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Female travelers: Are women safe in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is a safe city for women of all ages traveling alone or together.

There is very little harassment in the streets or elsewhere. Incidents do occur, though. As everywhere, it is best to observe normal safety precautions: avoid walking alone in poorly lit or unpopulated areas.

women tourists amsterdam

Public transport is busy at all times of the day and night. In buses you may prefer to sit toward the front. The same is true for trams. Some trams also have on-board conductors in a booth toward the rear of the tram.

Many women ride their bikes even at night.

Take reasonable precautions with handbags.

‘Scooter thugs’ sometimes drive past women who stand or walk too close to the bike (and scooter) lane, with the passenger grabbing a handbag. You can get seriously injured that way, especially if you do not let go. At times scooter thugs even drive onto the sidewalk.

Handbags are also prime targets for pocket thieves, particularly in trams. At times when there is standing-room only, and there are people all around you, it is quite easy for a pickpocket to open your bag and steal your phone or purse.

Best solution:

a) carry only a small handbag, and keep it out of harm’s way, and

b) use a money belt or bra pocket (or women’s underwear with a secret pocket) to carry your cash and passport.

Red Light District

Women can and do safely visit the Red Light District, but most prefer to do so with one or more friends.

Women walking by themselves, particularly at night time, may be mistaken as ‘working girls,’ even though working the streets is illegal.

That said, the Red Light District is a residential area that is home to — and is visited by — women of all ages.

It is best to avoid eye-contact with obvious boors and bores, as well as with junks.

Hotels and Hostels

Do not find accommodation via the so-called ‘hotel runners’ at Central Station. Hotel running (people trying to talk you into ‘cheap’ accommodation for the night) is illegal.

Amsterdam has a female-only hostel: Hostelle.

You never know where you end up staying, what you end up paying, and who you will be sharing your room or bed with.

Most youth hostels have coed dorms and shared showers — and some hostels, such as the Flying Pig even have double beds (yes, two people to a bed).

Some hostels offer female-only dorms during the summer months. Christian Youth Hostel The Shelter has female-only dorms year round. Others have private rooms available.

There even is a female-only hostel: Hostelle.

In all hostels and hotels observe normal safety precautions. You’d be surprised how many travelers staying in shared rooms or dorms have lost valuables even though — as they will later say — they left these items on their own beds.

Clothes and Nudity

In Amsterdam you wear what you like. There is no dress code, though of course certain hotels, restaurants and shops do expect you to uphold a certain level of decorum.

But overall it’s OK to wear shorts, short skirts, revealing tops, et cetera.

Young women relaxing at Vondelpark, Amsterdam

Young women relaxing at Vondelpark, Amsterdam

In the parks, at swimming pools, and in semi-public areas such as gardens, balconies and rooftop decks, women do sometimes go topless — though nowadays this occurs less often than it used to.

At places like Vondelpark it is not unusual to see young women sunbathe in just their bra and panties during their lunch break.

Harassment is rare, and there are enough people around to deal with anyone who causes a nuisance.

Recommended Books

Safety and Security for Women Who Travel

This book equips women with a cache of valuable advice on how to gain awareness and stay centered in all situations to enjoy the pleasures, not the pitfalls, of travel. Revised and updated with new chapters and expanded information, the collection covers how to spot scam artists, choose safe travel companions, dress safely, employ trustworthy guides, and deal with hotel registration. Also included are wise suggestions on what to pack, such as extra rubber doorstops and copies of documents.

Gutsy Women: More Travel Tips and Wisdom for the Road

The author has written a book packed so full of valuable information and wisdom that every woman who travels anywhere should read it over and over again. Many of the tips are just as valid when applied to domestic travel as to travel in foreign lands.

Some of the topics are safety and security (TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS is her mantra), women traveling together, health and hygiene, keeping in touch, bargaining, tipping, packing.

Whose Panties are These? More Misadventures from Funny Women on the Road

The best travel stories often hatch when things go completely wrong, and this second title in a series of women’s travel humor capitalizes on that phenomenon with more sidesplitting stories of female misadventure around the world.

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This post was last updated: Feb. 11, 2019