Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tourist-scams-AmsterdamAmsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands (also known as Holland) and is mostly known for its dozens of canals, thousands of bicycles and of course its famous Red Light District and its liberal approach to (soft)drugs. But Amsterdam also surprises its visitors with its versatile cultural offerings, like the dozens of museums, the Anne Frank-house and the weekly open-air music festivals during spring- and summertime.

Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, receiving more than 4,5 million visitors a year from all over the world, and another 16 million day trippers annually.

Shoppers can spend their time and money at all the big chains in the Kalverstraat shopping street which ends at Dam Square or browse the trendy small shops in the locally famous “Nine streets” in the Jordaan quarter.

Amsterdam tourist scams

However, as in every tourist hotspot, tourists need to be aware of people trying to take advantage of the “all is well” holiday atmosphere which causes the traveler to be off guard when it comes to being tricked or scammed. The differences in culture and habits can be a bit confusing, even to the experienced traveler, and that gives those with dishonest intentions an advantage, especially with travelers who have just arrived after a long and exhausting flight.

  • It already starts when arriving at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. Don’t be intimidated by taxi hustlers with genuine looking taxi licenses, offering unrequested services. If you don’t want to take the train, which is much cheaper, follow the signs to the official taxi rank and only use the official Schiphol Airport taxis.
  • If you want to buy marihuana or other legal or illegal substances, never buy it from a stranger in the streets, but only from the controlled and regulated “coffee shops”.
  • Like in any large city, beware of pickpockets, especially in trams or other crowded areas.

Most of these scams are pretty harmless and won’t cost you more than a handful of Euros, but they could still make you feel like an idiot as soon as you realize you’ve been tricked.

Amsterdam-tourist-scamsBe on guard for these known scams and variations to them. If you happen to run into a new kind of scam, or if you have a story about how the swindlers work, make sure you tell us about it. That’s the best way to warn other travelers and to prevent them from falling into the same traps.

And most importantly: just enjoy your vacation. Don’t be discouraged by these stories, they don’t happen to everyone, and they don’t mean Amsterdam is unsafe. It is just as safe as any other large city, most of the people are incredibly friendly, sincere and honest, especially away from the tourist hotspots, just be mindful of these tricks and you won’t feel uncomfortable for a second.

  • Schiphol airport taxi scam

    Official-taxi_stand-Schiphol-Amsterdam-Airport

    Amsterdam taxi drivers used to be known for their rudeness and eagerness to overcharge naive tourists. Attempts to regulate the taxi market in The Netherlands have only resulted in some of the highest rates in the world, at over € 2,10 per kilometer and a minute rate on top of that. As a result, a […]

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  • Fake drugs scam

    Amsterdam-scams-dangerous-XTC_pills

    The vast majority of tourists in Amsterdam are visiting the city for its romantic canals, the interesting museums or the laid-back atmosphere. But there’s no denying that especially the Red Light District also attracts a much different crowd, ranging from drunken Brits on a stag party to those who’ve heard about the Dutch liberal approach […]

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