Tips for avoiding pickpockets in Amsterdam
As with any major city, it’s important to remain vigilant and aware of pickpockets while in Amsterdam. This is especially important while attending major events like King’s Day, Amsterdam Pride and New Year's Eve, when the city’s bars, cafes and public spaces are more crowded than usual and offer a happy hunting ground for petty criminals.
Having your belongings stolen is a distressing experience for anyone, so don’t let pickpockets spoil your fun. Follow these simple tips to keep your valuables safe, secure, and out of the reach of thieves.
Carry only what you need
If you haven’t got it, they can’t take it. Leave valuables at home or securely stored in your hotel room and take only the minimum amount of cash out with you.
Be careful with cash
Anybody could be watching as you withdraw your cash from the ATM or remove your money from your wallet to make a purchase. Always be discreet with your cash by storing it safely away before you leave the ATM or counter, and never count your cash in public.
Thief-proof your bag
Make it as difficult as possible for pickpockets to get to your valuables. If possible, wear a money belt to safeguard your cash and cards under your clothing. Secure your handbag by keeping it fastened at all times, shortening the strap and wearing it across your body. If you’re carrying a rucksack through a crowded place, wear it on your front.
No phones at the table
This isn’t just good manners, it’s also a sensible way to stop your phone from being pinched. Phones left out on the table are easy pickings for professional thieves, so always keep your phone safely stored away in a zipped section of your bag or an inside pocket when you’re not using it.
Don’t leave your bag unattended
Bags left hanging off the back of chairs or placed under the table are just crying out to be stolen. Keep your bag secured by looping the strap around a table leg or chair and always make sure it’s fastened tightly.
Always be vigilant
Pickpockets and bag snatchers use all sorts of techniques and tricks to try and part you from your belongings. Watch out for any seemingly helpful stranger who finds a reason to come too close, and remember that pickpockets often work in pairs. If a stranger is talking to you, be aware that it may be a form of distraction for their partner to pickpocket you.
Stay alert on public transport
Pickpockets have been known to target tourists on trams, buses and ferries in Amsterdam, taking advantage of the crowded situations and the fact that people are often distracted by their journey planning. So be extra vigilant while travelling by public transport.
Don’t leave your wallet in your back pocket
In fact, don’t put anything in your back pocket. Keep your belongings zipped up in internal pockets at all times.
What to do if you do get pickpocketed in Amsterdam
Report the incident to the nearest police (politie) officer or a municipal enforcement official as soon as you can. This page provides details on how to report a crime to the police.