Taking a taxi.

Amsterdam has a lot of taxis. Lately the Gemeente is trying to regulate them more, and cut back on the crowd of out-of-town taxis flocking to the city at the weekends.

There are several taxi companies, but the biggest and most nearly reputable one is TCA, or Taxicentrale Amsterdam. You can send for a TCA cab by phoning 020 777 7777. It helps if you can pronounce your address.

You can flag down a taxi in the street, although they’re not permitted to stop just anywhere, if doing so breaks a traffic law.

You can also find one at an official taxi stand, or taxistandplaats. There are dozens of those scattered around town. As I write this, the city even has an online map of them all — see http://www.amsterdam.nl/parkeren-verkeer/taxi/waar-vind-taxi/kaart-taxi.

If you're not sure how to pronounce where you're going, it's a good idea to write down the destination address ahead of time, so that if there's any doubt you can show it to the driver.

Things that are supposed to be against the rules:

A taxi driver shouldn't refuse you because of a short ride. The ones at Centraal Station used to be notorious for that. Too bad for them if they’ve been waiting in line for a while, hoping for a big fish. Refusing a short fare is against the rules.

A taxi driver is not supposed to offer you a cab while you’re in the terminal at Schiphol airport. He is supposed to wait in the taxi-line outside like everybody else.

If you have a taxi gripe, you can note the cab number or number-plate, and report them by phoning 0900 202 1881, or at www.taxiklacht.nl.

I do sometimes read about unpleasant incidents with aggressive taxichauffeurs. A few years ago in Leidseplein one of them got into a fight with a customer, who ended up banging his head on the pavement and dying, and there was a big scandal. But: in all my years of taking cabs around Amsterdam, I’ve almost never had a nasty experience myself.

Something important: When you're about to climb out of a taxi? Before you open the door, check behind you to see if somebody is riding up on a bike! Just last night a cyclist was severely injured when a tourist suddenly opened a taxi door in his path.