Alkmaar is a city located in the North Holland province of the Netherlands. As of 2021, it has a population of approximately 110,000 inhabitants. The city is known for its cheese market, charming canals, and rich history, making it a popular destination for tourists.
In terms of crime rates, Alkmaar is considered a relatively safe city. According to the Dutch Police website, the number of reported crimes per 1,000 inhabitants in Alkmaar is below the national average. However, like any city, there are certain areas that are known to be more dangerous than others. Visitors to Alkmaar should exercise caution when walking around at night in the more remote areas of the city center.
Historically, Alkmaar has had its fair share of crime, particularly during the 16th and 17th centuries when the city was a major hub for trade and commerce. At the time, Alkmaar was plagued by pirates and privateers who would raid the city's ships and steal their valuable cargo. These attacks often resulted in violence and bloodshed.
Today, the most common types of crime in Alkmaar are theft and vandalism. Visitors should take precautions to protect their belongings, particularly in crowded areas like the cheese market, which can be a target for pickpockets. It is also advisable to lock bicycles securely, as bike theft is a common problem in the Netherlands.
In terms of dangerous areas, visitors should be wary of the neighborhood known as Overdie. This area has a reputation for drug-related crime and is generally considered unsafe, particularly at night. It is also advisable to avoid the area around the train station after dark, as this can be a magnet for unsavory characters.
The safest times of day to be out and about in Alkmaar are during the daytime hours, particularly in busy areas with lots of foot traffic. The city center is generally safe, even at night, but visitors should exercise caution when venturing outside of the main tourist areas.
Other safety advice specific to Alkmaar includes being mindful of bicycles and mopeds when walking around the city, as they can come up behind you quickly and without warning. It is also worth noting that smoking in public spaces is not allowed in the Netherlands, so visitors should be mindful of this and avoid smoking in areas where it is prohibited.
In terms of cultural norms and habits, the people of Alkmaar are generally friendly and welcoming to visitors. However, like most Dutch people, they value their personal space and may seem reserved or aloof to outsiders. Visitors should also be aware that the Dutch are very direct and can come across as blunt or even rude to those who are not used to their style of communication.
Overall, Alkmaar is a relatively safe city with a lot to offer visitors. As with any destination, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. By exercising common sense and following the advice outlined above, visitors to Alkmaar can enjoy a safe and enjoyable trip to this charming Dutch city.