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# Schiphol Airport

Schiphol (mun. Haarlemmermeer) is the Netherlands' main airport. Located south of Amsterdam, Schiphol aims to be a European mainport, competing in passenger and cargo throughput with Heathrow International Airport in London, UK, Frankfurt International Airport in Frankfurt am Maim, Germany and Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Roissy, France[?].

Schiphol started early last century as a military airbase, consisting only of a few barracks and a mudpool serving as platform/runways. When civil aircraft started to make use of the field, it was often called Schiphol-les-bains.

Currently Schiphol features 5 main runways, plus 1 used mainly by general aviation aircraft. The "fifth runway" (really the sixth) is gradually being put into use in 2003. This marks the completion of a project originally conceived over 20 years prior.

There are 3 large passenger terminals, the most recent having been completed in 1994. There are plans for further terminal expansion.

Because of the intense traffic at Schiphol, more and more holiday-carriers have moved some of their flights to smaller, nearby airports, such as Eelde[?] (mun. Tynaarlo), Rotterdam, Eindhoven Airport and Beek.

Schiphol is the home base of KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines), Martinair and Transavia[?]. The Dutch Railways operate a major passenger train station directly underneath the passenger terminal complex.

Schiphol has large shopping areas as a source of revenue and as an additional attractant to air carrier passengers. Schiphol Plaza is the shopping center before customs, hence not only for air travellers, also for people who just change train here, etc. There is a regular size supermarket, Food Village, that is open until midnight seven days a week. Such long shopping hours are rare in the Netherlands.

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