10. DON’T BUY DRUGS FROM STREET DEALERS
Walking down the canals especially in the Red Light District area you will be approached by many people asking you if you want any kind of hard drugs. Under any circumstances don’t accept anything what they offer you. Even the Dutch city hall and the police brings awareness to tourists every year through big signs all over the city about the danger of those substances. Many tourists fell in the trap of those sellers and lost their lives.
9. DON’T WALK TOO CLOSE TO CANALS
Because Amsterdam is the home of 165 canals and 1281 bridges there is everywhere danger of falling in one of the canals. If you had a bit too much to drink or you are passionate to shoot the perfect picture over the bridge beware of the canals around you. Not only few times tourists had to be saved from the canal’s waters. The Netherlands has the law that all children have to learn to swim from a very young age due to many canals in the country. Some adults have a special swimming diploma which require them intervention if they see someone drowning.
8. DON’T WALK ON BICYCLE PATH
There are three very well defined paths of a street in The Netherlands: pedestrian path, bicycle path and car path. The bicycle path is also used by scooters with a blue license plates. Because the bicycle path is not often seen in many other countries, tourists tend to overlook it. This is a very dangerous thing to do because there is 1 bicycle/local in Amsterdam only. Yes, Amsterdam has around 850.000 residents and around 850.000 bicycles. This fact makes The Netherlands the country with the most bicycles/capita. Many bicycles are used to relieve traffic jams and because of the small streets from Amsterdam center. Take care where you walk so you do not end up thrown away by biker, because hey! the bicycle path is meant for bicycles only.
7. DON’T TAKE PHOTOS OF GIRLS IN THE WINDOWS
In the Red Light District you can walk on the canal and side streets and see the sex workers in the big windows with red light waiving and inviting you in. This place in Amsterdam is legal and regulated by the government which bring rights and obligations for the sex workers and the tourists as well. One of them is that you are not allowed to take a picture of a girl who sits behind a window in Red Light District, because her privacy might be breached with lately massive online posting. If you still do that you risk to get your camera destroyed and lose all your beautiful shots you did until then. Better just enjoy yourself and keep a live memory and let your friends come to see for themselves this worldwide known place called Red Light District or De Wallen.
6. DON’T RIDE A TRAIN/TRAM/BUS WITHOUT A TICKET
In Amsterdam public transport is considered having a pretty high price. For €2,90 you can ride the tram/bus for one hour or you can choose for a 24 hour ticket for €7.50. The tickets are mostly bought from the tram/bus itself but some stations now have ticket machines where you can buy from. If you did not pay for a ride and the driver saw you he will call you out and all attention will be on you; I am sure you would not like that. If a ticket check is performed and you don’t have a valid ticket, you will pay a fine of €50. Better use this money to visit a couple of museums and eat an apple pie, right?
5. DON’T MISTAKE COFFEESHOPS WITH COFFEE HOUSES
In Amsterdam, marijuana and related products are tolerated for personal use. You will find weed or hash for sale in a shop called coffeeshop. It’s actually like a cafe-bar but instead of alcohol you can buy weed and smoke it. You need to be over 18 years old to be allowed in a coffeeshop and you will be screened at the entrance; don’t forget to have a valid ID with you. Places like Starbucks and Coffee Company are called cafes or coffee houses.
4. DON’T FORGET YOUR UMBRELLA
You wake up in your cozy hotel room, open the blinds and the sunshine hits your just awaken eyes giving you the best feeling in the world. That’s how Amsterdam’s weather is. For the next 5 minutes. Got’cha, right? Holland’s weather is pretty unstable and you can’t rely on. Now you will have the beautiful sun smiling at you, and in the next half an hour rain is pouring like a waterfall. Then again, you must take out your sunglasses from your bag because sun still doesn’t want to give up, and shines again. Due to its location, The Netherlands has by default a moderate maritime climate with high humidity.
3. DON’T ACCEPT FOOD/SMOKES/DRINKS FROM STRANGERS
Amsterdam is a safe city, well protected and organized and with many implemented rules. Amsterdam is full of friendly people, but not all of them are as friendly as they want you to see. When you go out to a bar, club or a party always take care of your glass and don’t accept any open drinks from someone who you don’t know. This only if you don’t want to wake up in a side alley with your wallet and money gone. Don’t accept any cookies “to taste” from anyone, better buy your own unopened pack from a shop.
2. DON’T SEPARATE FROM YOUR LUGGAGE
You remember to take all necessities for a whole week to spend in beautiful Amsterdam. You managed to arrive safely and even the flight company didn’t lose it this time. Now that is in your possession again you must take care of it very well. From the airport to the hotel don’t lose sight of your luggage because you can get robbed of it and you will have to spend your whole holiday in one pair of clothes. Very important, always take care of your luggage’s and be aware of pickpockets in busy areas.
1. DON’T HANG “LOVE LOCKS” ON THE BRIDGES
Weekly the city hall of Amsterdam removes tons of locks from all the bridges around the city. To hang a “love lock” on a bridge in Amsterdam is in particular a very bad thing because the iron locks damages the bridges. The iron locks are heavy and the bridges are built to support a limited amount of weight. The bridges are part of UNESCO heritage and are protected by Dutch law.
EXTRA POINT – DON’T FORGET TO HAVE FUN
The goal of this article was not to scare you, but just to remind you to be more aware of your surroundings and to avoid unpleasant situations. The last DON’T is definitely “Don’t forget to have fun”. Amsterdam is a wonderful city with many hidden gems and secret places; just do your research and I am sure you will find the best spots where to enjoy your wonderful vacation