Things to avoid in Amsterdam
Here we have only selected a few things we consider good to know, but in any situation please use your sober judgement!
- Taking a car into the center of Amsterdam
Parking is difficult and expensive in the city, with parking regulations strictly enforced. The clampers work a day and night, and seem to pay particular attention to foreign cars. If your car is clamped, a yellow sticker on the window tells you where to pay the fine of EUR 67,00 before the clamp is removed. If the fine is not paid within 24 hours, your car will be towed away.
- Tram riding without a valid ticket
A strip of tickets, or strippenkaart, that you self-stamp on board can be bought in advance from newsagents, train stations, post-offices and other outlets. Single tickets from the driver or conductor at the back seat once you get-on will cost a bit more. Getting caught you will cost you EUR 60.00 at the place.
- Avoid walking along the bicycle lanes
The lanes are usually clearly marked with a bike symbol on the way. These are express-roads through Amsterdam city in which the bikes rule. Avoid walking on, and standing in bike lanes looking at maps, chat around, etc. This drives locals mad. When you hear a bike bell, get quickly out of the way.
- Do not smoke in trains and train stations
Since the beginning of this year, it is prohibited to smoke in all trains, stations, waiting areas and on platforms in Amsterdam. Special smoking areas have been created. There are designated smoking pillars, which is basically a 2-meter high ashtray, where you can smoke and extinguish your cigarettes. The fine for smoking outside this area is 25 Euro, and throwing your cigarette butt on the platform can cost you 40 Euro.
- Avoid using cannabis in public
It is unsafe and illegal. It is not allowed to smoke in the public (you can get a fine, but usually just a reminder from the policeman), and it is not polite either to roam the streets, shops or restaurants while stoned. You can easily bump into a bike or a tram and die. If you have to, use the cannabis in the privacy of the coffeeshop. Never take anything with you out of Holland!
- No pictures of the Red Light District's windows
Never take pictures of the occupied red windows in Amsterdam Red Light District, to respect the privacy of both the visitors and the workers of the district. Better keep your camera safe not to be stolen by the pick-pockets.
- Do not talk to the individuals on the streets who tries to sell you something (most likely drugs or bikes) - this is illegal and you can be robbed. The drugs will not work and the bikes are likely stolen. Please do not support crackers by buying the stolen bikes - note there is a huge penalty when cought by police that patrols all well-known hotspots.