Whether you live and work here or are just visiting, making sure you feel safe and welcome is very important to us. After all, there's a reason we have such a great reputation for being warm and friendly to everyone!

Scotland is famous throughout the world for its incredible warmth and unbeatable hospitality. Whether it’s the many thousands who choose to live here permanently or the more than 2.5 million visitors who travel to Scotland every year, everyone speaks of the genuine friendliness of the Scottish people.

An accepting and inclusive nation

Although we certainly have a strong national identity, this doesn’t stop us from embracing new cultures and new people. More than 170 languages are spoken in Scotland; from Punjabi to Polish, Cantonese to Gaelic, these languages reflect a modern and inclusive Scotland. After all, we’re a rich and diverse country which sees many different cultures from across the world living in harmony together.

Scottish people hold equality, tolerance and social justice in high esteem and we’re constantly striving to create a society that is free from prejudice and inequality. In recent years Scotland has been rated as the best country in Europe for LGBTI equality and human rights. We are also actively working to tackle gender inequality and we’re proud of the fact that we have the smallest gender pay gap in the entire UK.

For Scots, there’s really nothing more important than coming together and having a good time. We believe that no matter where you’re from, or why you came, you should be treated fairly and given every opportunity to succeed. It’s beliefs like this that saw us welcome more than a third of all Syrian refugees settling in the UK during the recent crisis. This was done despite the fact that Scotland only makes up 10% of the UK population.

Safety in Scotland

Scotland is a warm and safe place for you and your family to live or visit. Our dedicated police force work within communities to tackle crime and keep people safe.

Our government is also committed to keeping Scotland safe. Crime reported to the police has fallen by over 20% since 2008 and is at its lowest levels in over 40 years. During this time surveys have also shown a consistent improvement in perceptions of police effectiveness throughout the country.

If you find yourself in an emergency situation at any time while in Scotland, dial 999 from any phone to get emergency help. This free service connects you to ambulances, fire and rescue, coastguard and the police.

To report a crime dial 101.

Find out more on keeping safe in Scotland

Faith and belief

Scotland is extremely proud to be a multi-faith society – it’s part of what makes us such a vibrant, well-rounded country. We welcome people of all ethnic backgrounds and religions and we ensure people are free to follow their beliefs with respect.

Scotland is historically a Christian country and a large portion of the population still consider themselves Christian. Christmas and Easter are celebrated widely and used as the basis for school holiday timings in winter and spring. The second largest faith in Scotland is Islam and there are mosques or Islamic Centres in all major cities and towns across the country. The largest of these is the Glasgow Central Mosque which opened in 1984.

Though these two schools of belief dominate the religious spectrum in Scotland, many others also experience large groups of followers. For example, there have been communities of Sikhs in Scotland for over a century with gurdwaras in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Irvine. Glasgow is home to the first purpose-built Sikh temple in Scotland with a prayer room which holds up to 1000 people.

Scotland's Humanist community also plays an important role in the diversity of our country. Humanist weddings have been legally recognised as marriages in Scotland since 2005 and we remain the only part of the UK to recognise Humanist weddings as legal. In fact, since 2015, Humanist weddings have actually been the most popular form of marriage in Scotland. 

Scotland is also home to the largest Buddhist temple in Western Europe and has over 7000 people following the religion. Hindus make up a small but colourful minority in Scotland of around 5600. Major temples include the Hindu Temple of Scotland in Glasgow and the Edinburgh Hindu Mandir & Cultural Centre, although there are smaller communities across the country.

Whatever your belief, join us as we share and enjoy each other’s cultures with festivals and events throughout the year.

Find out more about Scotland's annual festivals