There are many reasons why someone might want to visit Amsterdam. The city is known for its beautiful canals, museums, and architecture. It’s also a cultural hub with a vibrant music and arts scene.
In addition, the city is a popular destination for history lovers because it has a rich and fascinating past. These factors combine to make Amsterdam a must-visit destination for many travelers. But is Amsterdam safe to visit?
While most tourists have a trouble-free experience in Amsterdam, it’s always a good idea to take the usual safety precautions. Here are our top travel safety tips to know before you go.
Is Amsterdam Safe to Visit?
Yes, Amsterdam is generally safe and easy to navigate for travelers. While it’s unlikely that anything wrong will happen during your visit, it’s still important to be vigilant. Tourists are rarely the targets of violent crimes, but pickpockets and other scammers can take advantage of anyone.
Amsterdam residents are known for being welcoming and friendly towards tourists. Most people here speak some English, so communication shouldn’t be a problem. As with any large city, you may encounter the occasional unfriendly person.
There’re no known major political instability issues in Amsterdam. But as with any trip, staying informed about current events is a good idea.Ensure you research and check with the Dutch government or your embassy before traveling to ensure it’s safe.
Crime in Amsterdam
At least 380 people were victims of crimes and violence in 2021. The most common crime in Amsterdam is pickpocketing. It usually happens in tourist areas and on public transportation.
Staying alert and keeping an eye on your belongings is essential to avoid becoming a victim to pickpocketing. Scams are also a common thing in the city. You may encounter people trying to sell you drugs or stolen goods.
Avoid any deals that look too good to be true, and don’t accept offers from strangers! Though there haven’t been any major terrorist incidents in Amsterdam, it doesn’t mean they can’t occur.
The Dutch government works hard to prevent any attacks. However, it’s impossible to guarantee they’ll succeed every time. While the likelihood of kidnappers abducting a tourist in Amsterdam is relatively low, it’s still important to be aware of the potential risk and take steps to protect yourself.
Criminals may target tourists who appear to be wealthy or vulnerable and attempt to abduct them to steal their belongings.
Here are safety tips to keep in mind to help you avoid crime in Amsterdam.
- Avoid wearing expensive jewelry or clothing that could draw unwanted attention.
- Keep your belongings close to you and be aware of pickpockets in crowded areas, such as train stations and tourist attractions.
- Avoid drugs and drug-related activities as they can put you at risk of being a victim of crime. Though authorities tolerate certain drugs such as marijuana and magic mushrooms, it’s illegal to possess or use hard drugs like cocaine and heroin.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Using a credit card is safer to reduce the risk of being robbed.
- Stick to main roads and streets. Avoid taking shortcuts at night.
- If you’re staying in a hotel, lock the doors and windows when you leave and keep valuable items out of sight.
- Contact the local authorities immediately if you’re a victim of a crime or encounter an emergency. You can reach the emergency services in Amsterdam by dialing 112.
Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a beautiful city with many attractions and things to do, but like any large city, it also has its share of bad neighborhoods you should avoid. These areas are often known for high crime rates, drug use, and other risky activities.
The Red Light District
While the area is a popular tourist destination, it can also be dangerous for visitors. The neighborhood is known for its legal prostitution and marijuana cafes.
It also has a high concentration of drug dealers and pickpockets looking for tourists to scam. You should be cautious when visiting the area and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuables.
This neighborhood is located in the southeast of Amsterdam. Bijlmermeer has large, modern apartment buildings and is home to a diverse population.
In recent years, the neighborhood has seen an increase in violent crime and drug-related offenses, making it an unsafe area for tourists. Avoid it if possible to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of a crime.
This neighborhood is located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Chinatown. The area is known for its high concentration of bars, clubs, and other establishments that cater to the city’s nightlife scene.
However, it’s also home to organized crime and drug trafficking gangs, rendering it a potentially dangerous area for tourists. This is a zone to avoid if you’re a tourist.
Is Amsterdam Safe for Solo Travelers?
Yes, the city is generally safe for solo travelers to explore. You can go about your business and not worry about your safety too much. However, that doesn’t imply that you are free to safely go exploring at any hour.
As is the case everywhere, undesirable events can occur in dimly-lit places. You’ll need to take some precautionary measures if you’re visiting Amsterdam alone. Always drink what you can handle.
While you may be in a city known for its wild nightlife, that doesn’t mean you have to go overboard on the drinking. You risk being mugged if you overindulge in alcohol. Avoid leaving your drinks unattended, as someone might spike them.
When out at night, stay in populated areas and be aware of anybody who seems too friendly or insists on offering you any help. If you’re going to bars or clubs at night, use a taxi service or ask your hotel for recommendations for reputable drivers.
When booking accommodation, looking at options with positive feedback from previous guests is best. You should also maintain contact with loved ones back at home.
It’s a great way of preventing the isolation and loneliness of traveling alone. In addition, it always helps to have one person who knows your whereabouts and activities rather than none at all.
Is Amsterdam Safe for LGBTQ Travelers?
Yes, Amsterdam is one of the most welcoming cities for LGBTQ+ travelers. The city has a long history of being a hub for LGBTQ rights and culture.
Back in 2001, same-sex marriage became legal in Amsterdam, making it the first city worldwide to recognize same-sex marriages. Such a progressive attitude has made Amsterdam a top destination for LGBTQ travelers worldwide.
The city is famous for its strong gay nightlife scene, with many bars, clubs, and saunas catering to the LGBTQ community.
In addition, there are many LGBTQ-friendly hotels, restaurants, and businesses throughout Amsterdam, so finding a place to stay or dine that caters to your needs shouldn’t be difficult.
Despite the city being safe for LGBTQ travelers, it’s always a good idea to take precautions, such as staying aware of your surroundings and avoiding unfamiliar areas at night. With that, you can enjoy all the city offers without fear of discrimination or violence.
Is Amsterdam Safe for Female Travelers?
Yes, Amsterdam is a safe place for women to visit solo or in groups. However, it’s essential to remain vigilant, especially when traveling alone. When out exploring the city, stick to well-lit and busy streets.
Don’t leave your drink unattended if you’re drinking in public and always stay aware of your surroundings. Try not to stay out late at night and have a planned travel route back to your hotel. Don’t hesitate to seek help if necessary.
It’s a good idea to learn some basic Dutch phrases in case you need to ask for help! Always have a copy of your passport in emergencies, and trust your instincts if something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable.
Health Risks in Amsterdam
The Red Light District is the leading health risk area in Amsterdam. The area has numerous brothels, which can attract a rowdy crowd and increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections. You should be careful if you choose to visit the area.
Another potential health risk in Amsterdam is the city’s canals. While they add to the city’s charm, the canals can also be breeding grounds for bacteria and other harmful organisms. Avoid swimming in the canals because the water isn’t treated and can cause illnesses if ingested.
Food safety is also a concern in Amsterdam because the city is home to many street food vendors. While the food can be delicious, you’ll need to be cautious and only eat from vendors that conform to hygiene standards.
Avoid eating raw or undercooked foods, as these can increase the risk of food poisoning while you’re in Amsterdam. No one wants to spend the trip of a lifetime sick!
Things to Consider
You’ll want to bone up on knowledge before you head to Amsterdam! Here are several things you should consider before visiting:
- Consider the seasonal weather. The time of year you plan to visit Amsterdam can impact your trip since the city’s weather varies depending on the season. If you’re going when it’s chilly, bring layers and warm shoes for walking. Warm seasons call for lightweight, breathable clothing, sunscreen, and comfy walking shoes.
- Avoid the peak season. The city tends to be crowded during the peak tourist season in summer, making it challenging to navigate and possibly less safe. Consider visiting during the off-season to avoid the crowds and potentially save money on flights and accommodations.
- Choose accommodations for your budget. Amsterdam offers many accommodations, including luxury hotels, budget hostels, and Airbnb rentals. Consider your budget and preferences when choosing where to stay. Always book in advance to ensure availability for your trip.
- Plan some attractions to visit. There are many activities and attractions to experience in the city! Do some research before you go. Decide on what you want to experience and plan your itinerary accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still got some questions about safety in Amsterdam? Here are the most common questions people ask about visiting Amsterdam safely.
Is Uber safe in Amsterdam?
Yes, it’s safe to use Uber in Amsterdam. However, verify the license plate and driver’s information before boarding a car.
How safe is Amsterdam for tourists?
Amsterdam is among the safest places to be as a tourist. It still won’t hurt to exercise caution before and throughout your trip to guarantee everything goes well.
Is it safe to walk around Amsterdam at night?
No, it’s generally not safe to wander the streets late at night. Some areas, like the Red Light District, are dangerous after dark.
Can you drink tap water in Amsterdam?
Yes, tap water in the city is drinkable, safe, and clean. Feel free to use bottled, filtered water if you feel more comfortable that way.
What is considered rude in Amsterdam?
It’s impolite to talk with gum in your mouth. Standing with your hands stuffed in your pockets is also deemed disrespectful. Shaking hands is the polite greeting when you meet a stranger, so offer a firm but measured grip.
So, Is Amsterdam Safe?
Yes, Amsterdam is overall a very safe city for tourists. However, taking precautions is vital to protect yourself and your belongings. A little forethought and staying aware will help keep you safe while you visit!
Cases of pickpocketing, mugging, and theft might happen, so knowing the risks can help you make the most of your time in the city. Avoid staying out late at night, stay out of troublesome neighborhoods and areas, and keep your belongings secure.
As long as you don’t overindulge in alcohol (opening you up to mugging or other crimes) or wander dark, unsafe areas alone at night, you’ll find that Amsterdam is a very safe spot to visit as a tourist. You’ll probably want to come back the moment you leave!