Amsterdam is renowned for its friendly, welcoming ambience and prides itself on being a safe city. However, in order to ensure they enjoy their time in the city to the fullest, visitors are advised to keep a number of health & safety considerations in mind and remain alert to petty crime.
As in all major cities, pickpockets are typically active in crowded places and cafés, bars and restaurants. Pickpockets are known to target major events (especially during the summer season) and the Museum District, as well as public transport (especially trams and train services between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Amsterdam Central Station). Mind your belongings carefully – take extra care of valuable items such as smartphones –
,and if possible, leave your valuables in a safety deposit box or safe at your hotel, or a locker at the station. It’s advisable to keep the amount of cash you carry with you to a minimum. If you are the victim of pickpocketing, report it to the police (see below).
If you are a victim of crime, report it to the police. Either report the crime online via the (website in Dutch) or in person at a police station in the city (by appointment). The Dutch police website offers a map of police station locations. In emergency situations or to report a crime in progress, call 112. For non-emergency situations requiring police assistance or to make an appointment to report a crime in person, call 0900-8844 (if using a mobile phone with an international SIM card please dial +31 343 578 844).
The consumption of alcohol is prohibited in the majority of public places in the city centre but you are naturally welcome to visit one Amsterdam’s many bars. Never combine drugs with alcohol. For more information about health matters in the city, contact the Public Health Service of Amsterdam.
For serious drug and alcohol-related emergencies, seek immediate medical assistance. In the Netherlands, you cannot be prosecuted for offences related to taking drugs subsequent to visiting the emergency department.
Purchasing and smoking soft drugs such as cannabis is only permitted in coffeeshops; individuals (aged 18 and above) are permitted to purchase a maximum of five grammes a day. Purchasing or selling hard drugs such as ecstasy (MDMA), heroin and cocaine is illegal. Visitors are advised to ignore street dealers, as they can become aggressive and often sell fake or unsafe drugs.
If you are planning on trying soft drugs, research the subject in advance. Exercise caution and never combine drugs with alcohol. The Jellinek website is a valuable source of information
Window brothels, sex clubs and escort agencies can operate legally if they have been granted the relevant permits by the City of Amsterdam. Everyone is welcome to visit the Red Light District, although if touring the area, be respectful and don’t take photographs or record videos. If you decide to visit a prostitute, practice safe sex and never deal with prostitutes under 21 years of age. Forced prostitution is an extremely serious crime. Remain vigilant to indications of forced prostitution (such as anxiety, bruises or willingness to have intercourse without a condom) and report any suspicions to the police by calling 0900-8844 /+31 343 578 844 or anonymously on 0800-7000 (from a Dutch phone).
For emergency visits to your hotel room, telephone consultation and consultations on location, contact the hotel reception or call the tourist doctor on +31 (0)20 427 5011. Fees are determined by the national GP association and are covered by most travel and medical insurances.
Useful phone numbers
Emergency (police, ambulance, fire): 112
Police (theft and other queries): 0900-8844 / +31 343 578 844
Tourist doctor: +31 (0)20 427 5011.