The Local Amsterdam Authority has urged British tourists to ‘stay away’ from the city should they intend to engage in partying activities once they arrive. Amsterdam’s ‘nuisance tourist’ crackdown seeks to clean up the capital’s party reputation which has led to ‘irresponsible growth’.
Alderman of the Economic Affairs and Action Inner City for the Amsterdam municipality, Sofyan Mbarki, insisted that while ‘party tourism’ is heavily discouraged, Amsterdam is still open for general tourism.
"Visitors remain welcome, but not if they misbehave and are a nuisance. Then we as a city say: “rather not, stay away," said Mbarki.
Many of the city’s 20 million annual tourists indulge in drinking, smoking, illegal drug taking, and Amsterdam’s infamous red-light district—a congregation of brothels and legal prostitution rings.
The head of the local Christain Democrats, Diedrick Boomsma, fears that the city will be swept up in the seedy party atmosphere, demanding stricter enforcement for law-breaking tourists.
“Amsterdam needs to get rid of its image as a Walhalla for easily accessible drugs, prostitution and booze.”
The city enjoys a particularly salacious reputation amongst young British men aged between 18-35, a group that Amsterdam authorities have specifically targeted through their online ad campaign.
Amsterdam will enact the plans this weekend, forcing the 249 window brothels which make up the red-light district to close at 3am instead of 6am. Bars closure will also be moved to 2am, the early time aims to reduce the likelihood of party-goers making it to the red-light district in the first place.
Attacking the root of the problem, Google searches for ‘Amsterdam stags’ or ‘Amsterdam pub crawls’ will also be accompanied by videos and advertisements linked to the ad campaign. AirBnBs in known party centres have been banned, and cruise and tour cars will have to find new routes.
Criminal records and Fines up to €140 for dumping rubbish await boozy punters who wish to circumnavigate the new restrictions.
Many locals ponder the relevance of banning British tourists in a city that receives 18 million annually.
Local resident and founding director of the Condomerie shop, Theodoor van Boven, spoke to the Guardian about residents’ ‘stay away’ trepidations, arguing that antisocial behaviour and drug distribution have greater impacts on the local community.
“The Dutch, Amsterdammers, North Hollanders, and other nationalities can misbehave just as well!”
Rising prices in the capital have exacerbated the city’s drug problem, a factor that the absence of the British,and the lucrative currency influx their partying provides fails to alleviate.
The popularity of synthetic drugs such as ’paddodruppels’, a liquid psilocybin extract, is a testament to the pervasiveness of Amsterdam’s drug problem.
“It’s a new hype”, said a local resident speaking to the NL Times under the pseudonym “Peter.” “Now everyone knows it and uses it.”
Despite increases in local drug use, Amsterdam authorities hope the campaign will cleanse the city of its internationally seedy reputation amongst young men. After the trial run aimed at young British men, the campaign will extend to the rest of Europe.
Similar campaigns in Lanzarote and Ibiza were unveiled earlier this year after officials were similarly “fed up” with obtrusive British tourists. Their campaigns have yet to yield substantial cuts to British visitation numbers, however.
Whether Amsterdam’s campaign proves successful remains to be seen. At a minimum, Amsterdam authorities wish to reduce tourism numbers to alleviate the stress on the city’s infrastructure, by reducing the 18 million visits to a sustainable 10 million annually. The city’s famous red light district will also be relocated into a new ‘erotic zone’ outside the city, all with the aim of repairing the city's reputation.
Should such restrictions and relocations prove successful, Amsterdam authorities will have achieved their goal of making the city ‘liveable’—an achievable, yet distant dream for Mr. Mbarki.
Edited by: Alanna Fullerton
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