How Long Do I Need to Connect at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport?

by Sarah

If you’re planning a trip to Europe, there’s a decent chance you’ll connect in Amsterdam. Amsterdam’s Airport Schiphol (AMS) is Europe’s third-largest airport in terms of passengers served and the world’s fifth busiest airport in terms of international passengers

There are over 100 airlines at Schiphol carrying passengers to over 300 destinations.

As a luxury travel advisor, part of my job is to ensure my clients have all the details about their trip, from start to finish. This can include assuring my clients that they have the necessary time – often more than enough – to connect during a layover. Bob recently emailed me to ask about the logistics of AMS and if the layover he has is sufficient.

Arriving at and navigating Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is easy thanks to the well-lit signage around the terminal.

Arriving at and navigating Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is easy thanks to the well-lit signage around the terminal. Ivo Antonie de Rooij / Shutterstock.com

Question — Is Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Easy to Navigate With A Short Layover?

Dear Sarah,

My wife and I booked tickets to Vienna with Delta Air Lines and KLM. We have a 75 minute layover in Schiphol Airport coming in from Detroit. Is the airport easy to navigate? I know that’s a legal connection, but are we going to be running through the airport? 

Thanks, Bob

Answer — Yes, You Will Make Your Flight

Hi Bob, thanks for writing in! In one word, yes, you should have ample time to make your connection. You may not have enough time to sit and enjoy a coffee or a Heineken, but – barring a late arrival from Detroit – you won’t have to sprint through the airport.

Updated June 2020: Post-covid, you may find increased security and/or health checks. As of this writing, we do NOT know what this may look like but it is good to keep in mind that things will be changing. I will do my best to update this post as I hear more soon.

Schiphol is an easy airport to navigate. There is plenty of signage to point you to the plane and immigration is well staffed.

For an international to Schengen connection, 75 minutes is more than adequate. For a “domestic” Schengen to Schengen connection, or a straight international passage, 75 minutes is enough time to take a shower in the Crown Club.

Arriving Into Schiphol On An International Flight

The terminal at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is airy and bright thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows and an open design.

The terminal at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is airy and bright thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows and an open design. Z. Jacobs / Shutterstock.com

I have arrived in Schiphol on international flights from only two places: the U.S. and the U.K. Both times, I landed at an international gate and had to clear Schengen zone customs. As I noted already, there are signs everywhere directing passengers.

While Schengen isn’t as efficient as record holders like Zürich Kloten, Vienna, Austria or Munich, Germany (where it’s possible to clear immigration without even waiting in a line), the lines here move efficiently, much more so than in Paris or London’s major airports.

KLM has about 100 kiosks across the airport where passengers can check their updated flight information. All you do is scan your passport, boarding pass, or frequent flyer card. The kiosks also print new boarding passes for those who might have missed their flight, since KLM automatically re-books those passengers.

If you come from a non-Schengen country and connect to a Schengen zone flight, you do need to clear passport control into the Schengen zone. I’ve always had plenty of time, but I’ve seen others with less time get into a different line. Regardless, the line moves quickly.

Arriving Into Schiphol On A Schengen Flight

There is plenty of cafe space at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

There is plenty of cafe space at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Alexandre Rotenberg / Shutterstock.com

When you arrive into Schiphol on a Schengen area flight and connect to another Schengen area flight, you don’t need to do anything except find your way to your next gate. However, when you fly into Schiphol and connect to a non-Schengen flight (to go back to the US, say), you must once again clear passport control at a transfer point on your way into the international departures hall.

Navigating Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Amsterdam's airport is a single-terminal concept with three large departure halls, each with piers flanking off them.

Amsterdam’s airport is a single-terminal concept with three large departure halls, each with piers flanking off them. Aerovista Luchtfotografie / Shutterstock.com

Personally, I’ve always found Schiphol very easy to navigate. It’s a large, single-terminal airport with three main departure halls. The central hall inside security is a vast open space with dining and drinking establishments as well as some shops.

Departure Hall 1 and Departure Hall 2 are the two biggest departure halls, and handle the majority of the flights through Piers B, C, D and E. Departure Hall 3 has Piers F, G and H/M. Pier G is the only pier with gates large enough for the Airbus 380, which arrives daily from Dubai and seasonally from Beijing. Piers H and M operate independently of each other but handle budget airlines.

Departing From Schiphol Airport

Schiphol Airport has plenty of signage in both Dutch and English.

Schiphol Airport has plenty of signage in both Dutch and English. TasfotoNL / Shutterstock.com

Schiphol has numerous screens with arrival and departure information. These are found across all departure halls and piers. As with most other European airports, the gate “opens” (and is subsequently displayed on the monitor) 90 minutes prior to an intercontinental flight and 55 minutes prior to a European (Schengen and non-Schengen) flight. Boarding begins 45 minutes prior to departure for intercontinental flights and 30 minutes for all others.

Gate signage at Schiphol Airport is well-lit and easy to find.

Gate signage at Schiphol Airport is well-lit and easy to find. Leonid Velychkov / Shutterstock.com

If you’re flying KLM or a Skyteam alliance member, you should be able to check the status of your flight at one of the aforementioned kiosks in the departures hall.

Bob, I hope this answered your question of laying over at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. 75 minutes ought to be plenty of time to disembark your flight from Detroit, clear Schengen zone immigration, and find your connecting flight information. Enjoy Vienna!

*

Sarah is a luxury travel advisor and avid traveller. When she isn’t writing for Point Me To The Plane you can find her crafting custom itineraries for clients or exploring the far reaches of our wonderful planet. Read more about her adventures at The Girl With the Map Tattoo.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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50 comments

Kory July 23, 2018 - 5:35 pm

Definitely enough time. I’ve passed through AMS 25x over the last two years including a few 45-50 minute connection from Shegen to non-Shengen flights passing through customs. There’s a separate line as stated above for those with short connection times so you’ll be able to get through easily. The only thing to note is that some of the walks between gates can be incredibly long depending on which gate you arrive at and depart from so you might be sweating by the time you get to your gate, but they run a clean operation in AMS overall so you’ll be able to make short connections there.

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Sarah July 23, 2018 - 6:09 pm

Hi Kory — excellent point, thank you. Yes, the gates at AMS can be quite a distance apart. But you’re right – in general they do a really great job overall. I’ve been impressed every time I’ve gone through too.

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bob November 28, 2018 - 9:17 am

i have a flight from NYC – WAW, warsaw poland. layover in Amsterdamn…layover is 55 mins… think that enough time to connect to warsaw flight… no security check? how often is KLM late on arrival? unpredictable but at least the layover time and connect is .. thanks

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kathy armstrong May 31, 2019 - 6:15 pm

Arriving from Tampa to Amsterdam and connection to Endinbugh , what gate would that be and how much time will we have to get to our location in this airport?

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Katrina Lemley July 29, 2019 - 9:46 am

Flying from Paris-layover of 1:15 minutes in Amsterdam before flying on to Atlanta Ga. Enough time??

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Sarah July 29, 2019 - 2:20 pm

Hi Katrina, it should be enough time, barring delays out of Paris to Amsterdam. You will have to process through US-bound security checks as well as passport control but it typically moves fairly fast. Safe travels!

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jose August 7, 2019 - 4:10 pm

arriving from Mexico to AMS 95 mins in AMS before flying to Berlin with another airline, is it Enough time?

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Brian August 11, 2019 - 7:37 pm

Flying from Rome (FCO) to Atlanta (ATL) on KLM with an hour and half layover at AMS. Since I am arriving on a schengen flight but leaving on a non-schengan flight, will I have to collect my luggage and recheck it at AMS, or will it be automatically checked through to the next flight.

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Mame August 17, 2019 - 10:34 am

Am traveling from Ghana Accra transit at Amsterdam airport to Atlanta USA
How can l make it to departure or boarding gate

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Lisa Scrimger August 28, 2019 - 3:27 pm

I’m arriving from VCE on KLM and connecting to DTW on Delta. I only have a 55 minute layover. Should I be worried?

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Lisa November 20, 2019 - 3:03 pm

For anyone reading this, we made the connection with our 55 minute layover, with time to spare.

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Janette King August 30, 2019 - 9:50 am

I am arriving on a flight from Birmingham Uk and connecting on a flight to Athens, both with KLM, I have a 50 minute transfer time, I have noted the flight from Birmingham nearly alway arrives in and sometimes the Athens flight departs from D but occasionally departs from C….is 50 minutes enought time and do we have to go through passport control again. Thanks Jan

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Janette King August 30, 2019 - 1:16 pm

Travelling from Birmingham UK to Amsterdam then connecting flight Amsterdam to Athens….50 minute transfer time…will that be enough or is there a chance we will miss connecting flight, plus do we have to go through customs and passport control..worried!

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Jason August 31, 2019 - 3:08 pm

I have heard that there are remote “G gates” where you are bused from the plane to the terminal, and I suppose that would add some time. How much time does that add? Is 90 minutes comfortable enough for Schengen to non-Schengen if you arrive at a remote gate?

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Anthony September 17, 2019 - 5:43 pm

I am arriving in Amsterdam from Copenhagen on SAS Flight SK2551 at 9:45am. I have a flight out to Singapore on SQ 323 at 11:15am. Will there be enough time? Or will I find myself rushing for the next flight? Any other details will be a big help.

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Ubepine November 18, 2019 - 4:20 am

Hi Sarah, my daughter will be traveling home to Jakarta on Dec from London with British Airways. Transfer to Garuda Indonesia at Schiphol. Transit time 1 hr 50 min. Do you think she will have enough time considering:
1. Collecting Luggage from BA and re check in to GA
2. And do you think she need to go through immigration and security in that case she will need a transit visa?

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kubz November 24, 2019 - 8:29 pm

If her tickets are separate bookings, then she has to collect luggage and re-checkin, else it will automatically transferred to Jakarta flight. And she wont go through any immigration at schipol since the UK flight will land into the international connecting zone. (Her passport control will be in UK and immigration at exit in Jakarta)

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Karen December 9, 2019 - 8:40 am

I am flying from Boston to Amsterdam on a Delta flight and connecting on a KLM flight to Basel. My layover is 2 hrs. I’ll be picking up my luggage from Delta proceeding through Amsterdam Customs, then check into KLM my next flight to Basel. Will I have enough time with this 2 hr. layover to catch my next flight not knowing this airport?

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Pam January 3, 2020 - 5:21 am

I’m arriving from Manchester England on DL 9504 at 11.30am and departing to Calgary Canada on DL 9397 giving me a 55 minutes to change plane. Is this enough time? I’ve never travelled through Schiphol Airport before and am slightly panicky that I won’t have enough time. What do you think? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Dharam January 18, 2020 - 6:20 pm

I am Canadian permanent resident and my wife holds an immigrant visa for Canada. We need to change gates from F9 to E18. Do I need transit Visa.

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Sarah January 19, 2020 - 11:14 am

Hi Dharam, unfortunately I can’t comment on that as I’m unfamiliar with Schengen rules for Canadian permanent residents and immigrant visas. You would be best to contact your home government embassy to find out. Make sure you tell them where you are flying from and connecting to. Safe travels!

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Charlie May 8, 2020 - 5:37 pm

Hi, I’m flying from JFK on Delta connecting at AMS for a KLM flight to Budapest. Do I have to claim my checked bags and re-check them at AMS, or will be bags be transferred to my next flight since Delta and KLM are partners?

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Sarah June 18, 2020 - 10:58 am

nope! bags are checked through and transferred. If you have a connection at JFK on the return you will have to get them in the US and recheck them to your final destination.

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John February 1, 2020 - 1:19 pm

Flying from U.S. to Zurich through AMS. Have 80 minutes between connected flights. I have SkyPriority, will that help us with connection speeds at AMS?

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Sue February 16, 2020 - 10:27 am

We are flying from London Heathrow to Amsterdam with a 50 min stop over and then on to Ecuador. 50 Mins does not sound a lot of time. Flying both legs with KLM so luggage should go straight through
Is this long enough?

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Amanda February 23, 2020 - 12:51 am

Thank you for theinformative article. What about flying from non- schengen to non-schengen iin an hour? Morocco to U.S. with stop in amsterdam?

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Amanda February 25, 2020 - 12:28 pm

Thanks for your article! It says ” If you come from a non-Schengen country and connect to a Schengen zone flight, you do need to clear customs and immigration into the Schengen zone. I’ve always had plenty of time, but I’ve seen others with less time get into a different line. ” What if you’re going from a non-Schengen country to a non-Schengen country, but stopping in Amsterdam? Will I have to go through immigration and/or customs?? (I’m flying from Morocco to US, stoppng in Amsterdam)

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Sarah June 18, 2020 - 10:56 am

Hi Amanda, non-Schengen to non-Schengen stay in the same area so no need to clear any passport control. And I have done it in an hour but you really do need to go direct to the US-bound gate for the US clearance checks. They start it about an hour before the flight. There isn’t much time for coffee/restroom. And now with covid, who knows what the checks will end up being like.

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Kriti March 4, 2020 - 3:40 am

Arriving from mumbai to Schiphol Airprt..Delta Airlines..connecting flight to Seattle. Same Airlines. Is 1 hour 40 min lay over enough? Do I need to clear Customs?

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Sarah June 18, 2020 - 10:57 am

no need to clear passport control, and you ought to have enough time. Post-covid though, who knows what this will look like.

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Dan Quick June 7, 2020 - 3:44 pm

Flying in From Minneapolis on Delta with a 45 min lay over to catch a KLM to Bergen to hook up with our Viking Cruise out of Bergen the age old question will we make the flight?

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Sarah June 18, 2020 - 10:59 am

45 min is tight, and post-covid I don’t know what this will end up looking like. Did Viking book the flight? I would see if they can change that for you.

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Amy June 25, 2020 - 5:32 am

Flying from Boston to Schipol Airport onto Seville, Spain. Due to Covid will I have any issues? Will I need to go through Passport Control? Will I get sent back because of Covid? Are they strict? My fiancé who I haven’t seen is sick. I will be there for 2 weeks and got tested and cleared from Covid etc. not sure if I need to postpone after the 7/1 date if they will allow Americans in. Please help!

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Amy June 25, 2020 - 5:34 am

Btw this is delta flight onto transvania for seville?

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David Fernandez Fanego June 23, 2020 - 11:14 am

Sarah, Great post, very helpful thanks !!!

I understand by comments above, than coming and going to a non Schengen visa there is no need to pass trough customs as I would remain in “international connecting zone”.
But, what about luggage? I have to collect it to check i again for next international flight. Is the luggage collected in the same area without the need of passing trough immigration first?

Thanks again !!!!!

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Sarah June 24, 2020 - 11:54 am

Hi David, thanks!

If you are on two completely different tickets (ie you booked London to Amsterdam with KLM and then Amsterdam to Istanbul with Wizz Air or something) then you will have to go thru customs and immigration as if you are arriving into the country, then go and check in at the desk in the departures are for the other flight.

If you booked London to Istanbul with KLM and a *connection* in Amsterdam, then you do not have to collect luggage. Hope that helps!

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David June 23, 2020 - 11:15 am

Sarah, Great post, very helpful thanks !!!

I understand by comments above, than coming and going to a non Schengen visa there is no need to pass trough customs as I would remain in “international connecting zone”.
But, what about luggage? I have to collect it to check i again for next international flight. Is the luggage collected in the same area without the need of passing trough immigration first?

Thanks again !!!!!

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fadi June 24, 2020 - 9:35 pm

hello Sarah,
I need your help. Im traveling from Mexico to Amsterdam by KLM then Amsterdam to Istanbul by Turkish Airlines without luggage , i have to go through immigration and check in with turkish airlines or can i check in at the gate?

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Sarah June 25, 2020 - 6:52 am

Hi Fadi, are the tickets together? As in, you purchased Mexico to Istanbul as one ticket but you are flying two airlines? Or did you buy MEX-AMS and AMS-IST as two entirely separate tickets? If it is one ticket you just go to the other gate; if it is two tickets you will probably have to process customs and immigration as an incoming arrival and recheck in at the gate. I am not 100% positive if anything has changed during the pandemic so you might want to call KLM and ask them.

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fadi June 25, 2020 - 7:06 am

Thank you so so much dear Sarah for your help .

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Amy June 25, 2020 - 5:57 am

Hi Sarah,
I am not sure how this comment section works so please forgive me if I am writing this again. I will be traveling Delta From Boston to Amsterdam Then onto transvania airline to Seville. Will I need to go through passport control to get on the transfer? Not sure if they will send me back being us is still restricted. My fiancé who is military in Spain is sick. I got tested for Covid and antibodies and will bring documentation. I have hoping to show documents where I will be starting for 2 weeks at his home. His military information. Will I he sent back? Not sure how strict they are with Covid.

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Sarah June 25, 2020 - 6:58 am

Hi Amy, sorry your fiance is sick! I honestly don’t know — technically no one but Spanish residents/nationals and others within the EU are allowed to enter Spain according to the IATA website. I strongly suggest contacting the US Embassy in Spain and finding out if you’ll be allowed in.

As for the connection you will process passport control in Amsterdam but won’t have to get your bags.

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Karen June 27, 2020 - 3:13 pm

Hello Sarah,
Hopefully we will be flying in late September on a Delta ticket. Cincinnati (CVG) to Detroit (DTW) to Amsterdam (AMS) to Oslo (OSL). We’ll be Delta for the first two legs then KLM for the last leg. Looking to schedule the flights but wondering how much time to allow in Amsterdam? We’re not fast walkers anymore. What are all the things we much do upon arrival in AMS before departing to OSL?

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Sarah June 29, 2020 - 11:23 am

Hi Karen, first… make sure the ticket is refundable, or be okay with taking a travel credit if you have to cancel. I don’t know what travel to Europe will be like in September. But – to answer your question, when you arrive in Amsterdam you will process their passport control into the Schengen area part of the airport. It’s not a long process but sometimes the line is long though it usually moves quickly. If you DO travel in Sept you will probably want some extra time in case of any health checks (which I have NO idea about). Once you go through this checkpoint you just go on to your gate. No luggage pick up. It’s doable in an hour but you could schedule more time, if a second flight is available. Hope that helps you, safe travels!

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Shahab August 5, 2020 - 1:53 pm

Hi,

I am traveling from Cancun to Detroid to Amsterdam and final destination Kiev, I know I will do customs in Detroid but do I also have to do customs in Amsterdam even tho I am transiting to Kiev? My transit time is 1h20 min. Thanks.

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Joe August 8, 2020 - 5:14 pm

Hi Sarah,
Im flying from Olbia Italy (with Transavia airlines) to Vancouver Canada through Schiphol airport (with Delta/KLM airlines.) They give me 1hr. 5 mins. Is this enough time to connect? Do I have to go through security and passport control? Thanks in advance.

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Sarah August 17, 2020 - 3:48 pm

Hi Joe, it should be enough time if its all one ticket (one record locator). You’ll have to clear passport control into the non-Schengen terminal area but its usually pretty quick. I don’t know if there are covid checks in place, especially for CA bound flights so you might check with Delta/KLM. Safe travels!

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may neilson August 14, 2020 - 8:53 am

flying from Heathrow to schipol to transition to Bergen will hold luggage transfer & any quarantine restrictions on entering BergenBergen

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Sarah August 17, 2020 - 3:46 pm

Checked baggage ought to transfer, as long as it is all one ticket (ie not two record locators). As to entry requirements, you are best checking the Norwegian embassy pages or tourism board for the most up to date – things are changing so rapidly and I don’t want to give the wrong info. Safe travels!

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moshe mendelson September 30, 2020 - 10:32 pm

I am flying from US to Singapore via Schipol Amsterdam. I have a 40 minute time to make the connection in Amsterdam. Will I have to go through passport control?

Reply

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