The main train station of the Dutch capital, this building was designed as a major architectural statement by P. J. H. Cuypers. Although sporting many Gothic motifs (including a unique wind vane disguised as a clock in its left tower), it is now considered a landmark of Dutch Neo-Renaissance style. (Cuypers also designed the city's other main gateway, the Rijksmuseum, which lies like a mirrored rival on the other side of the late 19th century town.) The building of the
station required the creation of three artificial islands and the ramming of 8,600 wooden piles to support it. Completed in 1889, it represented the psychological break with the city's seafaring past, as its erection slowly blocked the view to the IJ. Another controversy arose from its Gothic detailing, which was considered by uptight Protestants as a tad too Catholic—like Cuypers himself—and hence earned the building the nickname the "French Convent" (similarly, the Rijksmuseum became the "Bishop's Castle"). Currently sections of Centraal Station are under construction with the new North/South metro line. The new bus station is on the IJ side. If you are visiting the restaurant on Platform 2b, wander down to look at the magnificent golden gate of the Queen's Waiting Room (alas, you can't go in, but scan the QR code at the entrance with your smartphone for a 360° virtual tour).
Stationsplein, Amsterdam, North Holland, 1012 AB, Netherlands
/0900–9292-(public transport information)