Things to avoid in Amsterdam
Here we have selected only 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. And parking regulations strictly enforced. The clampers work 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. Which will be from €200. If the fine is not paid within 24 hours, your car will be towed away. And the fine will be from €600 depending on the time it will take you to pay for it. More about parking in Amsterdam.
There have been cases of accommodation scams in Amsterdam lately. Please read our page about this topic.
Riding transport without a valid ticket
Public transport chip cards should be validated at the entry to the public transport vehicle or at the train station (chip-in). Getting caught at riding without a valid ticket (Dutch: zwartrijden - riding black) will cost you €50 and more if you delay payment. If you forgot to chip-in and you are caught for the first time, the controller MAY give you only a warning (Dutch: coulanceregeling). The system will remember that you used your one warning opportunity. Read more on our page about Public transport tickets.
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 here and standing here. This drives locals mad. When you hear a bike bell, get quickly out of the way.
Do not smoke at train stations
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 high ashtray, where you can smoke and extinguish your cigarettes. The fine for smoking outside this area is €25, and throwing your cigarette butt on the platform can cost you €40o.
Avoid using cannabis in public
It is unsafe and impolite to roam the streets, shops or restaurants while stoned. You can easily bump into a bike or a tram. If you have to, use the cannabis in the privacy of the coffeeshop. And never take anything with you out of Holland.
Since 2023 an official ban has been imposed on smoking marijuana in the public areas of Dam Square, Red Light District, Damrak and Nieuwenmarkt. It is still possible to smoke cannabis outdoors on coffeeshops terraces. But if you are caught smoking freely on these streets you will be penalized with 100 euro.
No pictures of the Red Light District windows
Never take pictures of the occupied red windows in Amsterdam Red Light District. It is to respect the privacy of both the visitors and the workers of the district. Better keep your camera inside your bag. Also there are pick-pocketers in crowded areas.
Don't use illegal services and check our page about legal Amsterdam escort agencies.
Do not talk to illegal sellers
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. And note that there is a huge penalty when cought by police that patrols all well known hotspots.