Four in five young women in Amsterdam harassed on the street


Harassment remains a problem in Amsterdam with 80% of young women saying they have had to cope with intimidation while out on the street, according to a new report by the city’s research bureau OIS.

In total, 41% of the 3,518 people polled said they had been confronted with some form of harassment in the past year, with just over half of the women polled saying they had faced problems.

But four in five women under the age of 35 said they had been harassed. In 34% of cases the intimidation involved being whistled at, while in 35% of cases women were subjected to unwanted sexual or insulting behaviour.

In 2017 Amsterdam voted to bring in a ban on hissing and making sexual innuendos but three men arrested for harassing women at the Sloterplas recreational lake in June will are unlikely to face charges, the Parool said on Tuesday.

The three were arrested for sexual intimidation after undercover policewomen were drafted in to deal with complaints from women who had been harassed while jogging or walking round the lake in western Amsterdam.

However, as the bylaws have not yet been put into practice, the men are unlikely to be charged, mayor Femke Halsema told the paper.


Amsterdam first introduced local bylaws banning street intimidation in 2017 but the issue has been on the back burner since Halsema said she had a number of objections.

‘A ban on hissing is only dealing with the symptoms,’ Halsema told the Parool earlier this year. ‘You have to use education and get rid of the idea that is completely normal to shout at women in the street.’


A similar ban has been enacted in Rotterdam and several cases have come to trial. In December 2018, a 36-year-old Rotterdam man was fined €200 for harassing two women in the street, in the first conviction of its kind in the Netherlands.

The man, seen as a test case by the public prosecution department, was convicted on the basis of evidence from street wardens rather than complaints from the women themselves and the case has gone to appeal.

Draft national legislation which would make street intimidation a criminal offence is currently being looked at by the Council of State.

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