10 Things Not To Do In Amsterdam

10 Things Not To Do In Amsterdam

While The Netherlands is pretty liberal, where everything goes – you probably already knew you don’t need to take that too literally – if you did that, you would seriously get into trouble. Avoid it, and know it! Alright, don’t get scared, Amsterdam is not that dangerous, especially if you travel like a local, but you should be aware of some things to keep yourself safe, also you should know some hacks that makes your tourist visit to Amsterdam a lot more easier! Here are the 10 things not to do in Amsterdam!

BE A TOURIST AT THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT a really harsh mistake could seriously get you into trouble. Don’t take photo’s, don’t film, and don’t stare at the prostitutes of the Red Light District. As it may not seem so; they are definitely well protected, and once you do one of the things I just mentioned you can count on it that you will be chased, you’ll be thrown pee at or worse; get beat up. Of course you can walk through the streets like you do through every other – just don’t be a tourist in this ones.

RENT A CAR No need to rend a car, you can’t use it in Amsterdam anyway, or at least – Amsterdam isn’t the nicest city to drive through, unless you want to dive into a canal with your rental. If you just want to discover Amsterdam you should rent a bike. However – if you want to roadtrip through the Netherlands, you can rent a car for a day or two, but ONLY if you leave Amsterdam.

STAND IN LINE FOR THE ANNE FRANK MUSEUM a lot of people see the line of the Anne Frank museum and immediately turn around and leave as it normally is a pretty long line. Be prepared and buy your tickets in advance and you can just walk right into the museum, without queuing for it!

WALK IN THE WAY OF CYCLISTS haven’t you heard? Cyclist rule Amsterdam, always look out for them or you’ll get biked over. The Netherlands is a pretty bike oriented country and you should definitely be aware of that in her capital. Don’t stand in the way of cyclists for your own safety and prevent annoyance of habitants of Amsterdam.

BUY DRUGS OF THE STREET whenever you go to Amsterdam you’ll notice a lot of warnings saying that you shouldn’t buy drugs of the street. Trust them and listen to them! There are a lot of people who ended up in the hospital (or worse) after buying drugs of the street. Amsterdam may be known for legal weed – but it is only legal in shops. Harddrugs is always illegal (and not safe) and softdrugs like weed isn’t legal when you buy or smoke them outside of the coffeeshops.

Canals and houses of Amsterdam

CONFUSE COFFEESHOPS  shortly said: coffeeshops are shops where you can buy softdrugs – not where you buy a coffee.

GET CRAZY DURING NIGHTTIME I think it is safe to say that Amsterdam is a good location for parties and Amsterdam has a pretty good night life too. Don’t get fooled by the ‘liberal status’ Amsterdam has. There are criminals in the city – like there are in every city – there are people who will drug you and there are pickpockets here as well! Also, public drunkness is an offense in The Netherlands and you’ll get a penalty for it.

MISS A CANAL TOUR  when in Amsterdam you should definitely experience the canals – don’t skip them, you’ll regret it! Amsterdam has plenty of companies who offer canal tours throughout the day and throughout evenings – with dinner or without!

MADAME TUSSAUD Unless you’re really into wax statues or when you know you have plenty of time you should skip Madame Tussaud. This is a very time robbing museum, but really.. there are more exciting things to do in Amsterdam than looking at fake celebrities. Make sure you’ve seen everything else you wanted to see first before deciding to go to Madame Tussaud.

FORGET YOUR COMMON SENSE there is a lot of drugs in Amsterdam, and while you may not see it at first sight as you’ll have to make sure that you won’t be tricked. Avoid the girl on the streets who offers you a cookie, do pay attention to your drink when you go out and don’t go into the wrong streets – definitely not at nighttime. Also: be careful if you want to use apps like uberpop: while this is easy to use in other countries there is a lot of commotion (and anger) in The Netherlands because of the app.

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10 things not to do in Amsterdam - The Tourist Of Life
10 things not to do in Amsterdam - The Tourist Of Life
10 things not to do in Amsterdam - The Tourist Of Life

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  • Rachel

    I would also add that you should NOT try to fit everything in, especially if you want to see something huge like the Rijksmuseum. Pick a few things and then take you time doing them.

  • I think it’s really important to mention the things to avoid when traveling, so thank you for your honesty! Who knew that coffeeshops aren’t really coffeeshops?! I would have been that ignorant tourist without a clue!

    • Haha, Whenever I am in Amsterdam a lot of tourists do ask me if I know where the coffeeshops are – I am always doubting which option they mean

  • Sonia Sahni

    Great post…we were in Amsterdam last month and missed the canal cruise. We also were a little early for the tulips to bloom. I guess we will need to revisit the city!

  • Still not been to Amsterdam to my shame but I’ll be taking all this advice seriously when I finally go!

  • This made me laugh! I absolutely love canal tours, I take them on almost every trip! My husband and I are moving abroad in a year and his company has an office in Amsterdam, so there’s a possibility that that’s where will land.

  • Olga Rabo

    Oh, I’ll make sure to buy tickets in advance for the Anne Frank museum!
    Always wanted to go there!
    Speaking of everything else you mentioned, it seems like Amsterdam is a crazy place where people come to party from all over the world, hahaha, and you’re trying to bring them back to their senses 😀 aka “be good, mommy’s still watching” hahaha
    Everything you say is true, though!

  • What a lovely article! I love Amsterdam, and I’m not really scared of the city (but that might be because I’m Dutch ;)) X

    • I know! But I think for tourists, who want to discover everything about Amsterdam and try weed, that they should be careful and sure about it!

  • Julia

    I would also add the flower market to this! I was expecting rows of tulips and beautiful flowers, but instead it just ended up being a big tourist trap. Such a disappointment 🙁 I can’t wait to be back in a month though!!


    • True! I found it a little disappointing too – but maybe we weren’t visiting in the good season

    • juliette krijger

      wrong season my friend

  • The Student Travels

    Great tips! Amsterdam is such a beautiful city and it would be such a shame to ruin your time there. I tended to just avoid the red light district altogether, there’s such nicer places to see!

  • Hehe this is amazing.

  • Did you have problems in Amsterdam, like did anyone try to rob you or drug you…? It sounds like a dangerous city from what you’re writing but I don’t remember it this way – just stayed alert as always, but nothing serious happened…

    • I think it is just as dangerous as any other city in the world – you just have to look out for your stuff. But I do know that The Netherlands and especially Amsterdam has a reputation of weed, drugs and sex (crazy nightlight rumors) and a lot of tourists who go to the city are not careful enough when it comes to this points. A lot of people don’t know you can’t make photos at the Red Light District – even friends of mine while I am Dutch myself. And because a lot of people think weed is legal everywhere they also think other drugs is legal too while this is not the case. I don’t think Amsterdam is unsafe you just have to know these things to keep yourself out of trouble!;-)

  • Patrick Conwell

    What’s the problem with uber?

    • Taxi companies in the Netherlands aren’t so pleased that Uber ‘takes in their jobs’ so there were a lot of protests and a lot of Uber drivers got beaten up. However I think that Uber is now illegal in The Netherlands – not sure though!

  • Lauren @ atipsygypsylife.com

    Great post! I’ve always felt safe in Amsterdam, but also follow pretty decent common sense. Definitely do NOT get in the way of the cyclists.

  • juliette krijger

    Hi i’m juliette and i am from Amsterdam and this article -no offense- a little overrated. yes there are pickpocketers. Like any city. The whole drug is also overrated. Amsterdam is the only city in the Netherlands that has so many coffeeshops. but there is no actual violence if you are sane (except for pickpockets). Indeed don’t mess with red light district, it is after all criminal. so enjoy being the obvious american idiot tourist that says stroopwafel weird all the time 😉
    sincerely, a girl (who doesn’t wear wooden shoes nor like tulips or milk or cheese because please its like saying america is full of gun owning fat people ;))

    • Hi Juliette! Of course, with common good knowledge and sense Amsterdam is as dangerous as any other city. However, as I am Dutch too (I don’t wear wooden shoes either, but some of my friends do actually ;-)) I do think that tourists (and especially drugs tourists) should think carefully about where to buy drugs and from who they buy it from because a lot of tourists do seem to think that every drug is legal everywhere in Amsterdam.

      Seeing the number of people I get on this blog from Google search results questions like ‘should I buy drugs from prostitutes’, ‘where to buy good drugs’, ‘is Amsterdam dangerous’ and ‘are prostitutes for tourists’, I do think that this article definitely wakes up a lot of tourists who visit Amsterdam and I definitely think that this article makes their visit to Amsterdam a bit safer.

      Please, don’t offend Americans who say stroopwafel weird all the time, because at least they are trying it. Our Dutch accent gets recognized like everywhere in the world, so they are not the only ones who say things weird.

      Dankjewel dat je toch mijn blog bezocht Juliette en dat je de tijd nam om dit artikel te lezen. Feedback is natuurlijk altijd welkom:-)

  • All seems common sense. People visit (and relocate to) Portland, Oregon believing it is much that it is not as well. Just don’t believe everything that you see on TV or buy into the “Pacific NW Perfection” hype that is rampant on Instagram. As a native of Portland I can firmly state that while it’s a liberal town and has some wonderful features, we have more than our share of crime, sketchy people and major issues, and, honestly, most of the beautiful photos you see online are of places that are well outside of the city.