Probably not a good idea in the city
If you are considering renting a car to see Amsterdam itself, forget about it. Aside from Venice, Italy, where cars aren’t even allowed on the islands, there is probably no worse driving city than Amsterdam. However, if you are interested in renting a car in or near Amsterdam to tour around the Netherlands or the other nearby countries after you’ve seen the city itself, go for it.
If you’ve never been to Amsterdam, you’ll soon find that one of the things that makes it such a pleasant city is a near complete lack of car traffic. Bicycles rule the streets and only a few major arteries are suitable for car trips. Street parking without a permit is very rare and commercial parking lots are few and very expensive.
But the good news is Amsterdam is so compact that you won’t even miss a car. A person can walk from one end of the city center to the other in about 45 minutes, and with their great public transportation system available you won’t need to walk more than a few blocks at a time to get from anywhere to anywhere. And even if you are carting around way too much luggage you can always get a taxi with little problem. They don’t roam the streets picking up fares, but there are convenient taxi stands in most central areas. If you are starting from somewhere not near a taxi stand or hotel you can call for one on the phone.
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Renting a car to get out of town
On the other hand, renting a car at the airport or even within the city on your way out of Amsterdam is a great way to see the rest of the region. The rail system is great, but still if you have a group of people, renting a car in Amsterdam is going to be a much more efficient way to see a lot in a short time. Rotterdam, The Hague, Delft, Alsmeer (the huge flower market), and Utrecht are all near Amsterdam in the western section of the country. And just a bit further are Brussels, and Brugge in Belgium, and Aachen in Germany.