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A question of knife legality in Europe

7258 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  arrexian
Me and my brother will be backpacking in Europe for a month and well be in the following countries: Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Switzerland. My question is, does anyone know the legality of carrying a folding knife for purposes of self defense? Is there a size limit? Do any of these countries ban it outright?

I ask because we will be staying in the cheapest hostels we can find the whole time and as a result may be in some rougher neighborhoods.

Thank you for your input!

I tried a google search but came up with little :(
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In France knives are under the arme blanche category and theoretically there needs to be legitimate reason (being in the outdoors) accompanied by a hunters or fishing permit. Urban carry or carry for defence isn't allowed expressly. Yet the law here makes reference to bayonets, butterflies, extendable rods and other military/police weapons specifically. However smaller knives without a blocking mechanism are actively ignored. Equally, lock penknives are nothing, people have them on keyrings. The laws on the 6th catagory are not clear and the police, gendarmerie and customs all interpret them differently as legal cases have shown. Normally it boils down to whether the knife only has a lethal use and if the carrier is a scoundrel. Basically a small discreet knife without a lock is alright in France, if you want down to earth advise, but just don't cross a border with it, take it out in a city hotel or on a train. How any clean person is caught with a knife I couldn't understand. I met lots of knife carrying people in hostels and I'm sure there were more but just didn't know about they carried. In france you aren't going to be stop searched for nothing in the street, there's no need for those sorts of policies as people aren't getting knived to the same extent as countries with strict knife policy.
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