Amsterdam is a popular destination with visitors bustling, vibrant and packed with things to see and do. Known for its legalization of prostitution and relaxed attitude to cannabis, this laid-back city is pretty safe, with little in the way of violent crime. However, it’s always wise to be cautious when on holiday so follow these simple tips to make sure you stay safe during your trip.
Watch Your Back
Violent crime is thankfully not very common in Amsterdam but take a few simple precautions to avoid becoming the victim of any petty crimes. Keep to the busy centre of town rather than venturing out into the less populated suburbs. Stick to main roads rather than narrow side streets, particularly at night. Amsterdam has a complex network of roads, canals and bike paths and it is easy to become disorientated, especially in the dark.
Pickpockets target the busy areas such as museums and train stations, so keep your belongings close by at all times. A locked bag or travel pouch you can attach to your body can help keep your money and passports safe. Empty your pockets of any valuables before hanging your jacket on a chair back and try to avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
Be Bike Aware
Amsterdam is a beautiful city and one of the best ways to explore it is on a bicycle, which you can easily hire anywhere. However, it’s worth being mindful that there are literally bikes everywhere, so take extra care when crossing the road and only do so at a dedicated crossing. Make sure you can identify the narrow bike lanes that traverse the city so you don’t end up walking in one by accident. Bicycle theft can be an issue so always lock yours up when not in use. And finally, if you decide to have a go yourself, don’t forget your helmet.
Red Light, Green Light
Many visitors are fascinated by Amsterdam’s “Red light” district, so-called because of the services offered from behind windows and doors illuminated with red light bulbs. The largest of these designated areas is De Wallen, also known as Rosse Buurt, where there are several hundred apartments rented by legal prostitutes. This area is actually relatively low in crime as there is an increased police presence but even so, there are still several things to consider in order to keep yourself safe.
Tempting as it may be, photography is firmly discouraged. The area is packed with bouncers who don’t take kindly to this and you could find yourself on the receiving end of some trouble. Women walking through the district may attract unwanted attention so if this is likely to make you feel uncomfortable, it’s best to avoid visiting this area at night, especially on your own. Finally, be aware that this area is popular with pickpockets taking advantage of tourists’ distraction keep your belongings and your wits about you.
Don’t Be A Dope
There’s a common misconception that cannabis is legal in Amsterdam. Whilst it is permitted to purchase cannabis in the city’s special coffee shops, it is still an illegal drug if bought elsewhere and carries the risk of an arrest. Never buy any drugs on the street not only is it an offence but many are fake products or cut with toxic substances that could lead to health problems.
A visit to Amsterdam is an exciting experience like no other, by following these simple tips you’ll keep yourself safe and you’re sure to have a good time.