Amsterdam's red light district gets busy, Source: Unsplash

Amsterdam is testing anti-party measures in its central area

Amsterdam is testing anti-party measures in its central area

The Dutch capital is hard at work on finding ways to turn down the volume and clean up its image

The local government of Amsterdam is planning to ban the smoking of marijuana in parts of its old town quarter, according to DPA. Although the infamous coffeeshops offering the recreational drug will remain, consuming weed on the streets and squares will not be tolerated anymore. Violators can expect heavy fines apparently.

A host of other innovative measures to stem the rowdy tide

The residents of the Amsterdam central area actually enjoyed the restrictions that were in place during the COVID pandemic because they immediately brought a stop to the unsavoury tourist crowds drawn in by the seedier attraction of the city.

The local tolerance to prostitution and soft drugs, however, has created a somewhat undesirable image of the Dutch capital. Image that the authorities are now trying to figure out how to shed.

As a result, the city has decided to launch a ‘stay away’ campaign, for now, aimed at the British market, as it has been deemed that the rowdiest tourists tend to come from the UK. The city also wants to impose limits on bar crawls, stag dos and hen party sizes, and reduce its number of river cruises. It’s possible that the red light district will be moved to a new ‘erotic centre’ outside of the inner-city area.

Another thing that the authorities are struggling with is the nuisance caused to the tourists themselves by street dealers in the red-light district. Apparently, most of them actually sell fake drugs. For example, a dental anaesthetic paste instead of cocaine. The result is that they can’t be prosecuted for drug pushing but their presence is causing annoyance to many.

The city has decided to designate half of the city centre as a dealer nuisance area (DOG). This means that the mayor can give dealers a 24-hour restraining order for that area and if repeated, a long-term restraining order of 3 or even 6 months.

Tourists are also warned about these fake dealers when they search for parties or pub crawls in Amsterdam on the internet.

The City has tested innovative interventions, as well. For example, in the Monnikenstraat they show light projections on the ground and on the walls with warnings for visitors, so that they will be more aware of the dealers. They also make it more difficult for dealers to linger somewhere, for example with anti-hanging profiles in niches or on the street, or lights that switch on when a dealer stands at a sport for a long time.

See also: Amsterdam to ban smoking marijuana on the streets



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