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Schiphol remains one of my favourite airports for a variety of reasons. It is spacious and well-planned, offers free wifi access for an hour throughout the airport terminal, has excellent signage (including estimated walking time from one area to another), has lots of spaces for resting, has a free mini version of Rijksmuseum, and has excellent facilities all around, including a meditation centre.

Schiphol’s meditation centre, which caters for all religions, is open from 6:00 to 23:00 hours but is manned from 9:00 to 17:00 hours.

As you approach the entrance, you can see a small office/consultation room on the left. The actual entrance to the meditation centre is on the right.

They have a small collection of reading material inside, including various translations of the Bible and Qur’an.

This corner of the meditation centre seems to have been allotted specifically for Muslims, based on the location of the translations of the Qur’an in the bookshelves as well as prayer mats and various female wear for prayers (telekung and variants thereof)…

…and the unmistakable mark on the floor showing the direction of the qiblah.

On Sundays, there is a church service at 11.00 hours. Alternately there is a Mass, and Anglican service or a Protestant service. In principle, all services are in English.

According to Schiphol’s official website, it is possible for a group to hold its own service at the Meditation Centre during opening hours. 
The key to the cupboard with liturgical requisites can be obtained from the desk of the KLM Crown Lounge on the second floor, next to the Meditation Centre.

The meditation centre is located at Level 2 of Schiphol Airport once you get past Passport Control, i.e. it’s available for passengers who have already checked in. If I remember correctly, I only saw one meditation centre at Holland Avenue, not far from Rijksmuseum, but when I checked Schiphol’s official website for the location map, the map shows two locations.

For more information, please call +31 (0)20 601 4751 or email [email protected]

I am writing this post on WordPress for Android on board my connecting flight to Geneva from one of my favourite airports in the world — Schiphol in Amsterdam.

Upon arrival in Schiphol, airport signage already warned me of a 24-minute walk from the arrival gate of our flight from KL to the departure gate of my connecting flight so I literally made a run for it this morning. It was a mad sprint for me, considering that my flight from KL landed at 6.10am (15 minutes behind schedule) and that my connecting flight’s boarding time was scheduled at 6.30am and the fact that all transit passengers to other Schengen countries have to go through Passport Control first, a process that included a 3-minute body scan followed by a patdown (if you’re unlucky).

The KLM aircraft from KL was a Boeing 747-200 (actually a downgrade from the usual 747-400 due to some technical problems) but the connecting flight to Geneva is on a smaller aircraft nicknamed “Cityhopper” similar to this one:

image

While waiting for our flight to be given clearance for takeoff, I amused myself by watching the luggage handlers load the bags into the cargo hold. I even managed to catch a glimpse of one of these guys having a quick breather — i.e. lie down inside the cargo hold (!) — while waiting for his colleagues to arrive.

Bang! Slam! Push! Toss! After observing how luggage handlers manhandle all those bags, I now strongly advise you to invest in the sturdiest bag that your budget can afford…and to wrap your expensive bags with shrinkwrap at the airport prior to departure!

Schiphol Airport is arguably one of the world’s best airports. It’s huge, well-planned, spacious, and has every possible facility you can think of for an airport, including a mini museum — the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol

The museum, which features over 400 17th century masterpieces, presents a new exhibition three times a year. The current exhibition is called “The Art of Flying” and runs until the 26th of  October, 2009.

The exhibits are few but (1) the paintings are the real McCoy, (2) you can stay in the museum for as long as you want, and (3) you can take all the photos that your heart desires. [NB: In the main Rijksmuseum, cameras are prohibited.]

Please click on the image below to see a stitched panorama shot of the museum:-

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol - panorama

Lighting is dim (to preserve the paintings) and the glass is thick, so taking photos is quite a tricky undertaking without a flash and a tripod.

Some samples of the paintings on display right now:-

Isaack Luttichuys - portrait

Isaack Luttichuys (1616-1673)
Portrait of a young woman, 1656
Oil on canvas

Abraham Mignon - still life

Abraham Mignon (1640-1679)
Still life with flowers and watch, ca. 1660-1679
Oil on canvas

Paulus Moreelse - girl

Paulus Moreelse (1571-1638)
Girl at the mirror, 1632
Oil on canvas

The exhibits are located on the upper floor, accessible by a small flight of stairs. On the ground floor, on the other hand, you will find the Rijksmuseum shop where reproductions of famous paintings are available for sale, some of which have already been framed.

reproductions

For easier transport, some of the reproductions are also available unframed.

reproductions of paintings

This is my favourite — Johannes Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid“. I am in awe of his ability to paint light.

Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid” and other reproductions

I had to force myself to get away from this display of Vermeer-related souvenirs.

Vermeer souvenirs

The shop also sells smaller (read: more affordable) souvenirs such as mugs, magnets and the bookmarks that I gave away as pasalubong not too long ago.

The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol is located on Holland Boulevard of Schiphol Airport, in the area behind the passport control between the E and F Pier. It is open every day from 7:00 until 20:00. The best part? Admission is free.