The Netherlands is one of the safest countries for tourists and to live in. However, in bigger cities, there are many more people and higher chances of suffering some sort of theft, pickpocketing and other small crimes that are very sporadic but possible. Rotterdam is no exception.
Rotterdam is one of the safest cities in Europe but because it is a big city you should be careful with your belongings in case of pickpocketing and other small crimes. In general, it is very safe for lonely travelers, women, children and anyone who wants to visit the city.
In any case, like any capital or big city anywhere in the world, taking small measures to avoid uncomfortable episodes is recommended. I have personally been so many times in Rotterdam I can’t even remember and I have never felt unsafe or have been any uncomfortable situation happening around me, however, taking care of yourself is a must when travelling.
Safe in Rotterdam
In general, the Netherlands is one of the safest countries I have ever been to and you can actually feel it in the air. Rotterdam, even though being one of the biggest cities in the country, is no exception.
It is commonly known that bigger cities mean bigger problems, but even though every now and then some things happen, it is not common. I have been in Rotterdam many times, alone, at night, during the day, with friends and I have ever felt unsafe. I have been reading about safeness in the Netherlands I like a lot how Safety Around describes it:
- General Risk: the Netherlands is considered to be the 16th safest country out of 162 that participate in the ranking. This is a great position, which means that sometimes some pickpocketing happens but it is not common.
- Pickpocketing Risk: It is low but it exists. This may be more common on public transportation, on rush hours, by the market in Rotterdam, shopping centre areas and so on. Being the Netherlands the country that it is, I have lost my cards and other things in Amsterdam and people have been nice enough to give it to the authorities, etc. If you want to avoid this from happening, the common tips work perfectly well, closed zipper on bags, not having things on your pocket, being careful while walking around and camera and so on.
- Assault Risk: It is also very low. I mean, the chances of something like this happening to you in Rotterdam are one in a million. Guns and other types of weapons are not legal in the Netherlands, unlike other countries.
- Scams Risk: this may be more common than another type of things. I mean, I have heard from tourists paying more for the taxi from the airport or things like that. Something I want to say is that the country and also Rotterdam is very well controlled by authorities. It is not likely to run into someone offering you fake products or illegal dupes.
- Transport Risk: Public transportation in the Netherlands is one of my favourites in the whole world. The risk is almost nonexistent. The way transport works in Rotterdam is controlled by the Government. On their official websites, 9292.nl or NS.nl you will be able to see it all and know exactly where to go. There are cameras and there is always a controller making sure nothing ever happens.
- Natural Disaster Risk: As terrifying as it is to think that the Netherlands is literally under the water, Rotterdam is pretty higher in comparison to other parts of the country and everything is controlled. No risk of earthquakes, no risk of natural disasters whatsoever… a lot of risk of getting wet!
- Women Travelling Alone Risk: I can talk about this aspect from my personal experience because I tend to travel alone (and I am a woman). In Rotterdam, as in the rest of the Netherlands, I have never felt unsafe. In general, the Red Light District in Rotterdam is safe, the Port I wouldn’t recommend for anyone if it is not during the daylight more because of my own feeling than the chances of anything ever happening to you. Getting to Rotterdam, walking around, taking public transportation after midnight, partying, it is all good, no worries! Risk is really low.
Useful Information: Make your Trip Safer
First of all, getting to know the place you are visiting it will give you more confidence. Going to a new place is always a little bit scary, mostly when you are travelling alone, so my number one tip would be to immerse yourself as much as possible into the culture, the city and everything there is to know.
Planning: is key
If you are staying in Rotterdam, I would recommend you to have a copy and know your way around. This would mean knowing the name of your hotel, the street, what train you have to take from the airport, a phone number and so on. The more the merrier, in a way.
What are the best areas to stay, safety-wise? There are no bad areas. The centre of the city is the most popular one because of all the fun activities one can do there, however, no preference concerning safeness.
Travel Insurance: worth it?
If you are bringing along a great camera, a new iPhone or a new laptop… or even for whatever major setback happens to you… travel insurance is key. If you travel a lot and you can afford it, it is a great idea. Besides, health insurance and any health assistance in the Netherlands are private, which means that any emergency, any type of accident, dental care, medical care and all, will not be free but rather expensive.
If you want to know more about how the health system works in the Netherlands, click here. I would like to add that even if you are an EU citizen, the Netherlands has its own health system and if Dutch citizens have to pay for it, you too.
Weather: is it safe?
As I was commenting before, the worst thing that will happen to you is rain. Sometimes, and only sometimes, there are really strong storms.
- Airports will take all their safety measures so you won’t have to worry about your flight because they will keep you informed about the changes on your flight.
- Rain is not really a problem. I have seen more dangerous rainy days in Spain than in the Netherlands. This country is so prepared for the highest amount of water that no water is too much water. Therefore, Rotterdam is more than ready for heavy rain, you just have to be too!
- Natural disasters are not common. the most you will get is a strong storm, a small hail storm and a small tornado, but it is not likely to happen and there will be safety measures and information about it. But don’t worry about them.
Drugs: is it a problem?
This is a whole different approach and very controversial. When it comes to drug and safety, the whole idea of legalising marihuana and other things is to have control over it, which makes it safer for any type of consume or for those of us who don’t consume. The amount is controlled, the consumer is controlled and that makes it safe.
Saying that, for me as a non-consumer, I have never had any problem with Coffeeshops or smells or anything at all that would make me feel unsafe at all.
Theft: does it happen?
Only with bigs. Bikes are the most-stolen good in the whole country. I believe you can drop your keys, your money, and even your wallet and there is a high chance to get it back almost immediately and untouched. However, bikes are the exception to the rule and you need to be careful in Rotterdam with your bikes as much as anywhere in the Netherlands. Either if you rent a bike for the day or if you decide to get one of your own, it is important to be careful, locke it properly to something that won’t be moved or taken away, etc.
Besides bikes, as I was mentioning before, the only thing that should concern you is basically being careful with your good for pickpocketing but not really theft.
To Sum Up
If you are travelling to Rotterdam or thinking about it, safeness is not something that should concern you. Being aware of where you are going and how the whole country works will help you prevent anything from happening and also feeling safer and more comfortable on your trip.
Rotterdam as a city is definitely worth being visit. Not so long ago I wrote an article about all the Reasons Why You Should Rotterdam, with all my recommendations of places that I love and come back to every chance that I have.