Amsterdam Warnings and Dangers
Many people travel to Amsterdam either during a layover at one of Europe’s largest airports or to see one of Europe’s great historic cities. All visitors should be aware of the city’s geography, the region’s local laws pertaining to substances and activities that may be illegal elsewhere, the weather and their transportation options. Careful attention to detail is key in order to avoid danger.
Know the Geography
Amsterdam is a city of canals. While here, you may want to take a trip to see the city from the water. Make sure you have a good tour boat guide and a safe boat. Above ground, you can rent one of the region’s ubiquitous bicycles, take a taxi, hop a tram or get on a train. Make sure you have tickets for the trams and trains in advance. Avoid driving if you can because it is expensive and really hard to find a parking space. Keep a very detailed map with you at all times. Many of the buildings in the city have a common architectural style so they can look alike to those who have never been here before. Also keep in mind that while snow is not common, Amsterdam is quite rainy. Keep an umbrella on hand at all times. Another problem in area may be stairs. Many Dutch houses are very narrow because Amsterdam housing lots are tiny. This means they often have very narrow stairs inside as well. Look for a handrail so you don’t slip on steep stairs when getting inside your hotel.
The Local Culture
The city is noted for allowing activities and items such as prostitution and marijuana that are illegal elsewhere. Be aware that such activities and substances are still subject to regulations. Prostitution is only legal in the city’s Red Light district. If you just want to see it, consider taking a tour with others during the day. Use particular caution if you want to use certain illicit substances. You may be offered substances on the street. Do not buy such items as they may be dangerous. Understand that the so-called coffee shops are largely focused on selling drugs rather than coffee. So don’t enter them unless you want to sample something. Smoking in public is not legal but this prohibition is widely ignored. Consider observing this rule and refraining from doing so as you may be fined. The Dutch also love their bikes. There’s a special lane just for bikes. Bikes and trams have the right of way on public roads so look for them when crossing. Do not walk on the bike path or you might get hit.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about warnings and dangers in Amsterdam.