Police and safety regulation
Police officers and enforcement are working to help make Amsterdam a safe and secure place. Read on for more info about crime reporting, avoiding pickpockets and other safety precautions.
Report a crime
In emergency situations or to report a crime in progress, call 112. If you are a victim of a 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 search tool for police station locations.
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). There is also an anonymous tip-line to report crimes via 0800 7000.
Fines for violations of law
Please be aware of the law, and the on-the-spot fines for unacceptable behaviour as follows:
- €150 for public urination
- €150 for littering
- €150 for noise pollution
- €100 for drunkenness
Sleeping in a vehicle is not permitted in Amsterdam for your own safety. A fine of € 140 can be imposed.
Traffic and road safety
Amsterdam's narrow 17th-century streets and canals were not built with cars in mind. In the popular districts, crowds of pedestrians and cyclists also make driving conditions difficult for those new to the city. It is recommended to make use of the parking garages and park & ride facilities outside of the city centre, which offer excellent public transport connections. Read more about parking your car in Amsterdam and be sure to stay on the right side of the road.
As in all major cities, pickpockets are typically active in crowded places and cafés, bars and restaurants. Pickpockets are known to target major events. 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).
Watch out for: Anyone attempting to distract you by pushing or touching you, often while asking for something such as a cigarette lighter or directions. A lot of the time pickpockets work in teams, look at each other and use signals to communicate. If a stranger is talking to you, be aware that it may be a form of distraction for his partner to pickpocket you.
Precautions for mobile phone thefts: Always take note of the IMEI number of your phone and report a phone theft immediately to the police so they can put this serial number in a national database for stolen phones. Install a 'find my phone' app on your smartphone, so its location can be traced.
Lost and found
Have you lost your passport, wallet or other items? Or maybe you have found somebody else's lost belongings? The Lost and Found office in central Amsterdam should be your first stop. Keep in mind that it usually takes three business days for an object to be registered at the Lost and Found Office.Report a lost or found item online
- If you've lost something in Amsterdam, you can:
- visit the Lost and Found Office at Leidseplein (Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 52), Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 16.00.
- Go to the website and send an email or fill out the form.
- Call +31 20 251 0222, Monday to Friday from 12.00 to 16.00.
- For lost keys and umbrellas, do not call or email the Lost and Found Office. Please drop by the office at Korte Leidsedwartsstraat 52. Lost keys are kept for ten weeks.
- If you lose your bank card, report this immediately to your bank.
- If you lose your passport, identity card, drivers licence or foreigner's identity document, you must report this to the police.
- Found bicycles are taken to the Bicycle Depot (web page in Dutch) at Bornhout 8, 1046 BE.
- If your object is found, you can collect it at the Lost and Found Office on weekdays. You must first be able to describe the lost object. If you have a picture, send it to us or bring it over. If an object has been found that matches your description and you recognise it as your property, you can reclaim it if you show a valid identity document.
Some places in Amsterdam can get crowded, especially on weekends or during holiday periods. Leave when it gets too crowded. If you want to avoid crowded places in advance, read our guide to avoid busy areas and peak times.
Enforcement officials in Amsterdam
A common sight in Amsterdam, particularly around busier public spaces, train stations and in public transport, municipal enforcement officials (handhavers) represent the City of Amsterdam and are a visual presence on the streets, working to help make the city a safe and secure place. These enforcement officers are recognisable in their blue uniforms, with 'Handhaving' clearly written across the back and a reflective strip across the chest showing a black-and-white chequered design commonly associated with law enforcement (see the photo above).
The municipal enforcement officials are always happy to stop and assist locals and tourists on the streets of Amsterdam, be it to help with directions or questions about specific municipal matters. Examples of their daily tasks include issues such as car parking, illegal waste dumping, nuisance behaviour and illegal bike/scooter parking. They also have the power to request identification or issue fines/warnings for petty offences – in doing so, they free up the police to deal with more serious crimes. In matters of unsafe situations or illegality, the municipal enforcement officers can help to notify the correct authorities or the police. Learn more about the roles of the enforcement officers (in Dutch).
Valid proof of identity
Every resident of the Netherlands must be able to provide proof of identity to police or other officials on request. So when you’re out and about in Amsterdam, don’t forget to take valid identification with you.
Which documents count as valid identification depends on where you’re from. For EU or EEA citizens, a passport or driving licence is a valid proof of identity. If you come from a country outside the EU or EEA, you have to present your residence permit (verblijfsvergunning or verblijfsdocument).
The requirement to present identification applies to residents of the Netherlands that are over 13 years old. Police and other officials (such as traffic wardens or customs officials) may ask for it and if you fail to present the right documents you risk having to pay a fine.
The majority of foreign nationals wishing to stay in the Netherlands for up to three months require a short stay visa or Schengen visa (Schengenvisum). Foreign nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland as well as some other countries are exempt from the visa requirement. Read more about the visa specifications on our dedicated visa requirement page.