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Monday, March 30, 2009

Can a United States traveler leave Amsterdam Schiphol airport and come back?

I will be passing through Schiphol airport from the great United States and I was wondering if it is possible to leave the airport for a brief visit then come back when my plane is ready to depart.

Yes, you can. You jus need to make sure that you get back to the airport in time to get through security for your next flight. There's a train station below the airport and ticket machines on the gound level above the platforms. It takes about 15 minutes to get into Amsterdam.

"The U.S. Government remains deeply concerned about the heightened threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests abroad. Like other countries that are members of the Schengen Agreement for free cross-border movement, Greeces open borders with its European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity. As the first entry point into Schengen from points south and east, Greeces long coastline and many islands also heighten the possibility that foreign-based terrorists might try to exploit Greeces borders. Domestic terrorist organizations such as Revolutionary Struggle and Sect of Revolutionaries have become increasingly active against both domestic and foreign targets in Greece. Recent attacks and attempted attacks have included the use of Molotov cocktails (gasoline bombs), small arms and rifle fire, and improvised explosive devices, the largest being a 50-kilo car bomb which failed to detonate before the police arrived. The Greek police forces, other Greek governmental agencies, private American and Greek businesses, and the United States Embassy have been attacked in the last three years. Recent actions indicate that the perpetrators are indiscriminate. The risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in the event of a terrorist action is a concern for residents and visitors. U.S. tourists or residents in Greece should remain vigilant, exercise caution, and monitor local developments. Some current terrorist organizations are aligned with the ideology of the older Marxist terrorist group November 17 (N17) which targeted Greek businessmen and officials, as well as officials from NATO countries in Greece, from the mid-1970s until the early part of this decade. N17 terrorists murdered 23 people, including five U.S. Government employees. Strikes and demonstrations are a regular occurrence. Greece is a stable democracy and these activities for the most part are orderly and lawful. However, a wave of incidents started when a teenager was shot and killed in an encounter with the police in December 2008. Incidents occurred throughout Greece, but the primary sources of violence were in Athens and Thessaloniki, Protestors there engaged in violent confrontations with the police and carried out destructive vandalism and rioting in localized areas, some of which are areas frequented by tourists, injuring numerous police officers. Riot control procedures often include the use of tear gas. Visitors should keep abreast of news about demonstrations from local news sources and hotel security. When there are demonstrations, visitors should be aware of and avoid places where demonstrators frequently congregate, such as the Polytechnic University area, Exarchia, Omonia, and Syntagma Squares in Athens, and Aristotle Square in Thessaloniki. The Omonia and Exharchia areas of Athens are at particular risk for crime and politically-motivated violence; U.S. Embassy personnel and their families have been urged strongly to avoid these areas between 9 pm and dawn."

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