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Is Amsterdam Safe to Visit in 2024? | Safety Concerns

Is Amsterdam Safe to Visit in 2024? | Safety Concerns

Is Amsterdam safe to visit?

Yes. Amsterdam is ranked as the 6th safest city globally, according to the Safe Cities Index 2021. It’s in one of the safest countries, the Netherlands, with minimal travel advisories. While typical city crimes like pickpocketing exist, violent crimes and terrorism are rare. Protests are usually peaceful, making Amsterdam very safe for tourists.

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations, for both well-heeled travelers interested in culture and bachelor parties looking for a good time.

The city boasts many beautiful buildings from the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, as well as masterpieces of art in the Rijksmuseum and other art collections. It is also a capital of modern culture, from design to shopping.

Some of Amsterdam’s attractions are a bit grittier, such as the Red Light District, where prostitution is legalized, or the cafes where one can smoke marijuana.

Especially since some of its attractions seem a bit seedy, many people wonder if Amsterdam is actually safe to visit. Keep reading to learn more about how to visit this city safely.

Is Amsterdam Safe to Visit?

Amstel landmark with boat in the channel at sunrise to answer the question is Amsterdam safe


Yes. Amsterdam is actually very safe to visit, despite the perceptions some potential visitors have over the activities that go on in the city.

According to the Safe Cities Index 2021, a global study of safety conducted by The Economist, Amsterdam is the 6th safest city in the world. Over the past years of the study, Amsterdam routinely ranks highly when it comes to safety, ranking 4th in 2019 and 6th in 2017.

Amsterdam is located in one of the safest countries in the world, the Netherlands, which certainly helps with the city’s safety.

The Irish government says that the Netherlands is very safe, just advising its citizens to exercise normal safety precautions in the Netherlands, including in Amsterdam. This is the lowest possible travel advisory level.

However, some countries advise a bit more caution. According to the Canadian government, the Netherlands is mostly safe to visit, although the potential for terrorist attacks is a reason for tourists to exercise a high degree of caution.

Amsterdam may be a very safe big city, but it is still a big city with nearly 1 million people. Any big city has bad neighborhoods where people may be nervous to walk around at night, or crime.

Crimes locals worry about in Amsterdam include:

  • Pickpocketing
  • Scams
  • Mugging
  • Burglary
  • Terrorism

More violent crimes in Amsterdam, including very violent incidents such as terrorism, are rare, but it’s still a good idea to take some precautions. You don’t have to worry much about other dangers.

There are protests sometimes, since this is a capital city and the center of political life in the Netherlands, but they are almost always peaceful. Even natural disasters are rare, besides persistent rain.

Crime in Amsterdam

Bikes over a canal in Amsterdam pictured for a guide to whether or not the city is safe to visit


The crime rate in Amsterdam is fairly low for a city of its size and looking closer at the crime statistics can help you feel safer in the city. While many cities experienced a crime wave after the end of the COVID-19 lockdowns, Amsterdam managed to buck the trend.

In 2022, it had a 17% increase in crime compared to 2021, but it still had a lower crime rate than the pre-pandemic years. Crime in Amsterdam has steadily been decreasing over the past few years.

Most crimes committed in Amsterdam are non-violent forms of petty theft. In 2022, the total crime rate was 76.34 incidents per 10,000 inhabitants.

Meanwhile, the rate of theft was 44.57 incidents per 10,000 inhabitants, showing that theft makes up over 50% of total crimes committed in Amsterdam. Other common non-violent crimes include scams and traffic violations.

Violent incidents in Amsterdam do happen, but they are fairly rare. For example, in 2022 there were only 355 examples of public violence, which only makes up about 1% of total crimes committed in the city.

This is backed up by the perception of people living in Amsterdam.

According to Numbeo, which gathers information about crime based on survey responses, Amsterdam scores a 29.45 out of 100 on the crime index, which is a low value. People are only concerned about a slight increase in crime over the past 3 years and about drug use.

Petty Theft

The most common crime affecting visitors to Amsterdam is petty theft. Pickpocketing and bag snatching are so common in Amsterdam that they make it into nearly every travel advisory for The Netherlands.

The Australian government warns that its citizens should hold onto their belongings when visiting Amsterdam. Pickpockets tend to operate around high-traffic areas such as:

  • Schiphol Airport
  • Amsterdam Central Station
  • On trams and buses
  • Around the Red Light District
  • ATMs near nightclubs
  • In restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops serving legal marijuana

Most thefts rely on distraction, not violence, so as long as you are reasonably alert, you shouldn’t get pickpocketed in Amsterdam. Don’t place irreplaceable items somewhere where someone can take them without you noticing, such as an open purse or your back pocket.

Don’t be careless with your bag, for example by putting it on the floor in the tram or dangling it on the back of your chair in a coffee shop.

Many thieves use Amsterdam’s reputation as a hedonistic city to their advantage. They know people come to the city to let loose, so they target places where tourists tend to be drunk or high. Avoid getting too incapacitated as that makes you a target.


Many travel advisories for the Netherlands warn about the risk of terrorism in its big cities, including Amsterdam. There have been serious recent terrorist attacks in Amsterdam.

In its travel advisory, the UK government mentions the 2018 knife attack in Amsterdam Central Station, which didn’t kill anyone but injured 4 people. As of December 2023, the terrorist threat level in the Netherlands is “substantial,” which is a Level 4 out of 5, according to the Dutch government.

This just means that there is a risk of terrorism in Amsterdam, not that it is guaranteed to happen while you are there.

You can’t really take precautions to prevent terrorism, since it is unpredictable, but make sure you follow instructions by police officers and monitor the news while you are there to avoid recent threats.

Avoiding Bad Areas

The Red Light District where sex workers congregate as a place to avoid for a piece on Is Amsterdam Safe

Oriole Gin/Shutterstock

Amsterdam does have some dangerous neighborhoods, like any big city, but most of those are far away from the center where tourist attractions are concentrated.

Neighborhoods to avoid staying in include:

  • Zuidoost
  • Zuidwest
  • Osdop-Midden
  • Geuzenveld

Wallen/the Red Light District is a popular tourist attraction but can get a bit unsavory—it is the legalized prostitution district, after all. The worst that tends to happen is petty theft targeting drunk bachelor parties but keep a close grip on your valuables when walking through at night.

Things to Consider

View over the city and canals for a frequently asked questions section answering the question Is Amsterdam Safe

VanderWolf Images/Shutterstock

Here are some additional tips to help you stay safe in Amsterdam:

  • Be wary of scams. Scams targeting tourists are common, including one where scammers dress up as police officers and ask to see your wallet as part of a counterfeit money investigation. Never hand over valuables to anyone, ask to go to a station, and ask for ID—Dutch police don’t wear badges.
  • Amsterdam has a problem with organized drug crime, despite the legality of drugs in the city. Avoid back alley deals and if you do want to consume, stick to legitimate areas such as coffee shops.
  • Be careful when going out at night. Criminals tend to target Amsterdam’s famously hedonistic nightlife. Always keep a close eye on your drink as drink spiking is common. Don’t leave wallets, purses, or phones unattended as the clubs tend to have pickpockets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canal-front house with pink and red tulips in bloom for an article on Is Amsterdam Safe

Noppasin Wongchum/Shutterstock

These common questions can also provide help when planning your trip to Amsterdam:

Is it safe to walk in Amsterdam at night?

The central part of Amsterdam is quite safe, even at night, and you can expect to find a lot of tourists still around in Jordaan and the Museum District. However, be careful around the Red Light District, near the train station, and some of the less friendly residential neighborhoods after dark.

Are there any areas to avoid in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam has some dangerous areas such as Zuidoost and other neighborhoods to the east of the city where crime rates are higher. They are usually safe during the day, but not so much at night.

What is the safest city in the Netherlands?

Despite its size, Amsterdam is one of the safest cities in the Netherlands, although small towns where everyone knows everyone are probably safer.

Do they speak English in Amsterdam?

The official language of Amsterdam is Dutch, but nearly 100% of Dutch citizens speak English fluently and you can get around just knowing English.

Where should I avoid going in Amsterdam at night?

At night in Amsterdam, avoid some of the seedier residential districts further away from the center. The Red Light District also gets rowdy the later at night you are there, so try to avoid it.

So, Is Amsterdam Safe to Visit?

Amsterdam may be a big city and have a free-wheeling reputation, but in reality, the city is very safe. Despite some problems with petty theft that are easily avoidable with common sense, the crime rate is low, and most tourists leave with only positive experiences.