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Amsterdam is cracking down on rowdy tourists

The Dutch city wants to cut back on tourists coming to the city for sex and drugs – and it’s targeting Brits first

Ed Cunningham
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Ed Cunningham
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Amsterdam has long had a bit of a rep for the sleazier side of things. Sure, the Dutch capital is magnificent; a cultural bastion with more art, history and natural beauty than some entire countries. But for some, it’s better known for, ahem, other stuff – namely its weed ‘coffeeshops’ and red light district.

But now Amsterdam has decided it wants to completely shake off its sleazy image. A new ‘stay away’ advertising campaign wants to discourage people travelling to the city for drinking, prostitution and drugs.  

The campaign will first be targeted at British tourists, who’re often considered the city’s rowdiest and most disruptive visitors. However, if the campaign is successful, it’ll be expanded to include travellers from other countries, too.

On the whole, Amsterdam’s attitude to prostitution and marijuana is much more liberal than most cities in Europe. Brothels are legal in the Dutch city, while smoking marijuana in ‘coffeeshops’ is tolerated by local authorities.

The ‘stay away’ campaign isn’t the only thing Amsterdam is doing to deter rowdy tourists. The city wants to impose limits on bar crawl, stag do and hen party sizes, reduce its number of river cruises and ban smoking cannabis on the streets of the city centre. Amsterdam also wants to move its red light district to a new ‘erotic centre’ outside of the inner-city area.

It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t the first time that Amsterdam has sworn to crack down on tourists being a nuisance. Back in 2021 the city set out a plan for maintaining its pandemic-era, tourist-free blissfulness, also claiming it could ban tourists from its cannabis coffeeshops.

And now all that could actually come into action. The new ‘stay away’ ad campaign is set to kick off sometime this spring. So if you’re looking for a holiday for some sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll, it might be best to look elsewhere!

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