If Schiphol Amsterdam Airport's runways could talk, they'd share a stormy past rich in global history. Most of it recorded, most of it shared for generations to come, and most of it lost on the 11.5 million people who touch down at one of Europe's busiest airports. Busy airports like Schiphol also mean there are mobile citizens in search of a place close by to drop their bags and rest up, so it was only natural for citizenM to open shop here in 2008.
Amsterdam Schiphol, an airport that boasts plenty of bars, eateries, shops and unique features, was once covered by a huge lake. No, this is not a joke. Schiphol, which translates quite literally as 'ship grave' was rumored to have violent storms, causing shipwrecks of sizeable proportions. Today the area sits well below sea level ... and our fingers are firmly crossed it never floods!
Fast forward to 1916: It's war time, there's not a great deal of lake water, and naturally, the land is claimed by the military for use as barracks and a runway. It wasn’t until post-war in the 1920's when civil aircraft began use of the fields, and the military stopped its use. Over the next twenty years, the airport changes greatly and four asphalt runways are developed.
Here's where a plot of land that used to be a lake, that used to eat up ships, becomes a hub for German military ...
Fast forward to World War II: The invasion of Holland meant the airport was claimed by the German military, who renamed the airport, Fliegerhorst Schiphol. A railway connection was laid to the airport, and the German soldiers worked to protect their assets and draw allied forces away from Schiphol. Decoys were laid in the form of faux airfields, but despite their efforts the area was heavily bombed and could only be used in emergencies.
Recognising Schiphol's significance, once the war was over, the Dutch rebuilt the area as quickly as possible. By 1949, after a period of development, Schiphol had quickly become the primary airport for the Netherlands. As it is often the case when it comes to growth of this kind, a small town was sacrificed in order to free up space needed.
But peace time doesn't mean there's a lack of development at Schiphol. Quite the contrary. When your Air Traffic Control Tower is unable to overlook the entire airport because it has expanded so much, you better build a bigger and better one (they did in 1991; it was a big deal). From there, expansion plans haven't stop at Schiphol: on the horizon is a new pier, new parking garage, and redeveloped terminal, which are set to be completed by 2023.
Though its turbulent past, Schiphol is still making waves, playing host to exciting and unexpected incidents. One of the most notable events in recent years is decidedly the 2005 diamond robbery, which took place in Schiphol’s cargo terminal. Due to the sheer value of the diamond (an incredible 15million Euros!) the robbery is recognised as the largest of its kind.
If Shipwrecks, military occupations and diamond robberies sound neat, but are not quite your thing, you can still have a legendary time at Schiphol with a stay at citizenM. The hotel is within easy walking distance of both Schiphol Airport departure and arrival halls. When arriving by train, car or plane, please follow the airport signs to 'Schiphol Plaza. This is the main hall connected to all arrival terminals. After a short walk you will arrive at citizenM hotel Schiphol Airport.
You can take a luggage trolley with you if needed and stall it in front of the hotel.