The central area of Schiphol, the Plaza, is quite a spotters friendly area. It
has of course the famous observation platform. Here some great views can be had.
When you are coming for photography the place may not be the best spot at
Schiphol. You will get very close views of parked planes and taxiing planes, but
the action happens quite far away. When you want to log registrations, this
place is the best at the airport. It is recommendable to take along binoculars
During the Winter the opening hours of the terace are 09:00 to 17:00. Please note that during the winter the terrace may open later if there has been frost overnight. The terrace will be opened when the terrace has been gritted and/or the sun has melted away the ice.
During the summer the opening hours are 07:00 to 20:00.
The observation terrace overlooks the even numbers of the F pier, all numbers of the E pier, all numbers of the D pier except the inside of the fork and also overlooks the odd numbers on the C pier. There are some works being done at the right side of the terrace near the "Dakota's Bar". It would appear that when these works are completed the terrace will be extended a bit to include views over the even numbers of the C pier and the odd numbers of the B pier. We shall just have to wait to be sure. There's a map with the gate numbers for the terminal area. The terrace area has been marked in orange.
Schiphol Plaza airside.
Airside Schiphol also has
excellent viewing possibilities, although new security procedures have made
photography harder. With the new procedures passengers are given a security
check at the gate, so the minilounges at each gate are no longer accesible for
those without valid flight ticket. Photography is still possible though, in
particular at the end of the D pier.
Disadvantage of spotting landside is that it is always from behind glass. The glass is slightly tinted, but good photography should nevertheless still be possible.
Schiphol is famous for being build around a "one-terminal" concept. This is not only a blessing for those changing planes. For plane spotters it is great as well! Once airside you can walk all over the terminal and see almost everything. The only flights that are somewhat blocked of are those from Israel for the obvious safety measures. Here too though most of the times other, less favrouable, angles can be found to make a photo.
The walking distances at Schiphol can be quite long! There are signs that say how long a walk you can expect. From the end of G pier to the end of B pier will take about 30 minutes. There is no little train or something.
Just outside Schiphol Plaza.
Just outside of the plaza
there is the G-apron. It is possible to get very close to this apron and take
some nice pictures of planes that are parked close to the fence. As there is a
fence it is advisable to bring a stepladder or a camera with a small front.
To get to the G-apron you have to leave the terminal on the arrivals level. When you leave the terminal you have to go to the right (away from the ATC tower). Walk underneath the pedestrian bridge. Continue walking past the new H-pier. At the end of the pier turn right and walk into the small road running parallel to the buslane. From here you can see the planes.
It is about a 15 minutes walk from the terminal. Unfortunately the construction of the new H-pier has limited the views quite a bit, as can be seen on the map at the right.