Amsterdam has a reputation as one of the most liberal cities on the planet. However as with any other major city, the visitor to Amsterdam should be aware of what not to do!
Read on for 5 practical tips on How To Stay Safe In Amsterdam.
Before you dive in to this post we want to assure you that Amsterdam is one of the safest cities you will ever visit. Being aware of possible pitfalls will go some way to insure you’ll remember your visit to Amsterdam for all the right reasons.
1. Be Careful Where You Point That Camera
Any tourist worth their salt will obviously be keen to capture all Amsterdam has to offer. From the historic canals to the magnificent architecture, the Dutch capital has more than enough to keep any avid snapper happy.
The one big ‘no-no’ here is taking photos of the prostitutes in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.
Neither the ladies who occupy the red light windows of the city or the bouncers who protect them will take kindly to anybody taking pictures. Even if you try to explain the artistic merits of your photos!
2. Beware The Bike
At the last count there are almost 500,000 cyclists in Amsterdam. No surprise then that biking is THE number one means of getting around the city.
As the bike is king in Amsterdam this naturally makes the pedestrian the pauper. Do not walk on the cycle paths for any extended period. Even better, stay off them all together! They are usually well-marked with red tarmac and should be treated as you would treat any road or highway.
If for some reason you find yourself walking on a ‘fietspad’ (bicycle lane) don’t be surprised if you are accosted by irate cyclists. Also keep in mind that the ringing of a cyclists bell is akin to the horn of a car; basically a warning to get out-of-the-way!
If you intend to take the plunge and see the city on a bike, it is advisable to do so with an experienced tour guide.
3. Do Not Buy Drugs On The Street
Whatever your views on drugs there is no getting away from the fact that many tourists come to Amsterdam to get high.
The rules here are very simple! Only ever use licensedCoffeeshops to buy marijuana. Only use marijuana on these licensed premises or in a private residency. Otherwise you will be breaking the law.
And never, under any circumstances, purchase drugs on the streets.
Buying drugs on the streets is illegal, dangerous and downright stupid. Don’t do it!
4. Do Not Use Hotel Or Taxi ‘Runners’
If for whatever reason you arrive in Amsterdam without having pre-booked either a hotel or taxi, the most useful advice is not to be tempted by hotel or taxi ‘runners.’ They will see you coming and more often than not leave you at best severely out-of-pocket.
Yes, they may have a convincing tale to tell but as always, if something sounds to good to be true, it usually is. You will be quoted low and charged high (or worse!).
Don’t fall for it!
Book your hotel in advance and if you need to take a taxi, ONLY ever use an official taxi operator.
5. Do As Any Traveller Always Should
Be prepared and use your common sense!
Pre-arrange travel insurance. Never carry more cash than needed. Using a credit card? One is enough. Never leave your luggage, bags or other belongings unattended. Make colour copies of important travel/ID documents.
There is no foolproof formula on how to stay safe in Amsterdam but if you Plan, prepare and be aware, your visit to this wonderful city will be one you’ll never forget and for all the right reasons!
Do you have any tips on how to stay safe in Amsterdam? Please feel free to add to this list in the comments section.