On Monday, 24 and Tuesday, 25 March 2014, the Netherlands will welcome a total of 58 world leaders, 5,000 delegation members and 3,000 journalists during the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) 2014 in The Hague. The NSS is the largest summit ever organised in the Netherlands. A series of security and traffic-control measures are essential to the success of the event. Inconvenience caused to the public will naturally be kept to an absolute minimum. However, road users travelling between Amsterdam, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, The Hague and Rotterdam should expect to encounter severe traffic disruption.
As well as his role at the NSS, Barack Obama, the President of the United States of America, will visit Amsterdam. On Monday, 24 March he will meet with Prime Minister Rutte in the city, with Mayor Van der Laan also joining. This visit is likely to have an impact on accessibility in parts of Amsterdam. The website www.amsterdam.nl will publish more details about President Obama’s visit and any possible disruptions for the surrounding area nearer the time.
Besides the visit of President Obama, Amsterdam is hosting two side events, various international delegations will be staying at hotels in the city and there is the possibility of demonstrations. Such factors may also result in disruption. The City of Amsterdam is involved in extensive preparations and will take all necessary steps to ensure that the summit passes in a safe and dignified manner without incident.
Amsterdam is keen to ensure that daily life in the city suffers as little interruption as possible. However, it is unavoidable that Amsterdammers will at least experience severe traffic disruption in the Randstad on Monday morning (24 March) and Tuesday evening (25 March). The (temporary) closure of motorway lanes will result in lengthy tailbacks and potentially a ‘double rush hour’. The underlying road network, including that of Amsterdam, is also likely to reach capacity during these periods.
The City of Amsterdam has issued the following recommendations to travellers during the NSS:
- Avoid using the motorways linking Amsterdam, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and The Hague on Monday, 24 and Tuesday, 25 March unless absolutely necessary. Working from home or elsewhere is advisable wherever possible.
If your trip to The Hague, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and the surrounding area is unavoidable, travel outside of rush hour wherever possible.
- Additional trains will be scheduled to accommodate people who need to travel towards The Hague during rush hour. On Monday, 24 and Tuesday, 25 March, Dutch Railways (NS) will schedule longer trains on routes between Amsterdam, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Leiden and The Hague. Nevertheless, travellers are advised to expect public transport services to be considerably busier than normal. Check the website www.ns.nl for the latest travel information.
- The most significant problems with accessing Amsterdam Airport Schiphol by car are expected on Monday morning (24 March) and Tuesday afternoon (25 March). It is recommended that people travelling to the airport use the train wherever possible.
- People travelling by car during the rush hour should be prepared for severe tailbacks and longer journey times. It’s important that travellers are fully prepared. Check the Van A naar Beter website (Dutch) before leaving home, stay up to date on the latest traffic information and follow diversions indicated on road signs.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has been designated as the ‘receiving airport’ for the Heads of State and governmental leaders visiting the NSS. As a result of this, and in combination with major maintenance, the airport runway titled the ‘Polderbaan’ will be out of operation from 10 March to 21 April. This means that the airport’s other runways will be utilised more heavily by air traffic, potentially resulting in additional nuisance in the vicinity of Schiphol. This can impact upon all residents of Amsterdam, but those living in the districts of Zuid, Zuidoost and Nieuw-West may find that air traffic is more noticeable than usual. For more information or if you have further questions about air traffic during this period, you can contact the specialist organisation Bewonersaanspreekpunt Schiphol (Tel: 020-601 5555).
The NSS programme is subject to change and, as such, revisions may be made that cause increased inconvenience for Amsterdammers. The online channels www.amsterdam.nl and www.iamsterdam.com will be used to relay important information affecting residents of Amsterdam.