Amsterdam Airport Schiphol urged travelers to stay away for several hours on Saturday as a strike by ground staff at the start of the school holidays caused chaos at the airport.
“The terminal is overcrowded at the moment… Schiphol calls on travelers not to come to the airport anymore,” airport authorities said in a statement released shortly before noon (10:00 GMT).
Nearly three hours later, the airport said passengers were welcome again, but they would still face long wait times and possible delays or cancellations.
Police briefly closed freeway exits to the airport on Saturday afternoon as queues at gates stretched out of airport buildings.
A Schiphol spokesperson said the temporary closure was necessary to ensure safety and to attract as many thousands of frustrated passengers as possible on board their often-delayed flights.
Baggage handlers at KLM, the Dutch branch of the airline Air France-KLM, went on an unannounced strike on Saturday morning to demand higher wages and better working conditions.
KLM ground staff handle around half of all baggage passing through Schiphol, the fourth busiest airport in Europe after Istanbul Airport, followed by Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow and Paris Charles de Gaulle , the third most frequented.
The FNV union said the walkout ended around noon.