Wheelchair Access, Amsterdam
Favorite thing: I couldn't agree more, "rhineroll" is 100% correct. We, my wife, my electric scooter and I have visited Amsterdam already 3 times and love it. I can no longer walk, not even stand up. We always stayed at the Ibis hotel right at the main (railway) station. You must reserve their one and only wheelchair adapted room well in advance . We get there from Shipol airport by train and leave the same way. You should reserve your train 24hrs in advance. But if you are nice, polite and persisting, explain that you are a tourist you'll get on the next train or the one after that (Note: ONLY at major train stations where they have a wheelchair loading ramp). Getting to Haarlem and Alkmaar was no problem. To get back to Amsterdam we told them upon arrival the approximate time of departure. We tried to get to Keukenhof and failed. There was no roll-on / roll-off transportation, neither from Haarlem nor from Leiden. On my first trip I used a "sub-compact" 94cm long 3-wheel scooter. With that I was able to go on a canal cruise. One cruise boat operator has or had one boat with a tiny electric / hydraulic wheelchair lift. Most major attractions in Amsterdam we were able to get in. We had to walk / roll to get there and back. Be prepared, take the wheelchair battery charger and an extension cord along with you. That way you can charge for an hour while your companion(s) rest. or in a restaurant while you eat. In Amsterdam I often rolled in the bicycle lanes because the sidewalk curbs are hard on the batteries and my back. Last point: Always be on the look-out for wheelchair accessible washrooms and use it if you find one. You might not find another one when you really need to!
This is something of a disappointment, really. I was driving into the very center of town and I hated it, so I tried to research for better options involving public transportation. First notice: There's not a whole lot of information out there. Whereas e.g. the Hamburg tourist pages have loads of information on barrier-free access, the official Amsterdam pages have very little to offer. And the reason for this is quite simply that wheelchair acces is quite difficult in this city.
The best news is that you at least won't have to worry about hills to climb. Many individual buildings, especially those recently built will be accessible, but as you can't inform yourself beforehand, you will have to take chances. Unfortunately, public transport is largely unusable. Very few low-floor buses. Low floor trams do exist, but you cannot rely on the next one coming to be one . There are lifts to the metro stations, but these are being turned off after 11 PM. Probably a measure to guard these against vandalism so that at least during daytime they can be used.
My advice: In order to really enjoy Amsterdam you will definitely need a centrally-located fully accessible hotel room. It will cost you a lot. I am really surprised that Amsterdam is not one of the better places regarding disabled access. I
If you are daytripping with your car, try not to drive into the inner cobweb of canals. Park your car outside of that maze. If necessary, use a taxi to bridge the distance.