Amsterdam is the capital of and most populated city in the Netherlands. With a multitude of canals and waterways running through the city, many refer to Amsterdam as the ‘Venice of the North’. The city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, receiving just over 5.3 million visitors each year. Some of the most well-known attractions include the Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank House and the Red Light District.
Before visiting any town or city make sure you know the basics. General details and important information.
- Emergency Services: 112
- Language: Dutch
- Currency: Euro
- Country Code: NL
- Travel Visa: None required
- Population: 1,148,972
Researching various official sources, we perceive the risk to holiday makers and travellers are as follows;
Top travel advice and interesting tip bits of information from experienced travellers.
- If you rent a bike, make sure you are familiar with the brakes! Traditional Dutch bikes have pedal-brakes rather than handlebar brakes. Don't worry if you're unfamiliar with pedal brakes, you can still ask for a bike with normal brakes.
- Whilst you might want to snap some memories, you are not allowed to take any photos or videos in the Red Light District. You should even be careful simply having your phone out. Security can get quite aggressive if they see you breaking the rules.
- When walking the streets of Amsterdam, be careful not to accidently walk in the cycle lane. These lanes are very busy and you could get hit by oncoming cyclists. This should also be said for crossing the road - make sure it is clear of both cars and cyclists.
For the Emergency services just dial 999 from any phone, for not so serious situations please dial 101.
Hospitals in Amsterdam
Academisch Medisch Centrum: www.amc.nl/web/home.htm
Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Ziekenhuis: www.avl.nl
VU Medisch Centrum: www.vumc.nl
Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis, Locatie Oosterpark: www.olvg.nl
Visitor Information Centre, Stationsplein: +31 20 7026000
Visitor Information Centre, Schiphol Airport: +31 20 7026000
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is connected to the city via bus and trainlines. The city itself has sixteen tram routes and five metro routes. Most notably, the city has a huge cycling scene – it is not uncommon to see more bikes than cars on some streets.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol: www.schiphol.nl/en/
Metro, Tram and Cycle Hire Info
Amsterdam Central Train Station: www.amsterdam.info/central-station/
Tram Information: www.iamsterdam.com/en/plan-your-trip/getting-around/public-transport/tram
Cycle Hire: www.iamsterdam.com/en/plan-your-trip/getting-around/rental/bike-hire
Where can I keep up with local news in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam News: www.amsterdamnews.net/
NL Times: nltimes.nl/
Are there any common crimes?
Pickpocketing – the streets of Amsterdam can become very crowded, keep your belongings secure at all times. Remember that pickpockets and scam artists are professionals and often work in groups.
Stealing bicycles – cycling is very popular in Amsterdam and if you are renting a bike make sure that you have a secure lock and check you are covered for theft.
Are there any areas to avoid?
Dark alleys – with Amsterdam being a very old city, there are many dark side streets where opportunists can take advantage of you. Stick to the main busy streets.
The Red Light District is generally safe to visit, but do be aware that you may potentially be hassled by people. Stay alert and try to avoid any difficult situations.
What are some top safety tips for visiting Amsterdam?
Be extra careful in crowded areas like the main city squares, people can take your belongings when you are distracted by the sights.
Beware of people posing as policemen, if you get approached by the Police ask for their identification. Know what you are looking for.
Look after your belongings, especially when using public transport like the train or metro. Carriages can be packed and people can take advantage.
Every culture has its customs and traditions, they have been handed down the generations and are always held in high regards by the local residents.
Light Festival: www.amsterdamlightfestival.com/en
Christmas Markets: www.iamsterdam.com/en/see-and-do/whats-on/major-events-and-celebrations/christmas
Tulip Day: www.tulpentijd.nl/
Chinese New Year: www.iamsterdam.com/en/see-and-do/whats-on/festivals/overview-cultural-festivals/chinese-new-year
King’s Day: www.iamsterdam.com/en/see-and-do/whats-on/major-events-and-celebrations/kings-day
Annual events allow a city come together for some amazing experiences. If visiting at this time, make sure you have your accommodation booked and are always aware of your surroundings when travelling around.
Sail Amsterdam: www.sail.nl/en/
What are the best places to go for a drink in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam Icebar. Never have to worry about a warm beer again with this bar literally being in a room covered in ice. Oh, and your glass is also made of ice too. Don’t worry about keeping warm as your tickets allow you two free shots of vodka as well.
Hiding in Plain Sight. It won’t look like much when you first enter, but as you make your way up the stairs a beautiful bar will present itself to you. Luxurious leather sofas and smartly-dressed staff await you in this lesser-known gem that really does live up to its name.
What are Amsterdam’s main attractions?
Anne Frank House. Dedicated to one of the world’s most well-know Holocaust victims, this museum sits inside the actual house Anne Frank and her family hid during WWII. If you would like to visit, make sure to plan ahead as tickets sell out very quickly, and queues to enter can stretch very far.
Van Gogh Museum. This should be considered a must-see for art fans. This museum is home to the world’s largest collection of artwork by Vincent Van Gogh, many of which have been donated by his family.
The Heineken Experience. If you love beer then this is a no-brainer. Take a tour and learn about the history of Heineken beer and how it is made. Plus, for making it to the end, you will also be rewarded a free beer!
Canal City Cruise. Taking a cruise along the canals is a great way to see the city from a different perspective and learn about some of its lesser-known history.
When is the best time of year to visit Amsterdam?
For the best overall experience visiting Amsterdam, we recommend coming between April-June or September-October. During these times, the weather is milder and many of the city’s main attractions are less busy than usual. As well as this, visiting during the spring is also the best time to see the country’s tulip fields truly in bloom.