How safe is the Netherlands to live in?
Looking for info about visiting the Netherlands or moving here? If you’ve never been here before, you’re probably thinking despite all the lovely tulips and the windmills, is the Netherlands safe?
Well, in theory no place is 100% safe, however, overall, the Netherlands is a really safe country to live in. So safe in fact, that it’s only 14th in the World’s Safest Country index.
Despite this, we’ll give you the lowdown on what it’s like in the Netherlands and how to keep yourself safe in every situation. (Hint: most of it is common sense!)
Oh, and it does get windy out here folks…
How safe is the Netherlands as a tourist?
As a tourist, you are very safe here in the Netherlands. Of course, you still need to exercise caution when you are out and about (just because it’s considered safe, don’t do things such as flaunt your belongings of course). As the tourist, the thing you should be most concerned about is pick-pocking, especially in Amsterdam.
Make sure that you keep your belongings with you at all times and keep your bags close your body. Pick-pocketing is considered a medium risk, so bear that in mind, but if you take precautions, the risk is low.
What is the most unsafe city in the Netherlands?
Statistically, Amsterdam is the most unsafe city in the Netherlands, but this is common, being the capital and all. Many of the issues that occur tend to be theft, pick-pocketing and drug-related crimes. Many of which can be avoided as much as possible, but we’ll iron these creases out throughout the rest of the article.
Drug and Sex Laws in the Netherlands
Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, but pimping is illegal. Providing you go to visit a prostitute and she completely gives her consent, then it’s completely fine. Prostitution is not only legal in the Red Light District in Amsterdam, but in general. The Red Light District is not unsafe, but like anywhere, it is safer to go during the day and also pickpockets are active in the area.
Cannabis can also be purchased from coffee shops throughout the Netherlands if you are 18+ and you will not be in trouble for carrying under 5 grams of cannabis on you. It’s not legal, but decriminalised, so as long as you stick to the rules, you will be fine. As a result of these, prostitution and (soft) drug laws have been designed with society in mind.
Terrorism in the Netherlands
A question that is always brought up, is what about terrorism? With recent terrorist attacks occurring all around the Netherlands and throughout Europe, it’s natural to worry about it. However, terrorism is still rare – as morbid as this is, you’re more likely to be killed in your car on the way to work. Do not be put off by moving to the Netherlands (and Europe) in general because of this.
The current terrorism risk for the Netherlands is ‘substantial’ – this from the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV). This is medium risk.
Natural disasters in the Netherlands
In what way can the Netherlands be unsafe?
Much of the Netherlands is below sea level, so in terms of environmental factors, the Netherlands can be considered unsafe in that way. With sea levels rising, the Netherlands is vulnerable to rising seas and the Dutch are battling with ensuring that the Netherlands doesn’t go under. Thankfully, they have one of the best water management systems in the world such as the Delta Works, dikes and surge barriers. And so far, so good. If they weren’t so good at it, then it certainly wouldn’t be the place to be. In the past, lives were lost due to flooding and now it is generally unheard of. Therefore the actual risk right now is low.
Crime in the Netherlands
Like mentioned in the first section, crime in generally low in the Netherlands. There is a low risk for being mugged (however, precaution should still be taken in busy areas, especially around Amsterdam for your bag being pinched). So don’t leave your bags unattended!
Of course, a variety of different crimes still occur in the Netherlands. Rape, murder, stabbings, shootings, you name it – but most places do. However, the rate is very low for these sorts of crimes.
Is it safe to travel to the Netherlands solo and as a woman?
Many people decide to travel solo and women in particular tend to ask if it is safe to do so. When it comes to the Netherlands, yes it is safe to travel solo and yes it is safe as a woman. Of course, you still need to take regular safety into consideration, like not going out alone at night in secluded areas etc. Have your wits about you still, but in general it’s not more unsafe than most places.
Living in the Netherlands
Like many other places you still need to take precautions. For example, make sure to keep your house locked every time you leave, along with your car. This is especially true if you are away for more than a day (burglar alarms help here and tell a trusted neighbour that you’re gone). No valuables should be on show either ( and no, stroopwafels don’t count as valuables 😉 ).
We know the Dutch like to show their lovely homes with their open curtains, but if you’ve got a lot of valuables on display, it does make you more vulnerable to be broken into.
That’s not the only thing can be unsafe when living here. A fire in your home can be incredibly dangerous and not only damage your belongings but damage you! Make sure to install some basic fire safety equipment in your home (such as fire alarms, distinguishers and blankets). Tip: you can buy these cheap at Action.
Getting around the Netherlands safely:
Use generalised safety precautions in the Netherlands such as: Ensuring that you aren’t walking alone in secluded dimly-lit areas at night if you can help it. Always keep an eye on your children. Taking public transportation is safe, as is driving a car and walking your dog.
If there is an issue, the police are here to help! 112 is the emergency number for the Netherlands.
If you are planning on coming to the Netherlands, then don’t forget to keep copies of all of your travel documents and keep them safe. It’s also a legal requirement to carry ID around with you at all times in the Netherlands, so bear this in mind. 😉 You’re all set! Enjoy being in the Netherlands.
Do you find the Netherlands safe? Let us know in the comments!