Amsterdam Crime Personal Safety Terrorism & Tourist Traps

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Threat Of Terrorism in Amsterdam & Holland / Netherlands

The threat of terrorism in Amsterdam is was previously thought to be ‘limited’ but in 2008 it was increased by the Dutch Authorities to ‘substantial ‘. The change of status was attributed to an increase in Dutch Military involvement in the war in Afghanistan and a film made by a Dutch MP that criticised the Koran. You can check the latest perceived threat of terrorism in the Netherlands on the Netherlands Counter Terrorism English website.


Crime & Personal Safety In Amsterdam

You must be careful whilst walking in the bike lanes as  the lightning fast bikers speed through the city without a care in the world at times. You must get used to looking left right and behind you as well as keeping your ears open for the sound of bike bells.

Tourists and their belongings are often the targets of pick pockets and petty criminals. They operate independently and in groups in areas popular with tourists.

You should be especially vigilant if you using the rail service between Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam Centraal Station and in the immediate vicinity of the latter. Trams and restaurants and shops also are places where tourist are very vulnerable to theft Beware of being distracted by one person asking directions or tapping on a window in front of you whilst someone else disappears with your luggage.

Dutch Police have confirmed that there is an increasing problem with criminals posing as plain clothes police officers and asking their victims to prove their identity with the passports, credit cards and other documentation.

In some instances victim are subject to personal searches. During these incidents personal items including credit card, money and passports have been stolen. The fake policeman often produce police badges. As Dutch policeman don’t carry such badges and rarely stop tourist dressed in plain clothes you should be very cautious if approached in this way. If you are not convinced by the legality of the person who has stopped you ring 0900-8844 & ask for the local police

Incidents of individuals, especially women having their drinks spiked in the centre of Amsterdam seem to be increased. Do not leave your drink unattended at any time and you may end up being robbed or raped. If you are worried that your drink has been spiked ask for medical help immediately and do do not leave the bar or club alone.


Tourist Traps In Amsterdam

When you emerge out of Centraal Station and  go down Damrak perhaps the City’s most unattractive street you must be wary of the tourist trap Restaurants, Cafe’s  and souvenir shops. Try to ignore Restaurants lit up with a neon sign saying ‘Grill’ and  places with alleged ‘Special’ Tourist menus which is in fact  food made from odd and cheap ingredients. These establishments are overpriced and tacky and  give a bad impression of the Dutch capital.  If you are seeking a more authentic and genuine Amsterdam like  experience then you should visit  the Jordaan neighbourhood or Western Canal Belt.
Probably the single most blatant tourist trap is the Heineken Brewery  which no longer  produces beer but will charge you around €15 for which you get taken sad tour of the building  and receive one free sample to take home.
Amsterdam is an generally a safe city on the whole but the one area which you should be very careful in  is  the Red Light District which is renowned for being seedy and full of dodgy and uncouth characters. Be careful of drug dealers in the city as well try to avoid eye contact as some of the people you may be approached by can be of a very abrasive persuasion.

Some of the Coffee shops (see amsterdammost red light district article) are establishments which sell overpriced drinks and highly priced inferior cannabis. The Bulldog chain of shops is one particular chain that is to be avoided. It seems to target tourists and is rarely used by locals. Others with a bad reputation include the Grasshopper shops and La Canna.

Even more foolish is to buy would be drugs of street pedlars who often have quantities of talcum powder and herbs that they are looking to get rid of.

Balletje Balletje’ (ball ball) is a fixed gambling game /scam aimed at tourists especially those in the red light district. A ball is placed under one of three caps or cups and the caps are then shuffled. The tourist is then asked to gamble on which container the ball is in. Even if he guesses correctly when the container is lifted the ball is removed by the exhibitors hand at the speed of light. The gambler cannot win. This scam is also found in Barcelona.

When you cleared customs and immigration at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport you may be approached by individuals offering you special rates to take you by taxi to your hotel in Amsterdam. These characters will usher you to an unlicensed taxis which will take you on the scenic route to the city centre. The scenic route often includes a tour of industrial estates. The price you were quoted will be forgotten and the driver will demand forty or fifty euros for a journey that would have cost you approximately €2 by train.

A similar scam is the practice by dubious hoteliers to get their agents to approach when you arrive at places like Amsterdam Centraal Station. These agents will take you to a nearby hotel having quoted you an ‘unbelievable’ deal. When you check in the bill is likely to be two or three times higher than the quote.

Many visitors to Amsterdam who visit the ‘Holland Experience’ and Madame Tussaud’s leave with the feeling that they have been ripped off an emotion also shared by those who use the cafes that in the cities main squares.



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