Home CITY TOUR Dangerous neighbourhoods and safety in Amsterdam

Dangerous neighbourhoods and safety in Amsterdam

Dangerous neighbourhoods and safety in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Safety: Which neighbourhoods are dangerous in Amsterdam?

Regarding popular destinations for city trips, the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, is one of them. With its many canals, the city presents itself to its visitors as cosmopolitan and tolerant. It is multicultural, and although it has the most problems with crime and misdemeanours in all Dutch cities, violent crime is generally rare.

To ensure you don’t fall victim to pickpocketing or other forms of insecurity when traveling to the most populous city in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, I’ll give you some tips and information on security below.

Amsterdam Security: General tips

In Amsterdam, high-security standards at the train station and airport are associated with appropriate measures. For this reason, you should allow extra time if you are arriving and departing by train or plane.

Cash and ID cards

📄 As in many large cities, Amsterdam also has a risk of theft. If you have access to a hotel safe, you are therefore well advised to keep your valuables there. This also applies to important documents such as your passport, ID card, or flight ticket. It is advisable to carry a copy of such documents with you. This is always sufficient for a routine check. It also makes the work of the police easier if original documents have yet to be stolen.

It is not necessary to take large sums of cash with you when visiting Amsterdam. You can pay everywhere by EC card or credit card, even for smaller amounts. There are also plenty of ATMs.

Watch out for tourist traps

🚲 It would help to carry as little cash as possible, especially in busy tourist areas. Always watch bags, hand luggage, and other valuable items, and keep them from being unattended anywhere. Be careful if you are offered a bicycle for sale on the street.

As a rule, these are stolen bikes. Indeed, buying such a bike is only considered a trivial offence. Nevertheless, nobody wants to do business with thieves. Some neighbourhoods are not necessarily known for high security and should be avoided. You can find out what these are in the next section.

Which neighbourhoods you’d better avoid

Which neighbourhoods you'd better avoid

📍 Oude Zijde – Here, you can find information about Amsterdam’s world-famous red light district. When asked about unsafe neighbourhoods with a high incidence of theft and petty crime, Oude Zijde is often mentioned first in connection with Amsterdam. Oude Zijde is located east of the Damrak, near the Dam, Amsterdam’s main central square. The Zeedijk red-light district is an entertainment district and therefore offers potential for crime, so anyone staying in the area should read my advice on rules of conduct in Amsterdam’s red-light district.

📍 Niewe ZijdeOpposite the Damrak (a street leading from the central station towards the city centre) is the Nieuwe Zijde. There are numerous places to go out, such as In de Wildemann, which also increases the risk of criminal activity.

📍 Bloemenmarkt – The Bloemenmarkt, Singel, 1012 DH Amsterdam, and the area around the Anne Frank House at Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam, are also among the critical locations in the city. In addition to neighbourhoods that should be avoided, streetcar lines 1, 2, and 5 are also classified as essential.

Social hotspots in the city

Certain entertainment districts are only one of the places that should be avoided. Areas considered social hotspots are also only sometimes suitable for a safe stroll. Bijlmermeer is one of these hotspots. The neighbourhood has now developed into an immigrant district. For many, this is a reason to put it in this category.

However, according to corresponding figures, other areas are also classified as questionable regarding security. These include the Amstel III en Bullewijk, where Amsterdam’s largest hospital and the Amsterdam ArenA are located, and the Nieuwendammerham industrial area in the Amsterdam-Noord district. There are no tourist destinations in these areas, so it is easy to avoid staying here.

No chance for pickpockets and car thieves

No chance for pickpockets and car thieves

💰 Pickpocketing is widespread in Amsterdam. But there are a few ways to make it difficult or even impossible for the so-called Zakkenrollers to empty your pockets. Anyone can be a thief. Many tricks take advantage of the innocent appearance of mothers with baby carriages or small children, for example. Crowds of people attract pickpockets, who operate in different ways. It is, therefore, advisable to avoid them. Of course, this is only sometimes possible. In this case, you should refrain from carrying valuables and large sums of cash.

Pickpocketing can also occur more frequently in small alleyways. It would help if you were particularly careful here in the evening. Carrying a wallet in the back pocket of your pants or somewhere in your coat practically invites pickpockets to help themselves to your purse. It is safer to have it close to the front of your body. You should also always carry bags and rucksacks facing forwards. Fanny packs or breast pouches, which are hidden under your clothing, offer even more security.

🚗 Car thieves – Besides thieves who get rich by pickpocketing, car thieves are also active in Amsterdam. They mainly target cars with foreign licence plates. Vehicles are, therefore, safest parked in busy and well-lit streets or in one of the guarded parking garages, where you can book a secure parking space in advance for your stay in Amsterdam. Another safety precaution is not to leave large sums of money or valuable items in the car. If you fall victim to theft despite all your safety precautions, you should always contact the police for insurance reasons.

Important telephone numbers

It is advisable to have certain telephone numbers and contact details to hand when travelling.

👮 PoliceAs described above, the police must be informed immediately in the event of theft. You can reach them on 0900 88 44. If it is an emergency, the fire department, police and ambulance can be reached on 112.

🚑 Doctor or pharmacyAre you looking for the nearest doctor, dentist, or pharmacy? Then take a look at www.doktorsdienst.info.

🆘 Emergency callsFor example, blocking credit cards is essential if you lose your credit card or cell phone. A call to +49 116 116 will help you to make the appropriate blocks.

Amsterdam Security: What else is important and worth knowing?

If you travel by car, you should know that parking in the city centre can be expensive. Parking spaces are rare and can cost as much as 5.00 euros per hour if you don’t want to walk too far. There are payment machines everywhere where you can park on the street for a fee. It is important to note that (with a few exceptions) payment is only possible by debit or credit card. Alternatively, you can cycle or take the streetcar into the city centre. Amsterdam has a perfect public transport system, which you can read in a separate article.

In the Netherlands, invoices always include the final amount, including VAT. This is, of course, also the case in Amsterdam. A 10% tip is considered appropriate for good service, which the guest adds to the final bill. This guideline can also be applied to a cab ride. Learning about the customs in another country or a foreign city before you leave is always a good idea. For your city trip to Amsterdam, you can know more about this under Tips & Rules of Conduct in the Tips & Info section.

If you take the above tips to heart, nothing will stand in the way of a great stay in Amsterdam without pickpocketing or other incidents. The safety tips say that a certain amount of caution never hurts. After all, it’s no more dangerous here than in other big cities.


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