I thought I had everything I needed so that I wouldn't have to go to a T/Info centre. I did, but I didn't know where the Bus station was to get the bus to Muiderslot castle. It wasn't either of the two by Central Station, I was told by a Bus driver, Out of town. So, I went to the Info/centre outside central station, and it was jammed full of people. I took my number, and to my horror, saw that there were 50 people infront of me. I stayed for a little while, in that time, nobody had moved, the centre was grossly understaffed, and you couldn't help yourself to information. Wasted time, and I never got there. My Hotel told me where to catch the Bus, but I didn't have time left to visit. Try to avoid if possible.
I am from Amsterdam and you have nothing to fear as long as you don't fear, a bit of a cliche i know. Don't walk around as a typical tourist, especially at night, conduct yourself with confidence and like you know what you are doing, if someone approaches you with indecent proposals (drugs,sex or whatever) act like you have been there and done that, they'll move on to the next very quickly. In the centre they target tourist especially, if you can come off as you were a local (not so difficult as Amsterdam is a big mix of people anyway) you have nothing to fear, even with the drug dealers you can have a laugh if you approach them right. A bit of confidence and even arrogance will bring you safely through a weekend of Amsterdam, but show weakness and you will be the main target every 100 meters in the wrong neighberhoods, which is mainly the red light district area, other then that area you should be safe anyway. Only thing is from Thursday to Sunday after 3 or 4 midnight can be tricky in the clubbing areas, but nothing letal. Most tourists that die in Amsterdam is either due to too much drugs, a tram, or people think they can fly out of hotel room windows because of excess mushroom use, No dutch person ever did that by the way, so perhaps that has not so much to do with Amsterdam anyway ;-)
Anyway Have fun !! That's what its all about.
When we decided to go to see Amsterdam, we wanted to explore it by bicycles. As we were traveling around Europe, not just Netherlands, we took our own.....well. Amsterdam is perfect place for cycling, but we didn't think about some extra precausions. And so my bicycle was stolen. How is it possible in a city where everyone has one??? It was a matter of few minutes, we have fastened bicycles together with quite thick lock, but it wasn't enough. As we've checked later every bicycle in town was fastened with two locks in a back and front wheel, even the worst ones.... We talked with others and we found out that it is usually the Junkies that steal cycles to get money for drugs. Bicycles are stolen everyday, but relevantly you can easily buy a new one, as they say.....So watch your bike while you are visiting Amsterdam.
The bridge on the major waterways at times will be raised to allow boats to pass.
So, don't be surprised to see your path blocked, even on major through streets where trams are riding too. Everything will come to a halt.
If you are flying across three or more time zones, it is necessary to calculate with the jet lag syndrome. There is a disturbance of our internal clock, which comes forward more strongly, if we fly from the West to the East when you gain time, and less if towards West, when you lose time. Switch your clock to the local time as soon as the plane landed, and do not think what is the time now at home. If may be, let us travel by plane, which lands late afternoon. If you arrive in the morning try to stay awake and wait until the local bedtime to sleep even if you are sleepy because this makes the conversion easier.
I live in NYC and Amsterdam.
The dangers in Amsterdam are plentiful but easily avoided:
The best way I've found to deal with "dealers" is to say "no thanks," or simply ignore them.
They don't hassle you if you "look local" - look around you for clues
- grow a beard
- dress down when out at night
- don't get cased by flashing jewelry or cash
- buy a local cel phone (they're cheap,) program in numbers for hotel, taxis, and the (always tardy) police
- pretend you're using it if you feel in danger or you're being followed
- take out small amounts of money from the wall, use a money clip and put it in your pocket
- just keep your id or passport on you at all times
- plan your route, don't pull out a map
- when in doubt, pretend you know where you're going or hail a cab
- pickpockets are everywhere and usually easy to spot, I'll avoid the stereotype
- don't get wasted and roam about aimlessly in obviously questionable areas
Amsterdam is safe and the people are nice, so be nice back.
It's easy to want to believe that they all have good intentions, but keep a calm guard about you.
People of all types flock there in the warmer months so know your spot.
There is some anti-American sentiment, so avoid politics at the bar, it only leads to a fight.
I hate to say it, but if asked where you're from, tell them a big city you're somewhat familiar with, they think we've seen it all and scam artists are less likely to try and gain your confidence.
Know that all these street scams are done in groups of 2-6 - they know the streets and the locals - and I wouldn't be writing this if my own street smarts haven't been tested. Stand back and take a look so you can watch it happen, especially in the RLD at night.
Don't bring tons of bags back from a store. Have it sent over or take a cab back.
The only danger in Amsterdam are the pickpockets and drug dealers.
Don't harass them or let them lead you into dark alleys - that's a good way to get mugged.
In general be cool, stand your ground, blend in, have an incredible time, stay safe, and don't be an obvious tourist.
You're sure to have a great vacation, there's really nothing to worry about. But the police are a laughing stock and intimidate nobody. If they catch you buying drugs, you're in for it, and if they don't, it's almost a sure bet you'll get beat, hopefully not hospitalized. I've seen it SO many times. Just think about it...is any street a wise place to buy or sell drugs? If it's not legal in Amsterdam, don't buy it.
I've seen some comments here that say that "don't go to RDL at night" and so on.. Well, I must say that wether you're a guy or a girl the only way to relly experience the RDL is at night. Hell, you don't even see those oh-so-famous lights during daytime. I've been to this great city for a couple of times and I do not find it dangerous. Amsterdam is propably one of the safest cities I've been to around the world consideing its' size and reputation.
But as it's been said here a lot of times, do not take pictures in RDL. If you want to take pictures of this area, try to do it during day but I would consider that too.. In any case don't take pictures of the girls in the windows unless you're happen to hold world record in 400m dash. There are signs telling you not to take pictures and believe them. And keep in mind that these girls are working, how would you like people coming to your work place to take pictures? I know I wouldn't. And even though many people think that these girls are illegal immigrants that's not quite true. Since prostitution is legal in Holland and prostitutes have to pay taxes it means most of them are registered some way. And there girls are required to be tested for STDs regurlary so they're clean too. Of course you have to use a condom (I haven't used these services myself but I know this is true) and why wouldn't you. Most of the people are smart enough to use a condom every time they're having se with a stranger and this is not an exception.
There are also a lot of people walking around the streets in RDL and most of them are tourists, so it is pretty safe place and there is nothing to be worried about. I've been to smallest and darkest allies in the RDL and I didn't find even them dangerous. Use your common sense and you'll be fine. If you're walking around the place drunk as hell and stoned you're an easy target for anyone. But I still don't find Amsterdam dangerous and none of the people I know who's been to Amsterdam have ever experienced any violence, and I know a lot of people who've visited the city.
And if you don't like weed and judge smoking it, don't go to Amsterdam. Especially in the RDL the smell of weed is unbelieveble! All you smell is weed smoke. I don't mean that you need to be a smoker to go to Amsterdam, but if you're against it I'd suggest you to go somewhere else or to stay at home. Travel safe!
when i was planning a trip to Amsterdam I was told so much abt its notorious reputation that it almost made me rethink my decision........but boy was i glad that i went ahead anyways! My husband had a conference to attend and I decided to explore the city on my own.Not once in during my 4 days stay did i feel insecure or the need to have somebody by my side.on the contrary the people were very friendly and was more than willing to help you! Although i dint venture out by myself during the night.......i can tell you that theres no real danger unless you go looking for it! Amsterdam is beautiful and so are the people!
Their is a HUGE Hells Angels contingent in Amsterdam. It appears that they have entwined themselves in operation/frequenting of many bars in Amsterdam, as well as some sex shops.
Make no mistake, they are organized crime organization. Be weary while around them.
If you are visiting Amsterdam with a car then be aware of parking because it's very expensive, between 3.60 and 4.60 euro/ hour, I guess it's depending of the area. there are some parking with 1euro/hour but they are little far from the city center, so choose good where you park because it can cost you a lot of money ; )
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