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I took a train to Amsterdam before the Netherlands opened to Americans: Here's what it was like

June 25, 2021
6 min read
My train from Frankfurt to Amsterdam.
I took a train to Amsterdam before the Netherlands opened to Americans: Here's what it was like
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Europe is opening back up, and I was one of the first Americans to experience it. After an interesting journey to Frankfurt, Germany, I hopped on a train to explore what Amsterdam had to offer while we are still in the midst of the pandemic. The Netherlands officially opened on June 24, no test, vaccine or quarantine required for American travelers, but I was able to get in early on June 21 since I arrived after being cleared by Germany.

Here's what it was like.

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I booked an early morning ticket that left the Frankfurt Central Train Station at 5:29 a.m. and would arrive in Amsterdam at 9:28 a.m. While I knew it would be an early morning, my hotel (Le Méridien Parkhotel Frankfurt) was about a two- to three-minute walk to the train station, so it wasn't too horrible. I also wanted to arrive early because I wanted to get the most out of my day in Amsterdam. (I had to fly home the next day.)

I bought a croissant (OK, two croissants) at the train station for my journey and boarded my train. I went with a first-class booking because it was only a few euros more expensive than the second-class ticket. All in all, it came out to $161.61. Since it was last minute, it was pretty pricey.

My train ticket to Amsterdam. (Photo by Mimi Wright/The Points Guy)

My train car was beautiful and spotless. For the entire journey, there was only one other passenger with me in the car. I love train travel, so it was very peaceful and quiet during my ride to Amsterdam.

First-class train car to Amsterdam from Frankfurt. (Photo by Mimi Wright/The Points Guy)

I didn't know quite what to expect in terms of border control and COVID-19 restrictions, so I honestly hoped for the best. I was only asked once on the train by one of the train servicers what my purpose was for entering Amsterdam (I can speak German), and he wrote down a few things from my ticket. Otherwise, my ticket was scanned twice in the duration of my trip, and I was able to sleep some of the way. Masks were required for the entire journey.

Related: Europe reopening may come too late to save the summer for airlines and travelers

I arrived in a rainy Amsterdam right on time. I checked into my hotel (DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station), which was a close walk from the train station. The front desk had a warm cookie waiting for me, and my room was ready (presumably because there aren't many tourists at the moment). Everyone wore masks in the hotel. I dropped my things, rested for a little bit and then headed out to tour the town.

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Amsterdam was beautiful even in the rain. (Photo by Mimi Wright/The Points Guy)

I've been to Amsterdam only once before, but it was nice to be back. I met a friend there who was my German exchange partner in 2014. Luckily, she was also able to grab a last-minute train to Amsterdam from Kleve, Germany, to spend some time with me while I was in Europe.

We bought tickets to the Rijksmuseum ($47.71), and it was one of the most beautiful museums I've seen. It is full of Rembrandt and Monet and Van Gogh. What more could you ask for? Masks were required in the museum, which is something I am used to at this point.

La Corniche near Monaco, Claude Monet, 1884. (Photo by Mimi Wright/The Points Guy)

After spending some time in the museum, I ventured to a test clinic to get a rapid COVID-19 test so that I could re-enter the U.S. the following day. I had previously asked the front desk for a recommendation, and the one they recommended was a quick walk from the museum. The test was only $47.71, which is a lot less than the test I paid for to fly to Germany ($400).

It took a few tries to get my credit card to go through (I ended up having to pay for it on my phone instead of at the check-in desk), but after about 12 minutes, it worked. I was the only one in the test center, so the entire test took no more than about 10 minutes. I waited for the results while I was there and had a negative result in another 10 minutes. The woman who tested me also gave me a printout of my negative test result, which was great for when I arrived at the airport the next day to check-in for my flight.

The COVID-19 Test Center I visited in Amsterdam. (Photo by Mimi Wright/The Points Guy)

We spent the rest of the day walking around the city and enjoying the beautiful flower markets and canals. This time, it was shocking how quiet it was compared to my previous visit. It's one of the most stunning cities I've ever seen, and I will continue to go back there any chance that I get.

An outdoor flower stall in Amsterdam. (Photo by Mimi Wright/The Points Guy)

We ate a late lunch/early dinner outdoors at a nice little tapas restaurant and had a few drinks later that night at a bar. Masks were a little bit spotty at the bar, but as a fully vaccinated traveler, I wasn't concerned.

My negative test result from the clinic was accepted, and I was easily able to get through security and fly back to America the next day. It was a wonderful short adventure in Europe and the covid restrictions certainly were easier in Amsterdam than I expected.

Related: Europe reopening may come too late to save the summer for airlines and travelers

Featured image by My train from Frankfurt to Amsterdam. (Photo by Mimi Wright/The Points Guy).
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023