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Amsterdam’s campaign to prevent young British people in search of sex and drugs from visiting the city

Amsterdam He warned British tourists, who are looking for sex and drugs, to “stay away.”

The mayor’s office of the Dutch city is promoting a digital campaignaimed at British men aged 18 to 35, to discourage tourism. The initiative is part of efforts to clean up Amsterdam’s reputation and stop it being the capital of Europe’s most liberal party.

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The advertising images are blunt. The videos show a group of men staggering in the street, handcuffed by the police, taking their fingerprints and mug shots.

The advertisements promoted by Amsterdam seek to highlight the risks associated with at excessive use of alcohol and drugs. These will be triggered when people in the UK search online for terms like: ‘stag party’, ‘cheap hotel’ or ‘Amsterdam pub crawl’.

The warnings are categorical: “a long weekend in Amsterdam can produce the wrong memories”, “the escapism you desire in the famous party capital could lead to inescapable convictions”.

tourism from the UK

Brits can find return flights to Amsterdam for $62.

UK-based travel agents also offer stag weekends in Amsterdam, including canal boat cruises with unlimited spirits, “steak and strip” nights and red-light pub crawls. .

For years, residents of the area have complained about some british visitors who drunk they urinate in public, vomit in gutters, strip naked, and get into fights.

A story that takes years

It is not a new phenomenon. Nearly a decade ago, the then mayor of Amsterdam invited his London counterpart, Boris Johnson, who had described the city as “seedy”, to see what the British were up to.

“They don’t wear coats while walking through the red light district, they sing ‘you will never walk alone’, they are dressed as rabbits or priests and sometimes they are not dressed at all. I would love to invite you to witness it,” Eberhard van der Laan said at the time.

Critics argue that targeted advertising campaigns are discriminatory and based on unfair stereotypes.

In the Netherlands, coffee shops are allowed to sell cannabis as long as they meet certain strict conditions, such as not serving alcoholic beverages or selling to minors.

“Tourists come for the museums and also for the cafes,” said Joachim Helms, owner of the Greenhouse cafe.

A woman in her 60s nodded in agreement and pointed out that her clients come from all social and economic strata and that attempts to exclude certain people, based on their age and gender, violate the principles of freedom, tolerance and equality. of which Amsterdam is proud.

But the cobbled streets, packed with bicycles, and the narrow canals are under threat.

Amsterdam is one of the most visited cities in the world. Around 20 million visitors, including one million Britons, visit this city of 883,000 each year.

The excess of tourism is testing the tolerance of the neighbors and has forced the mayor’s office to act.

Billboards displayed in the red zone feature photos of residents with words that remind visitors: “We live here.”

City Hall is in the process of moving the famous neon-lit storefronts, where sex workers parade for trade, out of the capital’s residential heart to a new “erotic zone”.

For now, the rumors about banning the sex trade entirely have died down. What they are doing is including stricter rules: starting this weekend, brothels and bars will close earlier and in May the ban on smoking cannabis on the streets the red zone and its surroundings.

It is still debated whether tourists should be banned from cannabis cafes.

The amount of visitors

The Amsterdam mission is make the industry less seedymore sustainable and make the city a more livable place.

But many citizens, who live in the tall, narrow old houses that line the 17th-century canal rings, say that the young men are not the problem, but the large amount.

“It feels like we’re living in Disneyland or a zoo,” the Visser family told me.

Deputy Mayor Sofyan Mbarki said that Amsterdam is taking more measures in parallel with other cities in Europe.

“Visitors will still be welcome, but not if they misbehave and cause a nuisance,” he added.

People have been responding to the campaign on social media. One man joked that “it looks more like an advertisement to me” for the city. Another commented that it was a “mystery why people between the ages of 18 and 35 would be attracted to a city with drug-legalized coffee shops and brothels.”

Others seem skeptical of the campaign, like one woman who wrote: “They want to make money off of families and museums, but they know it’s the marijuana and the red light that keep the city going.”

Source: Elcomercio

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