Netherlands Risk Report
Security travel advice for Netherlands
Threat level: Low
The current safety travel advice for the Netherlands is to be cautious due to the ongoing risk throughout Europe from extremist terrorism. It is a relatively safe country and has a large tourist industry. Most security risks are in the capital Amsterdam, but threats are mostly petty crimes. Opportunist thieves are the most common and can enter public places, restaurants and markets in attempts to pickpocket unsuspecting tourists.
For specific security threat information with regards to Amsterdam, see our: Amsterdam Travel Risk Report.
Recent Security Risk Events
Young females and individuals who are travelling solo should be aware of the possibility of having their drinks spiked in Amsterdam’s clubs or bars. Take basic precautions to avoid this, don’t leave your drink unattended and be wary of accepting drinks from strangers. If you believe you have been the victim of a spiked drink, seek medical help immediately and, if possible, inform the police. It is best to stay in small groups with people you trust as this reduces the risk of someone spiking your drink.
On the 31st of August 2018, a knife attack occurred at Amsterdam Central Station, in which two foreign tourists were severely injured.
Pick pockets often operate in teams on the trains and trams to and from Schiphol airport and Central Station also especially tram routes 1, 2 and 5, between Central Station and the museum district. Be cautious around all public transport hubs and don’t lose sight of your luggage or other valuables. Sleeping passengers make particularly easy targets for pick pockets, so avoid sleep if you are travelling by yourself.
A number of tourist deaths occur each year due to drowning in the canals of Amsterdam. Reports suggest that most of these happen as a result of intoxication from heavy drinking and/or smoking cannabis.
Please be more cautious during the evenings as there is a higher risk of incident, especially in the de Wallen district (red light district) with its many interlinking alleys and small roads, of which in busy periods can become congested. Small groups of criminals do operate together, with spotters located sometimes at interlinking pathways.
Although there is decriminalisation of some substances in the country, please be aware that the strength may indeed be different and or substituted with harmful substances from various parts of the world, and as such caution is advised.
The Netherlands is among the world's leading aid donors and is a member of the United Nations and World Trade Organisation. The country has good diplomatic relationships with the US, Canada and the United Kingdom.
You can drive in the Netherlands with a UK driving licence and many other EU licences. Road conditions a good for the most part and there is an overall high standard of driving. You should pay particular attentions to trams as they are common in many parts of the Netherlands and always have right of way. Also there are many bikes (which have right of way also) upon the roads and pathways, which can often interlink.
During times of heightened security alerts you may need to allow extra time at the airport, in addition to this the country can experience slight delays within its train links.
Time now in Amsterdam:
Certain countries are exempt from needing a visa such as United Arab Emirates, United States of America and Great Britain. If you require a visa for your visit to the Netherlands, you need to apply for one at the Dutch embassy or consulate in your country.
It is advised that visitors to Netherlands are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get a Tetanus vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
Some drugs that are legal to buy in The Netherlands are often substituted with low quality bi-product that can be extremely harmful to your system. It is advised to avoid the use of drugs altogether.
U.S. Embassy Amsterdam
Lange Voorhout 102,
2514 EJ Den Haag,
Telephone: +31 70 310 2209
British Embassy Amsterdam
1075 AE Amsterdam,
Telephone: +31 20 676 4343
Other useful info
Police emergency: 112
Fire emergency: 112
Medical emergency: 112