2 run on route 51. Both are third rail shoe and pantograph equipped. In addition, they are equipped with moveable side boards to accommodate operation on the main metro and the route 51 tram section.

Type M4, built by Spain's CAF, are only third rail equipped and operate on route 50. The platforms on that route are narrower than those on routes 53 and 54. Consequently, the M4s have foot boards to permit boarding on the section that line 50 shares with line 53.

Type S3 is the same as M4 but also equipped with pantographs. These supplement the S1s and S2s on route 51.

Vehicle Type Description[3]
LHB Metro van Amsterdam.jpg Series M1, M2 and M3
Full metro units for operation on lines 50 (mostly m4/S4), 53 and 54

Built by LHB (44 units total)
Cars per unit: 2
Length: 37.5 m
Width: 3.0 m
Weight (fully loaded): 54.0 tonnes (75.0 tonnes)
Maximum speed: 70 km/h
Power: 4 x 195 kW
DC power supply: 750 volts
Amsterdam sneltram.JPG Series S1 and S2
Hybrid metro/tram units for operation on line 51

Built by BN (25 units total)
Cars per unit: 2
Length: 30.6 m
Width: 2.65 m
Weight (fully loaded): 48.5 tonnes (72.0 tonnes)
Maximum speed: 70 km/h
Power: 6 x 77 kW
DC power supply: 600/750 volts
CAFmetro 75b.JPG Series M4 and S3, S4
Light metro units for operation on lines 50 and 51, sometimes operates on line 53

Built by CAF (33 M4 units, 4 S3 units)
Cars per unit: 2
Length: 30.9 m
Width: 2.7 m
Weight (fully loaded): 48.0 tonnes (72.0 tonnes)
Maximum speed: 70 km/h
Power: 6 x 70 kW
DC power supply: 750 volts
Metro Amsterdam M5 Kraaiennest.jpg Series M5
Full metro units for lines 50, 52, 53 and 54

Built by Alstom (28 units total)
Cars per unit: 6
Length: 116.2 m
Width: 3.0 m
Weight: 190 tonnes
Maximum speed: 90 km/h
Power: 16x200 kW
DC power supply: 750 volts
Ticket gates for the OV-chipkaart at Venserpolder metro station


The metro system uses standard gauge track, operating on 750 V DC third rail. Line 51 is a hybrid between metro and light rail, as it uses shared metro track between Amsterdam Centraal and Zuid, and shared tram track between Zuid and Amstelveen Centrum, continuing with the tram-style overhead at 600 V DC to Westwijk. Dual height platforms are provided at the overlapping stops for metro line 51 and tram line 5 vehicles.

Ticket system[edit]

The OV-chipkaart, a contactless smart card, is the only valid form of ticket on the metro system.[10] It replaced the so-called strippenkaart system on August 27, 2009, after the two systems had run parallel since 2006. Ticket gates have been installed in all enclosed stations, with standalone check-in/check-out machines where platforms are shared with train or tram lines.

Graphic design[edit]

The sign of the stop Diemen-Zuid with the M.O.L. typeface

For the signs of the Amsterdam Metro there are multiple designs in use stemming from different eras. The original 1974 signage uses the typeface M.O.L., which was specially designed for the signs by Gerard Unger and is still in use on some stations. The spaces within the letters are larger than normal, in order to improve the letters' legibility when they are illuminated. The name M.O.L. refers to the Dutch word mol which means mole in English. There were plans to use a mole as the mascot for the metro, but this was stopped by city authorities.[11] Other designs include the 1995 version found mainly on metro line 50 and the 2009 version which replaced most of the signs on the other three lines. Both are designed by Mijksenaar.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Network". GVB. Retrieved 2014-04-26. 
  2. ^ a b c "Maps - Metro stations overview". GVB. Retrieved 2014-04-27. 
  3. ^ a b "Metro numbers". GVB. Retrieved 2014-04-27. 
  4. ^ a b "Zuidas Visie" (PDF). 
  5. ^ "Last section of Noord/Zuidlijn nears completion". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 2012-09-24. 
  6. ^ "Planning & Kosten". Noord/Zuidlijn (in Dutch). Gemeente Amsterdam [City of Amsterdam]. Retrieved 2014-06-09. 
  7. ^ "The biggest useless works of Amsterdam". Retrieved 2014-06-09. 
  8. ^ "A Metro from Amsterdam to Almere (pdf)". Retrieved 2014-06-09. 
  9. ^ "Amstelveenlijn". Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  10. ^ "OV-Chip card in Amsterdam". Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Unger, Gerard. "M.O.L. (1974)". Archived from the original on 10 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 

External links[edit]