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Staying safe in Amsterdam


Health Insurance


European Health Insurance Cards (EU Residents)

EU residents can use an EHIC to access emergency medical treatment from public service facilities. These cards are free, valid for 5 years and need to be acquired before travelling. One condition of using the card is that you must have it with you when you get help

UK residents can apply for an EHIC from the Post Office, by calling 0845 606 2030 for more information please click here

Irish residents can apply by clicking here


Travel Insurance

Unexpected illness or accidents abroad can also incur additional expense, both for travel, accommodation and cancellations, so arranging additional insurance is always advisable.

Most travel insurance deals provide health insurance as well as covering possessions, potential legal costs - and more - but always read the small print to make sure you find a policy which fits you and covers what you need.
For some excellent general advice on choosing travel insurance please click here



Amsterdam, like any busy modern city, has its fair share of crime. Violent crime is rare, but petty theft and pickpockets operate in the city and can ruin a holiday. Taking some simple precautions and being aware of your surroundings greatly reduces the risks of becoming a victim - be prepared and be aware..!!


Be Prepared..

* Take a colour photocopies of your passport, and any other ID you normally carry; photocopy flight tickets and any other important documentation, and store one set of these in your luggage and another set with a friend or relative at home.

* Pre-pay large expenditures where possible, like hotel bills.

* Purchase travel insurance that will cover lost or stolen belongings, and unexpected changes to your itinerary.

* Arrange emergency funds which can be accessed easily by a friend or relative at home.


* Carry with you only the cash you will need for one day. If you use credit cards, carry one and keep the rest of your cash / travellers’ cheques and cards somewhere safe.


Be Aware..

* Whenever possible avoid walking alone at night in unfamiliar areas – particularly around the centre.

* Avoid obvious displays of wealth. Avoid carrying or wearing expensive jewellery, or valuable equipment.

* Do beware of pickpockets & never leave bags unattended.

* Ignore hotel runners (touts)

* Ignore beggars. Begging is illegal in The Netherlands.

* Do not buy any kind of drugs from street dealers.

* Always cooperate with uniformed police officers if asked (see below for more information about fake police scams)

* Do not take photographs in the Red Light District – this is frowned upon and may lead to arguments with locals

* Take care when crossing roads - many people go home injured by collisions with bicycles, trams and taxis in the various traffic lanes.


Local Laws & Customs

To keep yourself out of trouble with the authorities always respect the local laws and customs and to keep yourself out of trouble!

* Weapons are illegal.

* Hard drugs such as XTC, heroin and cocaine are illegal.

* Magic Mushrooms have also recently been added to the prohibited list.


* Small amounts of Marijuana may be purchased from licensed 'Coffeeshops' - but only for use on the premises or in the privacy of your own home.

* Using soft drugs is not allowed in public places.

* Consuming alcohol is banned in some places.

* Do not use the street as a toilet. ‘Wildeplassen’ (literally ‘wild pissing’) is punishable with a hefty spot fine.

* Noise, loud music and screaming are not allowed.

* Camping is only allowed at campsites.

* Cycling is not permitted in pedestrian areas.

Also always carry some photographic ID – it is a legal requirement in The Netherlands, and you can be fined if found without it.

Scams & Tricks


Drug Dealers

Predominantly around the ‘Red Light District’ (‘De Wallen’) there are many street dealers offering hard drugs. Don’t bother with them – the drugs are often fake, and the transaction can sometimes just be a pretence for robbery.


Fake Policemen

Recently there have been reports of tourists being approached up by fake plain clothed policemen, shown badges and told their documents and cash need to be checked for forgeries – only to lose them. Plain clothes police do not do this - golden rule: No uniform? = Walk away.


Petty Theft & Pick Pocketing

This is the most common crime experienced by visitors. Techniques vary – from using distraction to stealth, but the best way to avoid this is just to keep a close eye on your belongings.

Amsterdam Tourist Assistance Service

(Tel: +31 (0)20-625 32 46 Open 10am – 10pm 7 days per week)
If, despite your precautions you are a victim of crime whilst in Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Tourist Assistance Service offers practical help and support.
Once you have reported the crime at a police station, the ATAS volunteers will assist you arranging substitute travel documents, money, any medical assistance needed and anything else you may require.

For other Amsterdam emergency & support contact information please click here


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