PostgreSQL Conference Europe 2011 will be held at the Casa 400 hotel in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The conference venue itself is held in a hotel, but accommodation in the hotel has now been fully booked. This is primarily due to there also being another large conference in the city at the same time.
It is recommended that those who haven't yet booked accommodation do so at their earliest convenience. We suggest trying booking.com and hotels.com for a hotel near to the Amsterdam Amstel train station, which is right near the conference, or any hotel near a subway station that has trains direct to Amsterdam Amstel. Staying at another hotel will not affect the price of attending the conference itself.
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There are excellent train connections between Schiphol Airport, the main airport in Amsterdam, and the city. The station is below the main hall of the airport, and trains to Amsterdam Central depart from platform 1 and 2. From Amsterdam Central, take the subway (any subway departing from the central station) to the 'Amsterdam Amstel' stop. From there, it's an 800 meter walk (see map above).
Taxes are high though, other airports that usually offer cheaper tickets from regional (European) departure cities include Eindhoven Airport, Maastricht-Aachen Airport, The Hague-Rotterdam Airport. Note that these alternatives are not as well connected to the Dutch railway network as Schiphol Airport.
Intercontinental travellers may prefer Zaventem (Brussels, Belgium) as an alternative. It also features a train station below the terminal building.
The nearest train station is Amsterdam Amstel, which is a minor transportation hub and also offers a subway stop and various tram and bus connections. Travellers arriving at Amsterdam Central can take any subway train departing from the Central Station.
Note that in The Netherlands there is no distinction between regional and national trains (such as Germany's S-bahn or Paris' RER). All trains are run by the Dutch railway company NS (except for some small lines serving remote corners of the country far far away from Amsterdam).
The Dutch railway operator NS offers an online travel planner to plan trips from any station in The Netherlands (and some international stations) to Amsterdam. The venue is located next to the Amsterdam Amstel train station.
Train tickets can be obtained at most stations from an automatic vending machine. The machines only accept cash or Maestro. Tickets are also available at larger stations from the service counter. Usually they will add a surcharge, but if you explain that the machines do not work for you they might waive this small surcharge. Also, please read the section below titled "tickets" for background information about the current situation regarding public transport tickets in The Netherlands.
From Belgium or France, the fastest way to travel to Amsterdam by train is the Thalys.
The fastest way to travel to Amsterdam by train from Germany is the ICE International, which is connected to the German hi-speed ICE rail-network. Direct connections include Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Koln and Basel.
An affordable alternative to the very expensive cabs in Amsterdam is public transport. The Amstel station is serviced by three out of the four subway lines as well as one tram-line. All subway trains servicing Amstel either originate or terminate at Amsterdam Central.
A system map can be found on the site of the GVB, the mass-transit company in Amsterdam. Subway lines 51 (Amsterdam South and Amstelveen), 53 and 54 (both to South-East Amsterdam) provide a transfer to line 50 (Amsterdam West). Tram line 12 serves the South-West corner of the city centre and terminates at train station Sloterdijk in Amsterdam West.
Most train, tram and subway services stop at around 1AM. A reduced night bus service is available during the night (known as 'nachtbus'). Several night-trains provide connections to the major Dutch cities Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam at half-hour or one-hour intervals. This service is known as 'nachtnet'.
The current advice is:
Do not let any transit personnel trick you into buying anything other than a GVB public transport card to get around in Amsterdam, unless you are prepared to research the current and ever-changing status of inter-compatibility of the various types of chip cards.
It is advisable to obtain a GVB public transport chipcard from the vending machines at the subway station or any of the sales points (Amsterdam Central Station, Bijlmer Station or Zuid Station). The machines offer 1-hour tickets, day tickets, and multiple-day tickets (up to a week). More information on current prices can be found the website of mass-transit company GVB.
When entering any vehicle servicing the GVB transit network, you are required to hold your chip card close to the reader inside the vehicle (check-in). Do not forget to do the same when disembarking (check-out). If you forget to check-out, all sorts of unpredictable behaviour (including automatic invalidation of your card or loss of funds) may occur due to the infancy of the chipcard system.