Amsterdam Cracks Down on Tourists in Red Light District

Aug 8, 2018

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With its charming canals, intoxicating coffee shops and bike friendly streets it’s no surprise that Amsterdam is bursting at the seams with tourists — 18 million each year, to be exact. But with the hordes of visitors to the capital city of the Netherlands comes a major problem: unfettered tourist behavior in one of the city’s most notorious — and busiest — attractions: the red light district.

And now, city officials are saying they’ve had enough. Effective immediately, the government has taken “emergency measures” to curb tourists’ enthusiasm in the seedy district, which authorities have called a “lawless jungle,” as well as along the city’s bustling canals.

Officials will be closely monitoring Amsterdam’s visitor volume, and have created to a color-coded system to alert authorities when backup is needed for crowd control. “If a code red is called, so-called ‘hosts’ will be deployed and if necessary, streets will be closed off,” the city said. These “host” council workers will be in charge of dispersing crowds and fining any tourists caught breaking laws — however minor. “Public consumption of alcohol will earn 95 euros; public urination, public disorderliness and littering will each draw a fine of 140 euros,” according to the German publication DW. Not to mention you’ll be expected to pay those fines on the spot.

In addition to keeping an eye on crowd levels, the city is enforcing “compulsory clean-up breaks,” which will temporarily close the infamous area off to the public in order to deal with any waste or vomit. “A lot of rubbish gets thrown in the streets. Therefore ‘mop-up pauses’ are being introduced for certain streets,” the city said.

As low-cost carriers make traveling to cities like Amsterdam even more affordable, the city has had to combat an increasing number of tourists looking to cut loose. But before you throw caution to wind, you might want to save yourself from a potentially hefty fine by brushing up on local laws. Or, maybe just try keeping it together, ok?

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