Amsterdam’s New Campaign to Discourage Party Tourism

KEY TAKEAWAYS
Amsterdam's "Stay Away" campaign targets party tourists to protect residents' quality of life and attract more mindful visitors.
The city plans to implement changes to the Red Light District operations, including earlier closing times and moving brothels to another part of the city.
Amsterdam aims to pivot from mass tourism to promoting its rich cultural history and lesser-known attractions.
New rules will also affect river cruises, pub crawls, and coffee shops, aiming for a more responsible visitor economy by 2035.
The city has set a visitor cap at 20 million and plans to take action if over 18 million people visit Amsterdam.

 

Amsterdam is launching a “Stay Away” campaign targeting party tourists to protect residents’ quality of life and attract more mindful visitors.

With European tourism booming, Amsterdam seeks to reduce the appeal of the Red Light District, a major tourist attraction known for brothels, drinking, cannabis coffeeshops, and other recreational activities.

The city aims to create a more responsible visitor economy by 2035 and preserve its cultural wealth.

Changes to Red Light District Operations

Starting in mid-May, smoking cannabis in public within the Red Light District will be banned, and bars, restaurants, and sex worker venues will have earlier closing times.

The city plans to move the brothels out of the district and replace 100 of the 249 brothel windows with a multi-story adult entertainment center in another part of the city.

These measures are part of Amsterdam’s “Tourism in Balance” plan, which seeks to cap visitor numbers at 20 million and combat “nuisance” tourism.

Targeting Responsible Tourism

Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema emphasizes that the city wants to attract tourists interested in the city’s cultural institutions, not those who come to “walk around drunk and stoned.”

In 2022, 17% of visitors to Amsterdam visited the Red Light District, and 25% participated in party activities.

The city hopes to pivot from mass tourism and focus on promoting its rich cultural history and lesser-known attractions.

New Rules Impacting Tourist Attractions

Besides changes in the Red Light District, the campaign will also affect river cruises, pub crawls, and coffee shops.

The city will reduce the hours of operation for bars and clubs on weekends, limit river cruises, expand the ban on guided tours and pub crawls, and implement restrictions on party boats in the Red Light District.

Amsterdam officials also plan to convert some hotels to residential or office use.

Implementation and Visitor Cap

The new rules will come into effect in mid-May, while the larger rebranding of Amsterdam’s visitor economy is slated to take place over the next 12 years, by 2035.

The city has already set a cap on the number of visitors at 20 million, with over 18.4 million overnight tourists recorded in 2019.

The municipal executive is obliged to take action if more than 18 million people visit Amsterdam.

Craig Miller

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