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 is discouraging people aged 18 to 35 from travelling to the city for drinking, prostitution and drugs.
The campaign targeting British tourists, who’re often considered the city’s rowdiest and most disruptive visitors, launched in late March. Brits who search for terms like ‘stag party Amsterdam’, ‘cheap hotel Amsterdam’, or ‘pub crawl Amsterdam’ are met with a video advert, like this one, warning them about the consequences of drinking too much, taking drugs, and causing trouble with their antisocial behaviour.
If the campaign proves 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 coffee shops. So, if you’re looking for a holiday for some sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll, it might be best to look elsewhere!
Did you hear that Amsterdam is banning weed in its red light district?
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