In the red light area, when someone approaches you and offer you drugs, just keep walking!!! duh! Some of these dealers go out of their way to chase you down and almost force you to buy their s#$%. Other than that, the red light district is not as dangerous as most people picture it to be... you'll get used to the "sights" after sometime. :-)
Although on the whole it is safe to walk in Amsterdam after dark on your own it is not really in some parts of Red Light District. There are dealers, street prostitutes & their pimps, muggers, wierdo's etc. Dealers try to sell you their wares in dodgy corners.
Keep to the well lit areas those with red lights should be fine. Most clubs have their own private security.
My advice is just pass by rather quickly look confident & do not do anything which suggests you may have cash - looking unhappy is one way to get unnoticed.
When cruising around the Red Light District at night you are definately going to be offered several different drugs on the street. If you're not comfortable with this, stay away from this area late at night. I found Amsterdam quite a safe city but the dealers got a little annoying after a while. If you are looking for anything, make sure its sold from a regulated shop.
The Smoke Kingdom really does your head in I must admit. This is evidence from that fact.
If you ever see an 11 foot metal display somewhere in the outskirts of the main centre of Amsterdam, check it out because it is really neat. If you see this girl next to it.....run away!!!
This is NO joke. It isn't a political statement either. This is a serious warning.
Despite Amsterdam's reputation as a tolerant city, in the past years there have been several incidents that made me write this. A warning to Jewish people and to people who 'look Jewish'; it is advised not to go to certain parts of Amsterdam. You really should be fine in the centre, but the old neighbourhoods outside the centre, especially to the west of it, can be dangerous. You risk verbal abuse and worse (spitting, violence) from groups of 'young locals from Northern African descendance'. Why? As they claim themselves it's 'because they disagree with Israeli politics'. Well, so do I, but it's no reason to harrass ANY individual. But then these aren't reasonable people, they're scum and usually involved in crime as well.
Sorry, my tip isn't politically correct. Reality isn't always.
(the tip group was added by accident and cannot be changed it seems. It's not completely inappropriate though.)
Amsterdam is a very open and free city and it's hard to shock the locals. Marijuana is legal and you're likely to be approached by drug dealers offering you other illegal drugs. My advice is to stay in areas where there are crowds and when you are approached, just say no and keep walking.
I can not believe what I am reading here.
I have been living in the Netherlands my entire life,
and there is actually no place on earth where I feel more safe than I do in Amsterdam.
I hear about people almost being stabbed and drugdealers almost forcing you to buy stuff?
ONLY in the red light district there are some people who will try to offer you cocaine.
These are mostly 15 year old boys who are selling PARACETAMOL and ASPRINES!
(There was a big research done by the police in the RDL and it turned out that 85 percent of 'cocaine' being sold there is just paracetamol).
These 15 year old boys will try to offer you something if you just politely tell them no,
or even joke with them they will leave you alone!
I allways tell them I already have a month supply (as a joke) they just laugh and leave me alone.
in contrary to what many think the RDL is quite safe.
I wouldn't recommend going to the RDL in any other city in the Netherlands because that's where actually dirty wrong men go to have sex but the RDL in Amsterdam is so touristic it's full of students who are there to have something to eat or just enjoy a night out.
NOTHING WRONG HERE! Don't believe everything you hear.
Drug pushers (dealers) are often searching their targets in the redlight district and surrounding, but even outside those areas they might bother you. They try to sell to anybody of whom they think they might be interested. So my tip is, which always works for me, just simply ignore them. Act like you do not hear them in the first place, because as soon as they caught your attention or reaction, they might stick to you and try to make you buy their stuff.
Of course to those who want to use softdrugs (marihuana, hasjies) there are plenty of coffeeshops in Amsterdam or almost any other city in the Netherlands. Do not buy too much at once (I am not sure about the "legal" amounts, but I think up to 3 grams would be no problem), do not smoke too much (especially for marihuana) since the local grown grass is pretty strong.
As for other stuff like pills and mushrooms there are headshops, but I cannot advice in that matter since I never tried that. All I know is to listen to the warnings the owner of the shop might give you considering the stuff you bought, but in general I guess that it is better to use small amounts to test the effects first.
Finally, do not bring anything with you across the Dutch border.
You are using it at your own risk, just be careful and be happy! :-)
Just don't purchase hard drugs from these sketchy people most of whom are in the Red Light District. There have been many stories floating around of people having their money jacked and their wallets taken. Most of these guys will want you to follow them somewhere. That is a sure sign of a hoist. If you are really hooked on hard drugs check out the mushroom shops and perhaps that will satisfy you desires.
Amsterdam, a weed smokers paradise! You can pretty much get away with anything in this city, but make sure you leave your drugs in Amsterdam. I went backpacking the summer of 05' and we had the bright idea of starting off the journey in Amsterdam and heading south from there and thought well we might as well buy as much weed as possible and smoke all across Europe. This might have been a good idea pre 9/11 but since then they have buffed up train/border security. We had 18 grams of weed and left our bag unattended on the train while we went to the snack bar and when we came back border patrol was searching our stuff and we were caught. We had to pay 250 dollars US and they let us go. So take it from me don't do it. In Italy they actually have dogs that come on the train and sniff everything, they are really hardcore there.
Despite Amsterdam's reputation for drugs, drugs are not legal there. Although walking through the streets of Amsterdam you will be bombarded by dealers trying to sell you Cocaine, Extacy, and herion. Best thing to do is just keep walking by.
There is an area especially prone to the drugs, mostly hash. They will hawk you on the street to sell a piece, all wrapped for your pleasure. Do not stop to talk, but thye will persist and some follow after you if you are a recognizable tourist wearing shorts and baseball cap- ala US attire. I believe a large number of these people, mostly young and male, are wacked out, and you can see it in their eyes. I once was attacked by two of them and had to get defensive so I did not get hurt. This was on a low lit street going back toward the hotel. Keep your eyes open. YOu are better walking around a potential confrontation.
On the other hand, if you want to see the culture at its best, try a smoke shop. The bull Dog Cafe is a most famous, but ther are many. The counter holds a number of sizes and shapes of leaf, and parafanalia. Hash is outside.
CHARLIE is a very pouler guy in amsterdam , even more at night time....ppsshhh Charlie you will hear as you walk past them( coke peddlers) ...best thing to do is carry on WALKING and dont even make EYE CONTACT.All the dealers, and i mean all the dealers, in the Red Light District sale only FAKE drugs, that's the reason there are so many of them, 'cause they can't hardly be arrested for that.
The second thing is that they all work together, the dealers, the muggers and the pickpocketers.
Although technically illegal drugs are sold quite openly in Amsterdam. Not just in the coffee shops either. I was offered hard drugs for sale on the streets a couple of different times while in Amsterdam. It surprised me how open it was.
As you walk around Amsterdam, particularly at night near the Red Light District (RLD), you may be confronted by someone whispering "Charlie...Charlie" to you.
KEEP WALKING...Even if your name really is Charlie.
These fine upstanding citizens are trying to sell you cocaine...more than likely, some white powder that is not as advertised.
Never never never buy anything from these street urchins.
(Tried to get a picture of a deal going down...Almost got my ass kicked for my efforts...Good thing I can run fast!!!)