On the way to Germany our routing took us just to the north of Amsterdam and on the return we passed just to the south. This pushed us below 1200ft for a while as we passed Amsterdam airport. Rather bizarrely we were asked by ATC to switch off our transponder as we passed close by the airport so as to avoid departing aircraft receiving TCAS alerts. I noted a touch of irony in switching off your collision avoidance system due to the proximity of other traffic. Clear of Amsterdam we were then able to climb to a more respectable altitude for the direct crossing to Tibenham.