In general the Netherlands is a very safe country to live in. Drug-related crime, murder and other forms of human aggression are at an extremely low level here. However, they do take place from time to time. Therefore, you must always keep your eyes and ears open. This page will cover a few of the key measures you can take, to ensure that you remain safe in the Netherlands.
General safety in the Netherlands
Luckily, the Netherlands is a safe country to live in:
- Dutch streets are generally well-lit
- You can safely let your dog out in the evening
- It is not dangerous to nip to the supermarket or walk to your friends’ house a couple of streets away in the evening
However, there is always a chance that you could find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. So the standard ‘big city’ safety precautions still apply:
- Try not to go walking in deserted areas after dark. Avoid wooded areas in particular
- If you have to walk somewhere alone at night, try to stick to well-lit areas
- Do not use the cash dispenser, if there are only a few other people around you. Be especially careful if they look nervous, or are clearly lingering and watching you
- Keep an eye on your children at all times
- No matter where you are, do not leave your mobile phone, computer or other obvious valuables unattended in your car, and visible from outside
Reporting a crime in the Netherlands
In the unfortunate event that you do become the victim of crime, here are the steps you can take to get help:
- If possible, locate the nearest police officer or police station as soon as possible
- Report the crime and make a statement. (The police will ask you for this at the police station)
- Be sure to give a description of the culprit and the location
- If necessary, cancel your credit cards. The police should advise and help you to do this as well
- Write to your insurance company, to inform them of the loss or theft of your items. Include a copy of the police report as well
Recovering stolen goods
You stand a fairly good chance of finding some of your belongings, if they were stolen in the Netherlands. Good citizens will turn in found wallets or purses to the police. Thieves will remove the cash, bank cards and credit cards from them, but will usually toss away the rest.
- It is always a good idea to keep copies of your travel documents and/or important papers
- Ideally, you should make them before you even come to the Netherlands. Read about other ways you can prepare for your move, in our essential checklist
- It can save you a lot of trouble if you have these safely stowed somewhere, in case something unfortunate does happen!
- Always keep your eye on your purse, bags, cameras and other possessions when you are in busy city areas of the Netherlands
Lock your doors
If you live in a large city in the Netherlands, it is especially important that you keep your doors locked. In fact, wherever you live in Holland, it is a good idea to take this precaution, just in case. Let’s talk locks:
- Whenever you leave your house, always lock your door. This is especially important if you live in a reasonably ‘well-to-do’ neighborhood. These areas are often targeted
- Make sure you have good locks on your doors and windows
- Doors should be fitted with double locks. Or, for additional protection, use dead bolts
- To make your home even more secure, use a ‘dievenklauw‘. This is a special kind of lock. You can purchase this lock from a hardware, or a do-it-yourself, store. Alternatively, a locksmith can install it for you
A safe home in the Netherlands
A locked door is a good first step towards safe-guarding your house. Still, locks can be broken, so don’t tempt fate! Here are some further precautions you can take:
- It is customary for the Dutch to leave their curtains open. However, it is generally not a good idea to show off too many prized possessions
- Try not to have your expensive television, stereo or computer equipment out in full view
- Leaving a pocketbook, wallet or a piece of jewelry out, viewable from the street, is risky too. Thieves can be opportunists
Going away on holiday
If you are planning to go away for a period of more than a few days, you may not want to leave your house completely vacant. You could:
- Ask whether a friend or a neighbor would be willing to keep an eye on it, and pop round every day
- Find someone via a house-sitter organization
- House-sitters will even take care of your pets, if you want!
Of course, however sparse you make your window display, robbers might still attempt to break in. Here is how you can avoid this:
- There are security systems companies in the Netherlands, called: ‘beveiligingsbedrijven‘
- They employ specialists who can install security systems for you
- They can help you with alarm systems, video cameras, fences, electronic eyes, movement detectors, lighting, etc
- Make sure that you are dealing with a reputable agency. You can do this by checking that they have something called a ‘Preventiecertificaat‘ or a ‘Politiekeurmerk’
- This certificate guarantees that the agency are reliable, that they have efficient personnel and that they deliver quality work
- It is also recognized by insurance companies. This means that you may be entitled to discounts on your ‘personal property and home owners’ insurance. This type of insurance is referred to as: ‘inboedel and opstal verzekering‘ in Dutch
- Always ask if a company has this certification before doing business with them
Fire safety in the Netherlands
You should always keep your home protected from fire! This is how you can ensure you are safe from fire in the Netherlands:
- You must have smoke alarms fitted in your house. You can install these quite easily by yourself
- If you are renting, ask your landlord to do it for you
- It is also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in your home
- Smoke alarms and small fire extinguishers can be bought at do-it-yourself/ hardware shops, or at a department stores in the Netherlands
- Again, it is completely reasonable to ask your landlord to pay for these items
- Fire blankets for kitchens and powder extinguishers are also readily available in the Netherlands, and good to have on hand, in your home
The Occupant Identification Card
- In the Netherlands, you can create an identification card, listing the names of all of the occupants of your house (including pets)
- Hang your card up somewhere obvious and easy to find. Your meter closet, hallway of near your telephone are all good options
- If the police or the fire department are called to your house in an emergency, they can see who, and how many people, should be in your home. This means they can be sure that no one has been left behind in the property, if it has to be evacuated
- Cards are available at your local police bureau
Dutch Emergency Services
- The national number for all emergency services in Holland is: 1-1-2
- Should you have an emergency and need the police, the fire department or an ambulance, call this number
- We advise you to affix a 1-1-2 sticker to your phone. Let all your family members, including your children, know that it displays the number to call if a serious emergency arises
- The operator will send the services you need to your address. They will send you all three if required!
Drugs and prostitution
Drugs and prostitution are tolerated to a certain extent in some areas of the Netherlands. This can seems a strange characteristic for such a safety conscious nation! Do not worry. It will in no way compromise your own safety.
‘Free drugs’ in NL
- The Dutch government try to assist drug addicts, by promoting their rehabilitation and attempting to improve their physical and mental condition and social circumstances
- Under certain circumstances, they do hand out free drugs to some addicts
- This is to decrease crime in the streets
- When people are desperate, they are more likely to mug and steal in order to be able to buy drugs
- The drugs are distributed at fixed places in big Dutch cities, away from crowds
Prostitution in NL
- There are areas in Dutch cities where prostitution is condoned
- One of these areas is, of course, the famous ‘red-light district‘ in Amsterdam
- Surprisingly, the red-light district is be considered to be one of the safest areas of Amsterdam!
- This is because it is always well-lit and well-patrolled by police. It is also never deserted, because the prostitution industry operates 24 hours a day. It is particularly busy at night, of course!
- If you wish to visit the area, we recommend that you go during the day-time. Pick pockets are ever-present there, and the police cannot mointor everything
- If you encounter any kind of problem in the red-light district, rest assured that the police have seen and dealt with everything before. So, do not hesitate to enlist their help if you feel unsafe
If you have crime-related problem that is not an emergency:
- Call the Central National Police Information Number: 0900 8844
A list of reliable and acredited Dutch security companies can be found at:
- The ‘Centrum Voor Criminaliteitspreventie Veiligheid’, or ‘CCV’. They are a Dutch ‘Center for Crime Prevention and Security‘
- Or you could try: ‘politiekeurmerk.nl‘
Other reliable house sitting organisations:
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