Amsterdam Code of Conduct

Amsterdam has long been a city with freedom, positivity and tolerance at its heart. But with freedom comes responsibility, and tolerance goes hand in hand with respect. Find out how to get the best out of Amsterdam without getting on the nerves of the locals and other visitors, or landing yourself one of these hefty fines.

Enjoy and respect

Amsterdam's historic centre is a place where families live and communities thrive. Residents live harmoniously alongside visitors; as long as the visitors are able to behave with respect and decorum. It’s a two-way thing. You respect our city, we’ll respect you. The more social responsibility you show, the better your experience will be. Respect our residents and keep your noise to a minimum. Put your litter in the bins and don’t soil people’s doorsteps. Act like a grown-up and let people go about their lives in peace.

Amsterdam is for everyone

Amsterdam is a famously easy-going city with room for everybody, regardless of your nationality, political beliefs or sexual preference. Visitors and residents are free to be who they want to be, and have their views and choices respected. Hate crimes against members of the LGBTI community, other minority communities or religions will never, ever be tolerated.

A few tips to take into account ahead of your visit to Amsterdam: 

Public urinals

No matter how much you need to go, public urination is illegal in Amsterdam. If you are caught you will be fined €140. Public urinals are widely available in Amsterdam, and many bars and restaurants would be happy to let you use their facilities rather than urinating on the street outside or in somebody's doorway. Here's a handy map of public urinals in Amsterdam.     

Keep it safe

Amsterdam prides itself on being a safe city, but remember to take extra precautions when you’re out and about. Only carry small amounts of cash, don’t leave drinks unattended and remain alert to pickpockets. It's also good to understand the laws around alcohol, drugs and prostitution to ensure that your visit to the Netherlands is as fun, safe and worry-free as possible.

Public nuisance fines in Amsterdam

Nobody wants to spend their travelling budget on police fines. But of course it’s your choice. Here’s what you’ll have to cough up if you decide to break the code of conduct.

Public urination, defecation or vomiting: €140

Definition: Urinating, defecating or vomiting in a public place  

Drunkenness: €95

Definition: Being drunk in public spaces such as streets, parks and squares. Please note that it is forbidden to drink alcohol in public or carry open cans and bottles of alcoholic drinks in some parts of the city, including the Red Light District, Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. 

Noise: €140

Definition: Disturbing the peace of local residents

Littering: €140

Definition: Dropping/leaving litter in public spaces such as streets, parks and squares

Social conduct in Amsterdam

Health & safety

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.

Red Light District

Amsterdam red light district
Leaving nothing to the imagination, some stereotypes about this area are true. But there are certain rules in place to ensure the safety of prostitutes and visitors to the Red Light District.

Coffeeshops

Amsterdam canal at night Andrew Stripp Photography
In Amsterdam, smoking cannabis or hashish is permitted in the city's coffeeshops. Visitors should keep in mind that other establishments generally do not allow the consumption of soft drugs on their premises.

Avoiding pickpockets

Tram stop Leidseplein Amsterdam
As with any major city, it’s important to remain vigilant and aware of pickpockets while in Amsterdam.

Drug safety in Amsterdam

The use of drugs is never without risk. If you choose to use drugs, it’s good to be aware of these risks.

Police stations

If you have been a victim of a crime or lost your passport, it is important to report this. Here is a list of police stations in Amsterdam.