Amsterdam could ban pub crawls and limit cannabis as it tries to clean up its image

British tourists on explosive weekends are among the biggest sources of annoyance, according to residents of the red light district – KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP

Amsterdam could ban pub crawls and limit cannabis in the Red Light District on weekends as part of a crackdown on boisterous stag parties and harassing tourism.

In policy proposals released on Wednesday, Sofyan Mbarki, the deputy mayor of the city centre, announced measures aimed at cleaning up Amsterdam’s image and reclaiming the city for its respectful residents and visitors.

Proposals include an immediate ban on cannabis smoking in public areas of the Red Light District and finding out whether a sales ban can be imposed between 4pm on Thursday and Sunday evenings. The city has imposed a similar ban on the sale of alcohol in the area during the pandemic.

British tourists on busy weekends are among the biggest sources of annoyance, according to locals.

Officials want to take back the city for its respectful residents and visitors - Sylvain Sonnet/The Image Bank Unreleased

Officials want to take back the city for its respectful residents and visitors – Sylvain Sonnet/The Image Bank Unreleased

“If we love the city, we have to act now,” Mbarki said in a press release. “Action is needed to prevent nuisances and overcrowding. If we are to work together effectively towards the future, we need a long-term vision and measures.

“Amsterdam is a world city, and the hustle and bustle goes with that, but to keep our city livable, we have to choose limits over irresponsible growth.”

Other measures include tightening rules on Airbnb-style rentals, limiting party boats from docking in the Red Light District, and working with the tourism industry to limit the hassles caused by bachelor parties. The city wants to investigate whether it is legally possible to ban venues serving organized pub crawls.

Mayor Femke Halsema has sought to ban tourists entirely from cannabis coffeeshops and crack down on money laundering, while the council is seeking to move prostitution window brothels to a new erotic hub.

“Good temporary citizens don’t pee in the mailbox”

Diederik Boomsma, councilor of the CDA, believes that a ban on outdoor cannabis in tourist places will send an important signal.

“This is an important step to discourage drug use, shed Amsterdam’s status as a drug capital and reclaim the city centre,” he said.

Some hoteliers are also in favor of encouraging quality tourism. Marco Lemmers, the owner of Conscious Hotels, already turns down bachelor parties.

“I believe in a kind of tourism that has good temporary citizens: people, maybe just for a day or a weekend, who are just a part of society,” he said. “Good temporary citizens don’t pee in the mailbox. Together, we should change the profile of Amsterdam.”

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