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Amsterdam Best Town To Live In Despite Top Crime Rate

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May 28th, 2013

In terms of crime, Amsterdam is the most dangerous city in the Netherlands. Nonetheless, the capital remains the most attractive city in Holland to live in, according to the 15th edition of the Atlas for Municipalities.1

Each year the Foundation Atlas for Municipalities compares the country’s 50 largest municipalities on 50 indicators, such as crime figures, poverty, cultural offerings, infrastructure and accessibility.
Kromme Waal, Amsterdam
Amsterdam tops the list in spite of negative points in such areas as poverty, the percentage of residents on welfare, and safety.

In fact, according to the annual Crime Meter2 published last week by Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, Amsterdam is the country’s least safe city.

The paper attributes this mainly to the large number of burglars and pickpockets operating in the city — and says tourism is partly to blame because the presence of tourists brings and increase in pickpocketing and nightlife violence.

On the other hand, the combination of an interesting city center, extensive cultural and culinary offerings, and the steady supply of work opportunities contributes to the city’s popularity.

In previous years Amsterdam also ranked at the top of the list, despite its relative inaccessibility. But here is where this year the city made great strides.

In the Atlas’ Top Ten of cities that made the greatest improvement in accessibility, Amsterdam takes second place, just after Amstelveen — a municipality in the city’s metropolitan area.


Last year Amsterdam ranked fourth in a list of European capitals with the highest per capita number of murders and other unnatural deaths, according to report by Eurostat, the statistics service of the European Union.

Man argues with Amsterdam police officer over a traffic ticket.  Horse more interested than cop.

Man argues with Amsterdam police officer over a traffic ticket. Horse more interested than cop.

But according to Eurostat, it counted as homicide not just death by violent crime, but also death as the result of dangerous driving, abortion and help with suicide.3

It addition, over the past decade or so many homicides took place in the criminal circuit — with criminals killing other criminals in turf wars or acts of revenge.

Overall, Amsterdam is relatively safe, even for women traveling together or alone.

Worldwide: 12th Most Livable

In the 2012 version of its annual listing of the World’s Best Cities to live in, Mercer Consulting ranked Amsterdam at number 12. Mercer’s analysis is based on an evaluation of 39 quality-of-living criteria for each city including political, social, economic and environmental factors, personal safety and health, education, transport and other public services.


  1. Dutch: Atlas voor Gemeenten
  2. Dutch: Misdaadmeter
  3. Eurostat says, “Homicide is a type of violent crime, and is defined as the intentional killing of a person, including murder, manslaughter, euthanasia and infanticide. It excludes death by dangerous driving, abortion and help with suicide.”
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