Is Amsterdam safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide

Published by: Bounce12 February, 2023
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Known for its amazing architecture, breathtaking canals and interesting museums, Amsterdam is called a cultural hub for its vibrant art and music scene. Tourists love the rich history of the city and the easygoing, laid-back way the locals face the day. But, is Amsterdam safe to visit? Generally, it is one of the safest cities in Europe and most travelers have no problems.

Amsterdam is safe for tourists and when you vacation here, you'll be both happy and well entertained. Close to 900,000 people call this fantastic city home, and about 5 million tourists come to see the sights every year. There are still pickpockets and other petty crimes that tourists fall victim to, so even the most experienced traveler should stay alert and use an Amsterdam luggage storage locker to keep belongings secure.

Locals are known for being friendly and most do speak some English. Generally, Amsterdam locals are willing to chat and help you find your way through the city. Amsterdam is not a dangerous city but in the high peak tourism season of summertime, you still want to stay on your toes.

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Is Amsterdam safe to visit right now?

Before you visit Amsterdam, check your country’s official travel guidelines for the Netherlands and follow any safety protocols that have been put in place. The Netherlands has a Global Peace Index of 21, meaning you can feel pretty comfortable about making travel plans.

When you're visiting Amsterdam, see the wonderful sights and keep your belongings close. Stow large bags in a Bounce storage locker for peace of mind and ease of getting around. Why carry more than you have to? Pickpocketing is common, especially in high-traffic tourist areas. Unsavory characters offering to sell stolen goods or drugs are also common.

So while Amsterdam safety won't be at the top of your travel planning, no guide is perfect. We recommend you do additional research before you pack your bags for this terrific destination.

Top petty crimes and scams in Amsterdam affecting tourists

Using common sense and following travel safety tips will keep you secure and at ease when exploring an unfamiliar city. The selling of drugs and stolen goods, as well as pickpocketing, are mostly what you'll see here. Overall, though, Amsterdam is a very safe city.


Pickpockets will look for well-to-do tourists with name-brand clothing and accessories as opposed to tourists who don't display a lot of flashy jewelry or high-end clothing. Ladies should use a crossbody purse that can be pulled in front of them when in a crowd and men should keep their wallets in their front pockets.

Don't carry all your cash in one place on your person; in other words, don't put all your travel funds in your wallet. Carry a small amount of cash, and use your credit card to avoid being targeted for having cash on your person. Jewelry should not be flaunted—many people choose to wear inexpensive costume jewelry when they travel.

Petty thieves riding on scooters are very common in Amsterdam. Keep your bag close and be aware of your surroundings. Scooters will zip by with the rider grabbing your bag or purse and speeding off. On the tram, keep your bags on your lap or right next to you with your hand on them to ward off pickpockets and thieves. An even better solution is to store your bags with Bounce.

Stolen goods and drugs

Always avoid any type of deal that is too good to be true. Don't buy goods from people off the street unless they have an actual booth or kiosk. Stay on the main streets and avoid taking side streets, especially at night. People selling stolen goods in back alleys are very common in Amsterdam.

Drugs are another problem in Amsterdam. While some of the lower-end drugs such as magic mushrooms and marijuana are generally tolerated by the police, it is illegal to use or possess any hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine. Drug dealers will target younger tourists.

Don't leave your drink unattended as drink spiking is a common practice in crowded areas such as bars and clubs. If you feel uncomfortable around someone, move away from them but leave your drink and order another. Don't accept drinks from anyone but the server or bartender.

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Is Amsterdam safe to travel alone

With a rating of 9 on the Bounce Women Travel Safety Index, the Netherlands is one of the top European countries to travel to. Amsterdam is one of the safest European cities, and solo women travelers will love this popular tourist destination. Women traveling alone should be confident, but when you're in congested touristy areas, look for a police officer in the crowd in case you find yourself needing help.

While the city is safe, avoid dimly-lit streets late at night, especially in the Red Light District where crowds tend to gather. Learn a few important Dutch phrases in case you do need help. While most locals know a little English, they may not fully understand your needs so having a basic understanding of Dutch can come in handy. Always trust your instincts and if someone is making you uncomfortable, remove yourself from the situation. Don't make yourself an easy target.

Safest neighborhoods in Amsterdam

Just like with any city, Amsterdam neighborhoods come in all shapes and sizes. There are those that are great to visit and there are those that are unsavory and you want to steer clear of, especially at night. When looking for accommodations, look in the safest neighborhoods.

Old Centrum

Filled with old-world charm, Old Centrum is perfect for travelers wanting to do a lot of sightseeing. This neighborhood has a lot of modern amenities, great attractions, delicious restaurants, and adorable shops. History lovers will want to stay in this neighborhood to learn more about the city’s storied past.


Some travelers need to stay close to public transportation or even the airport. If that is the case, Zuid is the neighborhood for you. While it is close to the airport, it also has several things to see and do. You can wander into other parts of the city by using public transport and easily get back to your hotel in Zuid at the end of the day.


When you're looking for family-friendly fun, Oost is the neighborhood for you. This neighborhood is walking friendly and there are many places that welcome the entire family. Cafes along the way cater to young families and there are parks and playgrounds for the little ones to play.


Budget-friendly accommodations and restaurants are what make Haarlem the ideal place for travelers looking to explore Amsterdam without breaking the bank. Open spaces, bright and inviting eateries and shops, and friendly locals make Haarlem a fantastic place to visit.

In contrast, you may want to skip the Red Light District, known for being a beehive of illegal activity. Still, if you really want to experience the sights and sounds of this bustling area, make your stop there with friends. Zeedijik, in the heart of Chinatown, should be visited during the day and with a group. Amsterdam Zuidoost, also called Amsterdam Southeast, is also an area for daytime excursions.

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Is Amsterdam public transportation safe?

For the most part, Amsterdam's public transport is safe for tourists aside from the petty thieves that try to pickpocket. Central Station is a great place to visit and a popular place for Amsterdam residents to go to make their way through the city.

Uber is another way to make your way through the city and all you need is your phone with the app installed and money in your bank account. Uber allows you to pay in-app so you don't need cash, you can track your journey, and you know who your driver is.

Licensed taxis are safe in Amsterdam, but there are several illegal taxis in the city. Licensed taxis have blue number plates and a light on the roof that has the taxi company’s name. Ask your hotel to recommend a taxi company.

The metro, buses, and trams all run from 6:00 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. and they don't accept cash so you'll need to get an OV-chipkaar to ride public transport. There is also a ferry that gets you across the River Amstel to visit Amsterdam Nord. You can catch the ferry behind Central Station for free.

Amsterdam is a cyclist-friendly city but unlike the United States, cyclists don't have the right of way. You can rent a bike and see Amsterdam as many locals do. Keep an eye on your bicycle as bike theft is a thing, and getting your mode of transport stolen is not fun. You'll have to pay for a stolen bike if the bike rental company finds you negligent.

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Important emergency numbers in Amsterdam

When you're traveling to Amsterdam, keep these important emergency numbers handy. Have your country's embassy number and address with your official documents and also with your belongings.

  • Netherlands country code: +31
  • Emergency number: 112
  • Hearing impaired emergency number: 0800 8112
  • Non-emergencies: 0900 8844
  • Hearing impaired for non-emergencies: 0900 1844

Staying safe in Amsterdam

Solo travelers will feel they are in the safest city in the Netherlands when they explore this large city. Overall, your personal safety is the most important thing. Read our guide, Where to Stay in Amsterdam: The Ultimate Guide and also How to Get Around Amsterdam to ensure you have a fabulous time.

Experienced travelers will have visited several cities in the world and will see all this city offers in the way of safety. It is one of the safest European capitals for not just female travelers but everyone, as long as they take normal precautions and choose accommodations wisely.

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