Is Amsterdam safe to travel? Yes. Amsterdam is not dangerous. In the Safe City Index 2017 Amsterdam takes the 6th position in the list of safest cities in the world (2017). Though you can buy marihuana freely in coffee shops, smart drugs in smart shops and prostitution is legal, there is not a lot of crime in Amsterdam. Since 2015 the crime rate in Amsterdam is falling.
Crime in Amsterdam
There is not much crime in Amsterdam, but tourist must be aware that they can be a victim of thieves and pick pocketing. That’s because tourists tend to carry a lot of cash with them, they are in unfamiliar terrain and in busy areas and they are easily distracted.
Though Amsterdam is no Barcelona or Rome (true pickpocket havens), Amsterdam, with its high density of tourism, there is crime in Amsterdam. Pickpocketing happens a lot in Amsterdam, especially in the summer.
Is the Amsterdam Red Light District safe?
Most of the crimes in Amsterdam happen in the center of the city, in the Red Light District. Organised crime is high here, with women trafficking, prostitutes working for pimps (which is illegal), white washing of money in shady snackbars, dirty sex clubs and dodgy coffee shops. This is the type of crime that tourists will not easily see.
The danger of the Red Light District for tourists comes 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.
Is Amsterdam dangerous?
For people just walking around, the red light area in Amsterdam is not very dangerous. There is not much street crime in the Amsterdam red light area, probably because it’s always so busy and there are a lot of police cameras. Is the red light district in Amsterdam safe? Yes, but statistics prove that the Red Light District in Amsterdam is the unsafest area for tourists, mostly due to all the pickpocketing.
Tips to avoid pick pocketing in Amsterdam
- Always keep your bag close to your body and closed.
- Don’t use a big wallet. Don’t carry more money than you need.
- Don’t leave your bag or jacket with wallet unattended in the dressing room of a shop, a fast food restaurant, bar or club (all clubs offer paid cloak rooms) or hanging from a baby stroller.
- 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 either try to get into your bag or pocket when you are distracted or they try to distract you. Be very careful when someone asks you direction at Central Station (you probably look like a tourist and information stands are everywhere, so why would anyone approach you to ask directions?). Or they point out a ‘spot’ on your clothing. Or when then exit the tram, they ‘fall’ and while you help out, they take your wallet out of your bag. Usually they work in teams, so when one person is talking to you, the other has already robs you.
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 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 of Amsterdam. Most Amsterdam people loose in average 2 bikes a year.
How to avoid getting a bike stolen in Amsterdam
- 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!
- Don’t use U-shaped locks.
- Always attach the frame to a bike rack or pole.
- If you have two bikes, don’t attach them to each other, unless you really want to help out the thieve.
- 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 accessoires) 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.
Dangerous areas in Amsterdam
As always, Amsterdam safety depends a lot on the neighboorhoud. The poorest neighbourhoods in Amsterdam are the most dangerous. 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.
Ghettos in Amsterdam?
Still, it’s not dangerous around here. You can safely walk around and visit the markets. There are no ghettos in Amsterdam. Most of the crime in these areas comes from burglaries.
Is it safe for a woman to travel in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam is safe for all people, but as a woman traveling on your own, I advise you to take the normal precautions: don’t wander alone in deserted areas like parks on your own after dark and don’t trust just any stranger! Other than that: Amsterdam is safe, also for women traveling alone!
Amsterdam safety: Getting robbed or mugged
How big is the chance you will be robbed or mugged in Amsterdam? Not very big. In average there are 5 robbings in the streets of Amsterdam per day (by comparison: just in Paris Nord station, there are 30-40 suitcases stolen everyday!).
In most of the cases of muggings in Amsterdam, people were robbed of their mobile phone. Most of these victims are teenagers. When anyone confronts violently, give away your belongings without hesitation. Please remember: it’s only stuff that can be replaced. Your health is more valuable.
Always remember that robbery and muggings always take place at night at calm areas. Don’t walk alone in the park at night!
Assault and armed robbery in Amsterdam
In Amsterdam assault with violence or the use of arms, doesn’t happen in the streets. It does sometimes happen to people at their business, like shops and at their homes. So that’s where tourists are safe.
Violence and murder in Amsterdam
There are not a lot of murders in Amsterdam. Most murders are carried out between criminal groups in organized crime. In 2019, a total of 13 people were murdered. A fair amount of these victims were criminals as well and they were killed by another criminal.
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 surely one of the safest countries in the world.
Concluding we can say Amsterdam is safe to visit.