Fire and rescue services
We haven't changed our level of advice:
Exercise normal safety precautions in the Netherlands.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
There's a threat of terrorist attack in several European countries, including the Netherlands. Targets could include major sporting events and mass gatherings.
The national terrorism threat level is significant - level 3 of 5. This means an attack is possible. The level was lowered from level 4 of 5 (substantial) on 9 December 2019.
Terrorist attacks happen across Europe. Targets may include:
European security services have also stopped some planned attacks.
To protect yourself from terrorism:
If there's an attack, leave the area immediately as soon as it's safe. Avoid the affected area in case of secondary attacks.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Robbery, pickpocketing and bag snatching are common.
Pickpocketing happens in Amsterdam, especially:
Bag snatching also happens on trains and trams, including at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. Mobile devices are often targeted.
Thieves often work in pairs, with one distracting you and the other stealing from you. ATMs around nightclubs and bars are frequent targets.
Take care of your personal belongings, particularly on public transport and in busy tourist spots.
Thieves sometimes pose as plain-clothes police officers. They may ask to check money and credit cards to look for counterfeits. They will then rob you.
If plain-clothes police ask to check your money or credit cards, offer to walk with them to the nearest police station to verify their identity and their demands.
Drink spiking also happens.
To protect yourself from drink spiking:
'Advance fee fraud' and lottery scams happen. Australians have lost large amounts of money in these scams.
In the 'advance fee fraud' scam, you receive an email about an inheritance or another offer of money. This email usually comes from a country in Africa. The scammer asks you for an advance payment for 'official expenses'. You're invited to visit the Netherlands to finalise the transaction, but you won't get any money. When you return to Australia, sham lawyers may also offer to 'help' get your lost money back.
In the lottery scam, scammers contact you to say you're the winner of a fake foreign lottery. They request you to pay administration costs to receive the lottery winnings.
To avoid being a victim of a scam:
Civil unrest is rare. However, public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
Monitor the news and plan your travel to avoid any possible or actual protests or rallies.
If you're in an area where there's unrest, follow the advice of local authorities.
Severe weather can affect your travel overseas. Get up-to-date information from local media.
If you're visiting an area recently affected by severe weather:
Register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System to receive alerts on major disasters.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you need counselling services while overseas, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305. Ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in the Netherlands. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
Health risks are broadly similar to those in Australia.
Medical facilities and care are similar to Australia. Medical costs are high.
Australia has a reciprocal health care agreement with the Netherlands. This means you can get urgent or emergency treatment in the public hospital system with a valid Medicare card.
The reciprocal health care agreement doesn't:
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
The minimum age for buying alcohol and tobacco is 18 years.
You can only buy or use marijuana (cannabis) in designated shops if you're a resident of the Netherlands.
You could face criminal penalties, including fines and jail if:
Taking drugs will weaken your decision-making ability. This may put you more at risk of violence, robbery or sexual assault.
Under Dutch law, everyone aged over 14 years must carry ID. You could show either:
Dutch police officers and other authorities can request to see these documents at any time. They may fine you if you can't show ID.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Netherlands recognises dual citizens.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
The Netherlands is part of the Schengen area, along with many other European countries.
You can enter the Netherlands without a visa in some cases.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
Extra security at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport may lead to delays. Allow extra time to check in and clear customs, immigration and security:
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The currency of the Netherlands is the Euro.
Declare amounts equivalent to 10,000 euros or more if you're travelling between the Netherlands and any non-European Union (EU) country. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
If you don't, or if you give wrong information at a border, you may be fined.
You won't need to declare currency if you're travelling to or from another EU country.
Asylum seekers have placed significant pressure on border controls in Europe.
Carry your passport when crossing borders, even within the Schengen area. Stay informed about border conditions by checking local news and asking transport providers.
You can drive in the Netherlands if you meet these criteria:
After 185 days, you'll need to apply for a Dutch licence.
If you plan to hire a vehicle, get an International Driving Permit (IDP). You may need it to get insurance from a car rental company. Get your IDP before you leave Australia.
Road conditions are similar to those in Australia, but some basic rules differ.
Check with your travel insurer if your policy covers you when riding a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.
Always wear a helmet.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check the Netherlands' air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
For non-urgent criminal issues, contact the nearest police station.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
You can get consular help from the Australian Embassy in The Hague.
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
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