Is Amsterdam safe?

by Tanja
Is Amsterdam safe?

Is Amsterdam safe for tourists? Yes. Amsterdam is not dangerous. But how safe is Amsterdam exactly? In this article, you read everything about safety and how to stay safe in Amsterdam: the bad areas of Amsterdam, murder and crime rate and how to stay safe when you travel to Amsterdam.

How safe is Amsterdam?

Yes, Amsterdam is the safest city in Europe! According to The Economist Safe City Index 2019. In the 1980s Amsterdam was a city full of crime, drug abuse and danger. But it’s a totally different city now! Amsterdam is now totally safe.

Is Amsterdam safe at night?

Amsterdam is reasonably safe at night. But always remember that crime tends to take place at night in calm areas where no one can see you or help you. For women and men, take my advice: don’t walk alone in the park at night.

Is Amsterdam safe for tourists?

Amsterdam has a very high density of tourists. And where there are tourists, there are thieves. Pickpocketing happens a lot in Amsterdam, especially in the summer.

Robbings don’t happen very often in Amsterdam. Statistics show that on average there are five robbings in the streets of Amsterdam per day. In most of these cases, people were robbed of their mobile phones. Most of the victims of these crimes are teenagers. When anyone confronts you violently, give your belongings without hesitation. Please remember: it’s only stuff that can be replaced. Your health is more valuable.

The Red Light District is not very safe.
The Red Light District in Amsterdam.

Areas where you need to watch your bags and pockets

Favorite places for pickpocketing in are in the trains that run between Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and Central Station. Other places of high pickpocketing in Amsterdam: Central Station, Damrak (between Central Station and Dam Square), Red Light District, Kalverstraat shopping street, (getting in and out of) trams, buses and metros, the hotel lobby, restaurants and bars. Pickpockets are also there where there are many people: at festivals and large events.

Tips to avoid pickpocketing in Amsterdam

  1. Always keep your bag close to your body and close.
  2. Don’t use a big wallet. Don’t carry more money than you need.
  3. Don’t leave your bag or jacket with a wallet or phone unattended in the dressing room of a shop, a fast-food restaurant, bar or club (all clubs offer paid cloakrooms) or hanging from a baby stroller.
  4. Pickpockets either try to get into your bag or pocket when you are distracted or they try to distract you. Be very careful when you are a tourist and someone asks you directions. You probably look like a tourist so why would anyone approach you to ask directions?

Is Amsterdam safe for female solo travelers?

Yes, Amsterdam is a safe place to visit, also when you are a girl traveling alone.

What are the bad areas in Amsterdam?

Most of the crimes in Amsterdam happen in the center of the city. Crime is high in the Red Light District, but this is a mostly invisible crime: women trafficking, prostitutes working for pimps (which is illegal), whitewashing of money in shady snack bars, dirty sex clubs, and dodgy coffee shops.

The dangers in the Red Light District for tourists come mostly from other tourists. About half of the suspects who commit crimes in the Amsterdam Red Light District don’t live in Amsterdam. They are here on holiday, get drunk and start a fight.

Safety index of Amsterdam neighborhoods 2018: from red (less safe) to green (safer). Source:

Apart from the city center, Slotermeer in the West of Amsterdam and parts of South-East are the unsafest areas in Amsterdam. These are areas with a lot of social housing, low-income families, immigrants, poverty and social problems. Although these areas are ‘bad’, they are not unsafe and as a tourist, it is safe to travel there also.

Are there many murders in Amsterdam?

No, there are not a lot of murders in Amsterdam. Most murders are carried out between criminal groups in organized crime. In 2018, a total of 13 people were murdered. A fair amount of these victims were criminals as well and they were killed by another criminal.

European homicide rate. Source:

In The Netherlands in general, homicide is not common. By comparison: In the United States, 5,27 people in 100.000 are murdered every year. That’s higher than countries like Iraq and Iran. With 0.9 murders per 100.000, The Netherlands is one of the safest countries in the world.

Theft from your parked car in Amsterdam

Leaving your car parked in Amsterdam is already expensive, but if you do, make sure you empty out the car completely. Any visible objects in the car (especially if it’s rental or a foreign number plate) will let a thieve know there something worthwhile inside. All the cars are very easy to open. Even ‘secure’ park&ride car parks will not guarantee that your car is safe.

Getting your bike stolen in Amsterdam

Not surprising in a city with more than 800.000 bikes, bike theft is the biggest crime in Amsterdam. Most Amsterdam people lose on average 2 bikes a year.

Is Amsterdam safe? Not for bikes.
Remains of a bike not properly locked…

How to avoid getting a bike stolen in Amsterdam

  1. Always use two different locks. Get at least one really good bike lock. A good bike lock is a steel chain and will cost at least 30 euros!
  2. Don’t use U-shaped locks. 
  3. Always attach the frame to a bike rack or pole. 
  4. If you have two bikes, don’t attach them to each other, unless you really want to help out the thieve.
  5. There are many bike parks in the city where your bike is safe and dry. The thieve follows the market: popular bikes (like ‘grandpa style’ bikes, shiny new bikes or bikes with accessories) are easy to sell and so more popular among thieves. And oh yeah, try to remember what your bike looks like to explain the police or get a frame number.

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1 comment

kees May 26, 2018 - 19:54

Amsterdam Southeast is spread out over a big area where some boroughs are not safe at night (some parts of Bijlmer). However crime rates in other parts like Gaasperdam are significant lower than like in Bos en Lommer.