Safety and security
Schiphol (Amsterdam) Airport
Passengers arriving at Schiphol (Amsterdam) Airport by car or train may experience additional security checks. Please allow an extra half an hour of travel time.
Since March 2013, the Dutch Government has maintained its national terrorism threat level at ‘substantial’. This is the second highest of four levels, and means that 'there is a real chance of an attack'. You should remain vigilant in public places and report any suspicious activity to police.
Public transport is efficient and relatively inexpensive. You can usually pay the driver in cash, however, a travel card (the OVChipkaart) is the cheapest option and can be purchased at any train station. Remember to tag on when you board and tag off when you leave the train, tram or bus. Live travel information for all trains, trams and buses is available on www.9292.nl
Security personnel regularly inspect tickets and failure to pay your fare may result in a large fine or arrest.
Keep your luggage with you as theft of unattended bags is not unusual.
Bicycles and mopeds
Cycling is one of the most popular forms of transport in the Netherlands. In both urban and rural areas there is an extensive network of dedicated lanes (often paved with red tiles), next to the footpaths, for bicycles and mopeds. Don’t walk in the cycle lanes.
Bicycles and mopeds are frequently allowed to travel in either direction on one-way roads, and are given priority at many junctions. Take care when you’re crossing roads and watch out for all forms of traffic – trams, bicycles, cars and mopeds – and, when driving, watch out for cyclists.
The rules of the road in The Netherlands are broadly similar to those in Ireland, and roads are modern and well maintained. The Dutch drive on the right and give priority to the right, unless otherwise indicated. Be particularly careful when using roundabouts: on some you have the right of way when on them but on others right of way must be given to vehicles entering.
If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
- Take extra care with bicycle traffic which generally has priority (see above).
- Be aware of The Netherlands’ traffic laws, such as speed limits. Speed cameras, speed traps and unmarked vehicles are widely used. Motorway speed limits are 120kph, except where lower limits are posted. City limits are generally 50kph.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Foreigners are often the targets of robbery, pickpocketing and bag snatching. Pickpocketing is common around Amsterdam's main tourist attractions, in restaurants and tourist accommodation, on public transport and at transport hubs. Take particular care in central Amsterdam (especially Centraal Station), in Schiphol (Amsterdam) airport, and on the trains between Schiphol airport and Amsterdam city.
There are reports of bag snatching on trains and trams, including those that operate through Schiphol (Amsterdam) Airport. Thieves sometimes operate in pairs, with one attempting to distract you while the other steals your possessions. People using automatic teller machines (ATMs) around nightclubs and bars are frequent targets.
There are reports of thieves posing as plain clothes policemen. The thieves ask to inspect currency and credit cards looking for counterfeits. Tourists handing over money have been robbed.
- Don’t carry your passport when out unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave your passport, spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Incidents of drink spiking have been reported. Do not accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended.
Reporting a crime
If you’re a victim of a crime while in The Netherlands, report it to the local police immediately. Most Dutch police ("Politie" in Dutch) speak excellent English. You can also contact us at the Irish Embassy in The Hague if you need assistance.
Wed, 03 Aug 2016 12:07:22 BST