Adam’s Travel Report – 2022 Dutch Grand Prix

Adam Rosales enjoyed his trip to the Dutch Grand Prix so much that he’d gladly attend every year. Learn more about the fan experience at Circuit Zandvoort.

Circuit Zandvoortis a historic circuit that predates the world championship. It hosted its first Grand Prix in 1948 and was part of the Formula 1 calendar from 1958 to 1985. The circuit continued hosting different racing series after the departure of F1, including DTM and Formula 3, but the track infrastructure had seen better days. Fast forward to the arrival of Dutch superstar Max Verstappen, and the necessary funds were found to bring Zandvoort up to F1 standard for the return of the Dutch Grand Prix. This was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, but F1 finally returned to Zandvoort in 2021, complete with two new banked corners. Zandvoort remains a bit tight for the current generation of cars,  but the circuit does offer a great experience and atmosphere for drivers and fans alike. 

My wife and I had enjoyed our honeymoon in Amsterdam a few years ago. It’s one of our favorite cities to visit. So taking this trip and doubling up this race with Spa was an easy sell to my wife. Back to back race weekends can be tough so she opted to only join me at Zandvoort on race day. We arrived back in Amsterdam on the Wednesday before the GP to spend a few days exploring and doing the usual touristy stuff like the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank Museum and a Canal Cruise. The city is very easy to get around by tram or bike. It’s a bit on the pricier side compared to other European cities, but it’s fairly similar to what we are used to paying for food and going out in our hometown of Austin, Texas. Visiting Amsterdam during race week, you wouldn’t necessarily know that Formula 1 is nearby but you will encounter people around who also traveled for the race. Our canal cruise seemed to be mostly people visiting for the race. 

Taking the Train From Amsterdam to Zandvoort 

On both Saturday and Sunday, I rode the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Zandvoort. The trip took about 30 minutes including a couple of stops along the way. Overall, the train was very efficient since there were trains leaving every 4 minutes utilizing two platforms. The crowds on the platform seemed a bit overwhelming but it never really stopped moving. It definitely helps booking your tickets in advance so you don’t have to queue at the station. Having said that, there are plenty of kiosks to buy tickets and you can also buy them on your phone. It only took about 10 minutes to board a train, it was very efficient. There were guards at a secondary gate on the platform to get to the boarding area of the platform who stopped the queue periodically to control the crowds.

I booked a 1st class ticket which cost about €20 return. I was able to board the 1st class cabin and get a seat without a “rush” into the train. It eventually filled up but did not have people standing between the seats. Pretty sure there were people who didn’t buy 1st and just found the empty seats! Nobody was there to check so it didn’t matter too much. 

Coming back, it was pretty crowded at the much smaller Zandvoort station, but it still only took about 20 minutes to board a train. Saturday and Sunday had similar crowd sizes at the station. The crowds are a bit intimidating but they move fairly quickly. Post race, we hung out for a bit at the circuit to enjoy some more frites and a beer to avoid the crowds. We also ventured out to the beach. A lot of people were hanging around and some were getting in the water in their underwear. It was a good vibe, really chill. The Red Bull planes put on a bit of a show above the beach too. We probably got to the train station about 1.5-2 hrs after the race ended. 

Entering Circuit Zandvoort

We accessed Gate 2, which was about a 15-minute walk from the train station, along the path by the beach. There are restaurants, food trucks, beer vendors and merch stalls along the way. On Sunday before the race, we got lunch and a few beers at Buddha Beach, which was open as normal. Closer to the circuit, some restaurants were closed for private or corporate events. Gate 2 never really had a line on either Saturday or Sunday. It was easy and moved fast. I had no backpack to check and they didn’t bother looking through my small bum bag.  

Sitting in the Arena 1 Gold Grandstand

Due to very high demand, especially from Dutch fans, I had to use a lottery system to buy my tickets and I was one of the lucky ones. The promoter has also locked in many fans to multi-year ticket deals. This definitely makes it one of the hardest races on the calendar in which to buy tickets. Most tickets are also sold for two days, Saturday & Sunday, and the prices are reasonable. Friday tickets are sold separately, but also included with 3-day tickets. 

I sat in Arena 1, which is one of the higher-priced Gold grandstands and is situated at the hairpin before the final corner in what is sometimes referred to as the stadium sector at Zandvoort. I had a screen in front with track views of the cars entering from the straight into the low-speed Turns 11/12, and down towards Turn 13, the penultimate corner. The upper rows in the Arena 1 grandstand had views into the Paddock as well (see photo below) as well a small section of Turn 3. I was able to go to the top row during the support races while some seats were empty. Looking at the Paddock entrance, I saw a few notable personalities from a distance like Ted Kravitz and a few team principals. 

Trackside at Circuit Zandvoort

There are plenty of beer and food vendors dotted around inside the circuit. I only really walked around Gate 2 and the Fanzone area. I explored the GA area by the banking on the final corner, which offered some pretty good views due to the elevation above the track. Walking around the circuit paths, it was often crowded but not shoulder to shoulder like it can get at COTA sometimes. There was good signage everywhere and the DutchGP app worked well enough to be able to use the digital map and find my way around.

The crowd vibe was very fun, obviously lots of Red Bull fans but there were plenty of people in Ferrari and Mercedes gear. There was some friendly ribbing amongst fans from different teams, but nothing beyond the usual sports banter. Everybody in my section was friendly and loud. My seat neighbors teased me a bit about my Checo shirt and I became the resident Perez fans whenever he put in a good lap, getting high fives from those sitting around me.

There’s no track invasion at Zandvoort after the race. It was clearly communicated on the video screens throughout Sunday morning that it was not allowed and would not take place.

Food & Drink at Circuit Zandvoort

All the vendors accepted card payments, including the mobile beer vendors who walked around with a small keg of beer in their backpacks. Concessions that sold all types of drinks were conveniently located under the grandstands. You didn’t have to wait very long to get a beer! Prices were some of the best I’ve seen for a GP. I had fries for €3 and a freshly made wood fire pizza for €14.50, which was baked for about 90 seconds and delicious. Beers were €6.5 but there was a recycling program. You were handed a coin at the entrance which gave you a €1.5 discount on drinks, if you turned in your cup/can at the next purchase, you’d get the same discount. You could also turn in your cup/can to get a coin back. Pretty great way to keep litter in bins. 

Visiting Amsterdam

Amsterdam is highly recommended. The people are very friendly and it’s easy to navigate with Google Maps. Most people speak and understand English. Public transport is also very convenient. I bought a 5-day Metro card for €39. You just show the ticket on the GVB mobile app if there is an attendant. There’s no shortage of cool things to do in the city. Museums, canal cruises, bars and plenty of food to explore. Kantjil & De Tijger was a great way to try Rijstaffel. 

The city feels very safe and seems like mostly young people. I’ve stayed in both De Pijp and Jordaan, both great areas of the city to stay. Prices In Amsterdam seem comparable to most big cities. It wasn’t cheap or necessarily expensive. But I think it might be on the higher end of the scale for Europe, depending on what you do and where you eat. 
There’s also a cheap and efficient train from Amsterdam Schipol Airport to Centraal station downtown. I opted for a private Business Taxi since we had a few bags for our two week trip. Overall it’s less stressful for my wife so I didn’t mind paying €60 for the ease of it all. I don’t want to start the trip with her frustrated (at me) because she had to walk around stone paths with bags after a long flight!

Final Thoughts

I really recommend visiting the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. Travel is easy and Amsterdam is a fantastic city to visit with a good selection of hotels and Airbnbs available. Schiphol is also one of the busiest airports in the world with a ton of flights available to all corners of the world. The ease of transportation to the circuit and competitive prices also make it a very easy trip to plan. The hardest part is buying tickets for the race. Constant music and support races make it a fun event as well, along with the lively atmosphere and friendly people. I can’t wait to go back to Zandvoort. The Dutch Grand Prix is a race I would gladly attend every year.

Attending the Dutch Grand Prix – Cost Breakdown

  • Flights = 72k Delta Skymiles + $73 USD
  • Airbnb (5 nights in Jordaan neighborhood of Amsterdam) = $1778 USD
  • 2-Day Race Tickets in the Arena 1 Gold Grandstand (Section 1217 – Row 32 – Seats 395-396) = €550 each
  • 1st Class Train Tickets (Amsterdam Centraal to Zandvoort) = €10 each way

The last tickets are now on sale for the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix (August 25-27)

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