Amsterdam alone

Old Dec 29th, 2004, 07:39 PM
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Amsterdam alone

Just found out I will travelling alone to Amersterdam. Is it safe to walk alone at night on the main streets?
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 04:26 AM
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As a man, I may not be the best person to comment, but I would have said yes, reasonably safe. You might want to avoid the 'Walletjes' or red light district (mainly because of the crowds of boisterous drunks), and the somewhat deserted area north of the main railway station, but most parts of the central city should be as safe as any other major European city. Which is to say that you can't rule out the odd lunatic, but as long as you don't leave your diamond necklace dangling out of an opened handbag you should be OK.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 05:28 AM
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I was in Amsterdam last year and never felt any more or less safe than in any other European city - which means I felt pretty safe. I was with another woman but I would not hesitate to go there alone. As Patrick said, I'd probably just avoid the red light district after dark (it's perfectly fine in the day time).
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 07:18 AM
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If you're used to cities and reasonably sophisticated Amsterdam is perfectly safe for a woman alone - just follow all the usual rules. If you're a very naive country mouse - well, I'm not sure why you're in Amsterdam alone to begin with.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 07:48 AM
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I was in amsterdam (solo, female) for 5 days at the beginning of a trip. I felt safe in the Leidseplein district where I was staying. I was less certain in the central area around the train station, The Dam, RLD, even in the day it just felt a bit rough to me. Honestly I wasn't out beyond a late dinner (which felt perfectly fine) so don't know about going to clubs, etc. if that's what you have in mind.

Even by day, when I was walking all over the city, Amsterdam struck me as a place that changed block to block. Strolling in what appeared a good neighborhood and turning a corner, crossing a bridge whatever, the atmosphere could suddenly change to a more seedy area.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 08:20 AM
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I disagree that "seedy" (however one happens to define that term) necessarily means "unsafe." In A-dam there are as likely to be as many "boisterous drunks" on the Damrak as there are prowling around the Red Light District.

I'm much rather take my chances there than in some US cities after dark to be honest about it.

Either don't go out after dark or take a cab or tram. IMO the city is as safe as any.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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I was using the term <seedy> as in people passed out on benches in a park, etc. not necessarily feeling threatened at the time but a place I would not want to have ended up accidentally alone late at night.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 10:37 AM
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I've been to Amsterdam alone a lot and am comfortable walking after dark. Just use the good sense you would use anywhere else and act with a sense of purpose.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 10:47 AM
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I stayed in a B&B on Herenstraat in Amsterdam and while I felt comfortable to walk around this area alone during the day and night, there were areas not far from this location where I did not particulary feel comfortable even during the day. I agree with Suze that you can turn a corner and be in a completely different atmosphere. Get a feel for the city on your 1st day during daylight hours and you will have a better gauge of your comfort zone. The areas that I didn't feel comfortable (not afraid, just more on guard) were the DAM & RLD areas and it was mostly because of the loud drunks. Amsterdam is a great city and I hope you have a great time!
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 12:05 PM
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I'm a cop so I'm not exactly wimpy but I'm not stupid/careless either. I'll arrive by train from Paris at 1700 and I'm staying at the Ambassade. Any good ideas for a dinner near there? I think then I'll go back to the hotel for the night. The next day I'll explore the city in the daytime.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 12:23 PM
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Blondiepopo,
Ah, the Ambassade.... my fave hotel in Amsterdam! How I wish I were going soon.

The Ambassade is on the Herengracht, one of the main canals in the Canal Ring District. Some stretches along the canals are residential (all 16th and 17th century, beautiful) and then they go across streets with businesses, so it's mixed. You are also going to be quite close to the Spuistraat area, which has more business addresses. All in all, I think it's a very nice place to stay in Amsterdam.

Here's a little personal anecdote to "safety in Amsterdam". On my first trip, I did not stay at the Ambassade, but at a B&B about six blocks away. I did, however, use the spa connected with the Ambassade (Koan Float) to get a massage late in the evening, which got me out of the spa at almost midnight. I asked the desk staff if I should call a cab back to my B&B, or if it was o.k. to walk. They said it was perfectly o.k. to walk at that hour, for after all, they gently pointed out, "this is Amsterdam". I walked along the quiet canals with a full moon over me and saw the most incredible thing --- three pairs of white horses being ridden back along the cobblestone streets to the stables near the Vondel Park! It seems they had been in some kind of ceremony at Dam Square that evening. It was indescribably romantic, trippy in the best way - hope something like that happens to you.

As an aside, I found the Dutch custom of leaving the living room curtains open to be very reassuring and nice during my night time walks through town. I got many glimpses of that domestic warmth that Dutch are famous for, and it was good to know that people were up, having late meals, reading, chatting, etc.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 01:39 PM
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blondiepopo,

Good choice. The Ambassade is my favorite hotel in Amsterdam.

For dinner I recommend the Luden on Spuistraat. That's out the door of the Ambassade, turn left to the first alley, go over one canal, and turn left at the next street, Spuistraat. It's a hundred meters or less on your left.

If you want a before dinner drink with the locals, my favorite pub is the Hoppe. That is on your right at the Spuistraat. In fact, before you get to Spuistraat, duck into the side door at the back of the cafe. It gets busy after work until about 8pm. Great place for chat and fun with an upscale professional crowd. For lunch or people watching go to the Cafe Luxembourg. That is about 2 doors to your left from the Hoppe front door. In winter they serve the best erwtensoep (pea soup) you'll find anywhere.

The neighborhood is crowded with Dutch men and women going about their business, day and evening. It's not touristy. You'll meet the locals. The biggest danger is in being run over by a local on his/her bicycle. Listen for the ring-a-ding! Stay out of the bike path.

I just bought the Lonely Planet Amsterdam map. I've got a dozen or more Amsterdam maps already but I highly recommend the Lonely Planet version. The ISBN is 1864500816, for about $5 at Amazon. Look for that 50 meter long and 3 meter wide "street" named Wijde Heist and then Heist, first corner from the Ambassade. That will be your gateway to the city.




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