Trams in Amsterdam

The Amsterdam Tram (Dutch: Amsterdamse tram) is a tram network in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It dates back to 1875 and has been operated by municipal public transport operator Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf (GVB) since 1943, which also runs the Amsterdam Metro and the city bus and ferry services. The Amsterdam Tram is the largest tram network in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe.

Amsterdam Tram
Combino tram in the Plantage neighbourhood, in front of the Wertheimpark
LocaleAmsterdam, Netherlands
Electric tram era: since 1900 (1900)
Status Operational
Routes 15[1]
Operator(s) Gemeentetram Amsterdam (GTA) (1900–1942)
Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf (GVB) (since 1943)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Propulsion system(s) Electricity
Electrification 600 V DC Catenary
Stock 200[2]
Track length (single) 200 km (120 mi)[2]
Route length 80.5 km (50.0 mi)[3]
Stops 500[2]
Passengers (2016)113.5 million[4]
Website GVB

The trams on the network run on standard gauge track. Since 1900, they have been powered by electricity, at 600 V DC. At the terminus station of almost every tram route is a turning loop, so that the route can be operated by unidirectional trams. The only exception is Amstelveen Binnenhof, one of the termini of route 5, which must therefore be served by bidirectional vehicles. As of 2019, there are 14 tram routes.[1] The network comprises a total of 80.5 kilometres (50.0 mi) of route,[3] and 200 kilometres (120 mi) of track.[2] The fleet consists of 200 trams, of which 24 are bidirectional for use on the loop-less route 5.[2]



On 3 June 1875, Amsterdam's first horse-drawn tramway was opened. It linked Plantage with the Leidseplein, and was operated by AOM (Amsterdamsche Omnibus Maatschappij), which had been founded in 1872 by Karel Herman Schadd, amongst others.

In the last quarter of the 19th century, horse trams ran through the main streets of Amsterdam, linking all neighborhoods inside the Singel with Dam Square, and were extended to newly constructed residential areas. By the end of the century, about 15 routes led to or from the Vondelstraat, Overtoom, Willemsparkweg, Amsteldijk, Linnaeusstraat, Weesperzijde, Bilderdijkstraat and Ceintuurbaan.

The routes of the original horse tram lines can still clearly be recognised in the present day tram routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10 and 13.


As of 1 January 1900, the municipality of Amsterdam took over AOM. The company continued as the Gemeentetram Amsterdam (GTA). A total of 242 tramcars, 758 horses and 15 buildings were acquired along with the company.

Between 1900 and 1906, all but one of the existing tram lines were electrified. Additionally, the AOM's unusual track gauge of 1,422 mm (4 ft 8 in) was converted to 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge.

By 1906, the electric tram network consisted of 12 tram routes (1-11 and 13). To operate these routes, the GTA purchased 229 new electric tramcars. The former horse-drawn trams were progressively reclassified as tram trailers. In 1906, the Amsterdamse Tramharmonie orchestra (now known as Symfonisch Blaasorkest ATH) was founded. This orchestra, composed of amateur musicians from the Amsterdam region, still exists.

The last remaining Amsterdam horse tramway was route 12 (Nassauplein–Sloterdijk), which was electrified in 1916. Five years later, upon Amsterdam's annexation of the municipality of Sloten, a former Sloten horse tramway came under the control of the GTA. The horses of this route, which linked Overtoom with Sloten, were replaced by tram-hauling buses in 1922; the route was converted into a conventional bus route in 1925.

Further developments

Between 1910 and 1930, the growth of the city generated many new extensions to the tram routes. The first thirteen electrified tram routes were joined by: route 14 in 1910, routes 15–18 in 1913, route 19 in 1916, routes 22 and 23 in 1921, route 20 in 1922, route 21 in 1928, route 24 in 1929 and route 25 in 1930.

In 1931, the tramway network reached its greatest extent, at 25 tram routes. From that year to 1940, (almost) all the districts in the city could be reached by tram. Between 1900 and 1930, the fleet grew to 445 motorised trams and approximately 350 trailers. These were all twin axle vehicles with wooden bodies.

From 1922 until 1971, all trams had mailboxes at their rear side. These were emptied at Centraal Station; the post office's distribution centre was located next to the station, at Stationsplein, and later at Oosterdokskade. Thanks to the tram mailboxes, a letter could be delivered on time, even if it is too late for the last collection from the regular mailboxes.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the tram service was reduced. In 1932, routes 12, 15, 19, 20 and 21 were abandoned. However, as part of the Eastern Railway Works (Spoorwegwerken Oost) in 1939-1942, trams came to the new neighborhoods in Amsterdam-Oost, to serve the Watergraafsmeer, the new Amstel station and the rebuilt Muiderpoort station.

On 1 January 1943, the GTA merged with the Gemeenteveren to form Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf (GVB).

Between 1940 and 1945, the trams carried big crowds and faced a crisis. Several routes had to be suspended (route 4, 6, 8 and 14), before the whole service ceased in October 1944 due to a coal shortage. Many tram cars were transported eastward.

Postwar period

Following the end of World War II, tram services were resumed in June 1945, initially with only limited service (routes 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 16, 24, 25). Route 5 was split into route 5 and route 12. Some routes were returned to service in later years: routes 2, 17 and 18 (in 1947) and 4 (in 1948). Between 1945 and 1949, the emergency route 26 was the tram line with the highest route number, followed by route 11. In 1948 and 1949, a special tram S ran as an express service from route 25 to Amstel station.

Tram routes 6 and 23 did not return to regular service, but operated intermittently until 1958 for transportation to the stadium. Routes 8, 14 and 22, used during the war, were not reactivated as tram routes, although route 22 was revived in 1950 as a bus route.

Between 1948 and 1950, the GVB acquired sixty motorised trams and fifty trailers, known as the three axles (drieassers). They were built by Werkspoor in Utrecht-Zuilen, and replaced the then oldest trams in the fleet, which had entered service in 1902.

After a period of reconstruction in the 1940s, one tram route after another was shut down in the 1950s. Buses were considered to be more practical. Thus, between 1950 and 1965 route 18, 12, 11, 17 and 5 (provisionally in 1961, finally in 1965) were replaced, in that order, by bus services. Only the Leidsestraat and Utrechtsestraat remained served by tram routes (routes 1, 2 and 4), which were necessary because these streets were too narrow for buses.


In the mid-1950s, (modern) tramcars came back into the spotlight. The 25 articulated trams ordered in 1955 to serve only the Leidsestraat routes 1 and 2 were well received, and secured the future of trams in Amsterdam. Between 1957 and 1968, 160 new articulated vehicles, manufactured by Beijnes and Werkspoor in the Netherlands, were added to the fleet; they were numbered 551-587 and 602-724. The old twin axle trams from the prewar period were withdrawn from service between 1945 and 1968.


After the trams had returned to favour in the inner city, the newly created Western Garden Cities (Westelijke Tuinsteden) in the west of Amsterdam were connected with its tramway network: Bos en Lommerplein in 1950, Slotermeer in 1954, and Osdorp in 1962.

There were also some other new tram routes with line numbers that had long since disappeared or had never existed. Route 17, which was closed in 1956, was revived in 1962 (to Osdorp), when route 27 appeared on the old route of route 17. In October 1971, route 1 was extended to Osdorp. Route 27 disappeared in 1971. In 1977, upon the opening of Amsterdam's first metro route, routes 6 and 12 appeared. In 1978, with the opening of Station Zuid), came route 5, and in 1982, a new route 14 (to Station Sloterdijk) was opened, forty years after the lifting of the original route 14.

Other changes also occurred. In 1971, the tramway postal service was abandoned. In 1972-1973, the first group of articulated trams were extended by the addition of a middle section, to become bi-articulated trams. Also in the early 1970s, two series of new trams were ordered from Linke-Hofmann-Busch in Salzgitter, Germany, to operate the new western extensions. In 1974-1975, nos 725-779 entered the fleet, and in 1979-1981, nos 780-816 joined them.

By the early 1980s, the GVB had 252 bi-articulated trams available for use, at that time the highest number in any city in Europe. In 1983, after only 35 years - a short time for the Amsterdam tramway network - the three axle trams operated their last services; they had never been liked by the tram personnel. Between 1981 and 1983, the GVB also lost four other trams, when they were destroyed by fires started by rioting squatters.

Meanwhile, further western extensions of the network were opened, to Geuzenveld in 1974, Slotervaart-Zuid in 1975, Nieuw Sloten in 1991 and De Aker in 2001. Other enhancements were to: Station Zuid in 1978, Flevopark in 1980, Station RAI in 1981, Station Sloterdijk in 1982 (extended in 1985), and a second connection with Bos en Lommer/Slotermeer in 1989.

In 1985, a tram line was built to Haarlemmerhouttuinen, but not connected to other tracks, nor equipped with overhead wires. Thirty years later, it had still not entered into service.

New technology

In 1989-1991, to replace the oldest articulated trams, and to operate new routes, 45 articulated vehicles (numbers 817-841 and 901-920) were built by BN in Bruges, Belgium. They were Amsterdam's first (partly) low-floor trams. During the same period came the first withdrawals of the first articulated trams from 1957, apart from a few vehicles that had previously had been damaged by fire or a collision. Additionally, a number of the 1974-1975 LHB vehicles were removed from service.

In 1990, a new tramway to Buitenveldert and Amstelveen was ready to go. Route 5 links Station Zuid with Amstelveen Binnenhof, while line 51 runs as a light rail service, from Station Zuid to Amstelveen Poortwachter, and since 2004 to Westwijk. Also in 1990, Route 9 to the Watergraafsmeer was extended to Diemen (Sniep). In 1991, a rush hour route 20 and a special events route 11 were opened. In 1993 a support route 11 and in 1997 a circle line 20 were added to the network. Routes 6, 11 (2 lines) and 20 have since disappeared. However, route 11 is still used occasionally for extra services to the RAI convention centre.

Between 2002 and 2004, following an order for 155 Siemens Combino trams (nos 2001-2151 and 2201-2204), the existing tram fleet was largely renewed. Four of the Combinos were specified as bidirectional vehicles, for use on line 5 to Amstelveen. By mid-2004, 155 Combinos had been delivered. As a result, the last old articulated cars of the 1960s were removed from service in March 2004. However, between 2004 and 2008 all of the Combinos had to be taken progressively out of service for repairs and strengthening, to correct their many structural faults.

Changes since 2001

In December 2001, route 1 was extended to the new district of De Aker, and route 17 replaced line 1 on the route between Osdorpplein and Dijkgraafplein. For a lengthy period, route 24 is diverted via route 16, and route 25 is diverted via route 4, during construction of the Ceintuurbaan metro station at Ferdinand Bolstraat. In December 2002, route 6 was diverted to call at Centraal Station in place of the Stadionplein, and in November 2003, route 16 was extended from Stadionplein to the VU Medisch Centrum.

In May 2004, route 10 was extended/diverted to Java-eiland (Azartplein). Routes 7 and 14 have since been re-routed to Amsterdam-Oost (with a terminus at Flevopark). In December 2004, route 6 started sharing a terminus with route 16 at VU Medisch Centrum (Gustav Mahlerlaan). Since that month, route 7 has been sharing the Sloterpark terminus of route 14; the former route's terminus had earlier moved to Surinameplein, because the turning loop at Bos and Lommerplein had been closed.

On 30 May 2005, a new route, the IJ-tram (line 26) was opened (from Centraal Station - IJburg, a distance of 8.5 km (5.3 mi)) and (initially) route 16 was extended from CS to the Passagiersterminal (for cruise ships). Twelve months later, route 6 was closed, and the route CS–Passagiersterminal was taken over by route 25 from route 16 (it was later curtailed again to CS). In December 2006, route 24 was extended from Olympiaweg to VU Medisch Centrum.

In October 2011, a new turning loop for route 16 and 24 was installed at the De Boelelaan / VU stop. It replaced the loop at Gustav Mahlerlaan, which was required to give way to a new building.

In December 2013, tram route 25 between Centraal Station and President Kennedylaan in the Rivierenbuurt neighbourhood was discontinued.

In May 2015, tram route 24 between Centraal Station and VU Medisch Centrum was temporarily discontinued. It has since been reinstated and line 16 ceased instead. In 2017 the line 24 track over a 140-metre section of Ferdinand Bolstraat was rebuilt as single-track.

In 2017 GVB started testing the use of coupled trams on line 26, with a view to introducing them into service in 2019.[6] In March 2018 work started to build an alternative turning circle for tram 26 on the IJ side of Centraal Station, for use when events such as the Dam tot Damloop block Stationsplein. It will be completed in 2019.[7]


Current routes

As of 27 May 2019, the Amsterdam tramway network was made up of the following routes:

Disused routes

The numbers 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25 and 27 have belonged to Amsterdam tram routes in the past, but now there are no tram routes with those numbers. A brief list of the disused lines and routes:

  • Route 8 existed from 1905 to 1942. This tram ran through the old Amsterdam Jodenbuurt (Centraal StationNieuwmarktWaterloopleinWeesperstraatRivierenbuurt).
  • Route 9 existed until 22 July 2018 from Central Station to Diemen Sniep (until the late 1970s until Watergraafsmeer). This line has for most of its route been replaced by tram 19, which instead of Central Station runs to Sloterdijk station, with on its way possibilities to transfer to several metro lines towards Central and South stations.
  • Route 10 existed until 22 July 2018 from Westergasfabriek to Azartplein.
  • Route 15 existed from 1913 to 1932, and from 1936 to 1937.
  • Route 16 existed until 22 July 2018 from Central Station to VU medical centre. The route was roughly parallel to that of tram 24 and the newly opened metro 52, which is why this tram line was closed.
  • Route 18 existed from 1913 to 1951.
  • Route 20 existed from 1922 to 1932, from 1991 to 1993 (branch line), and as a Circle Tram from 1997 to 2002. During the entire period, there were successively three different tram lines with this number.
  • Route 21 existed as a horse/tractor tram line (ex municipality of Sloten) from 1921 to 1925 and as an electric tramway from 1928 to 1931.
  • Route 22 existed from 1921 to 1944 (Circle Line Centraal Station).
  • Route 23 existed from 1921 to 1944 (Stadium transport to 1958).
  • Route 25 existed from 1930 to 2013 (Centraal Station - President Kennedylaan). Between 2006 and 2012 tram 25 also ran between Centraal Station and the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA).
  • The route numbers 28 and 29 have never been used for a tram route in Amsterdam.
  • The route number 30 is used informally by the Electric Tramway Museum Amsterdam (HaarlemmermeerstationAmstelveenBovenkerk).

Route colours

Upon the electrification of the Amsterdam tramway network, all tram routes were given a route number and a route colour. The latter designator is a square logo next to the route number, so that people who cannot read the route numbers can still recognise the route. The tram stop signs also display the route colours, as did the early twentieth century horse tram routes. Route colours have been used in other cities in the Netherlands (The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht), but outside Amsterdam the colours have since been removed.

The Amsterdam route colours consist of combinations of one or two colours (red, green, yellow, blue and white). Not all colour combinations are permitted: for example, green-blue and yellow-white are not used, due to the lack of contrast. The square plane can be split horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

The belt routes 3, 7, 9 and 10 were given a route colour in one colour: yellow, blue, green and red, respectively. The radial routes usually had route colours divided into two. Later, new route colours divided into three fields (using a total of two colours) were introduced. Routes 7 and 13 have different combinations again. Route 7 is blue, but for clarity two horizontal white stripes are added. Route 13 is white, but has a pattern of blue squares added. Route 22 (originally 19) (Circle Line Centraal Station) was the only route using the colour pink.

Under the current system, there are 38 colour combinations. In the 1980s, never used combinations were assigned to the nonexistent routes 27, 28, 29 and 30 and to the metro route numbers 50 and 58. Today, the route colours are still used. They are located next to the route number on the front of the trams and light rail vehicles (and also on light rail vehicles running on metro routes 50, 51, 53 and 54).

Headquarters and depots

The AOM's original headquarters was located at Stadhouderskade 2. In 1923, the GTA set up a new headquarters in the Amsterdam School style building at the corner of the Overtoom and Stadhouderskade 1. In 1983, the GVB moved to Scheepvaarthuis (also in Amsterdam School style; completed 1913) at Prins Hendrikkade 108. In 2004, the GVB moved again, to a modern office building at Arlandaweg 100, near Sloterdijk station.

For the operation of Amsterdam's trams, there are two main depots: Havenstraat (Oud-Zuid), which was opened in 1914, and Lekstraat (Rivierenbuurt), built between 1927 and 1929 in Amsterdam School style. On 12 July 2010, the management of the two depots was merged. Lekstraat depot is now only used for storage, and the daily maintenance of all trams is now carried out at the Havenstraat depot.

Since May 2005, the tramway network has also had a yard at the Zeeburgereiland. This was built especially for line 26, partly because of lack of space in the Lekstraat depot, and partly to shorten turnaround times.

The main Amsterdam tram workshop has been based since 1996 in Diemen-Zuid. Previously, it had been housed from 1902 in Tollensstraat (Oud-West).

Image Serie (serienumbers) Builder Number built (now in service) Delivered Operation
Serie 11G
BN 20 (20) 901, 903: 1989
902, 904-920: 1990
Serie 12G
BN 25 (25) 817: 1990
818-841: 1991
Combino's serie 13G / C1 / C1A
C1: 2001-2130, 2145-2151
C1A: 2131-2144 (have ATB for the Piet Heintunnel)
Siemens 151 (151) 2001: 2001
2002-2048, 2051-2013: 2002
2049-2050, 2054-2124: 2003
2125-2147: 2004
2148-2151: 2005
Combino's serie 14G / C2A
C2A: 2201-2204
Siemens 4 (4) 2201-2204: 2002 2002–present
Serie 15G CAF Urbos 100 (soon to be delivered) CAF 63 (TBC) TBC 2019–present

See also




  • Duparc, H J A (1990). Lijnenloop Openbaar Vervoer Amsterdam 1839-1989 [Loopline public transport Amsterdam 1839-1989] (in Dutch). Amsterdam: Gemeentevervoerbedrijf. ISBN 90-901395-7-5.
  • Duparc, H J A (2000). Een Eeuw Elektrische Exploitatie van de tram in Amsterdam [A Century of Electric Operation of Trams in Amsterdam] (in Dutch). Delft: H J A Duparc. ISBN 90-901395-7-5.
  • Freeke, Jan (1990). De kunst van het vervoer. Een beeld van 150 jaar Amsterdams openbaar vervoer [The art of transport. A picture of 150 years of public transport in Amsterdam.] (in Dutch). Den Haag: SDU Uitgeverij. ISBN 90-12-06442-2.
  • van ‘t Hoogerhuijs, Herman (1996). Trammaterieel in Nederland en België [Tram Equipment in the Netherlands and Belgium] (in Dutch). Alkmaar: De Alk. ISBN 90-6013-948-8.
  • Leideritz, W J M (1979). Van Paardentram naar Dubbelgelede [From Horse Tram to Double Articulated] (in Dutch). Alkmaar: De Alk. ISBN 90-6013-904-6.
  • Stoer, Gerard (1982). Spoor en tram materieel in Nederland [Rail and tram equipment in the Netherlands] (in Dutch). Alkmaar: De Alk. ISBN 90-6013-916-X.
  • Visser, Noëlle (2000). In grote lijnen: het Amsterdamse openbaar vervoer (1900-2000), ter gelegenheid van het 100-jarig bestaan van het GVB [In grote lijnen: Public Transport in Amsterdam (1900-2000), to mark the 100th anniversary of the GVB] (in Dutch). Amsterdam: Gemeentevervoerbedrijf.
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