As 'overtourism' threatens to overwhelm the city, the Dutch capital is actively telling certain travelers not to visit via what city officials are dubbing a 'discouragement campaign'.
Three weeks ago, Amsterdam announced it would ban people from smoking marijuana on the streets in the Red Light District. The new regulations, which will take effect in mid-May, were introduced in response to complaints from residents about disruptive tourists who flood the district in the late hours and engage in antisocial behavior.
“Residents of the old town suffer a lot from mass tourism and alcohol and drug abuse in the streets,” the council said in a statement. “Tourists can also attract street dealers who in turn cause crime and insecurity.”
"Nuisance tourists" no longer welcome
The council added that the atmosphere can “get grim, especially at night” when people loiter in the streets for a long time.
It’s not yet clear if the regulations will be extended to ban smoking on the terraces of the marijuana cafes in the Red Light District, though the council has said that is under consideration. The raft of new rules announced in February included a rule obligating prostitution businesses to close by 3am, and cafes and restaurants at 2am.
The move to tidy up the area is in line with a new tourism campaign Amsterdam is launching this year that aims to encourage more-responsible tourism while actively dissuading what the city describes as “nuisance tourists” from visiting. In other words, those who go to Amsterdam purely to drink alcohol and take drugs.
Crowds of tourists walk at night along the canal in the Red Light District, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam’s new measures for tourists are intended to reduce “overtourism” and antisocial behavior, especially in the city’s famed Red Light District © hurricanehank / Shutterstock
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