Amsterdam has launched another attack against what it has dubbed “nuisance tourism” to the city. The latest is a marketing campaign meant to target British men between the ages of 18 to 35 telling them they should “stay away” from the capital if they are only looking to “go wild,” particularly in De Wallen, the old city center which includes the Red Light District. The campaign is part of a package of measures put forward by the mayor and aldermen, which was adopted by the full city council in December.
The campaign will initially target people in the United Kingdom who use search terms, such as, “stag party Amsterdam,” “cheap hotel Amsterdam,” and “pub crawl Amsterdam.” The goal is that online search engines then serve advertisements that are meant to ward off potentially problematic tourists. The city said in a statement, “During the coming year, the campaign will be further developed and it will also be aimed at potential nuisance-causing visitors from the Netherlands and other EU-countries.”
“Visitors will remain welcome, but not if they misbehave and cause nuisance. In that case we as a city will say: rather not, stay away,” said Sofyan Mbarki, who is both a deputy mayor and alderman responsible for economic affairs and the approach to issues in the inner city. “Amsterdam is already taking lots of measures against excessive tourism and nuisance, and we are taking more measures than other large cities in Europe.
The campaign includes two videos. The first shows police arresting someone on the street and carting them off to jail. “Coming to Amsterdam for a messy night + getting trashed = €140 fine + criminal record = fewer prospects,” states a message in large text over the video. “So coming to Amsterdam for a messy night? Stay away”.
The second video shows a young man passed out on a bench in a square. Paramedics put an oxygen mask over his face, and transport him by ambulance to a hospital. He is then shown on a gurney alternately speaking with healthcare workers, covered in a white sheet, and hooked up to an IV bag and other devices. “Coming to Amsterdam to take drugs + lose control = hospital trip + permanent health damage = worried family,” the text states. “So coming for drugs to Amsterdam? Stay Away”.
Aside from the marketing campaign, the city is also trying to implement a series of changes to make De Wallen more pleasant for residents and less appealing for tourists. The city’s political leaders want to slash opening hours that apply to the windows where sex workers operate, but also the hours for bars, cafes, snackbars, and coffeeshops that sell cannabis. The city is also considering a ban on smoking cannabis in De Wallen, and more restrictions on alcohol sales in the neighborhood.
“But we have to do even more the coming years if we want to give tourism a sustainable place in our city. Amsterdam is a metropole and crowds and bustle are inherent features, but to keep our city liveable we now have to choose for restriction instead of irresponsible growth,” Mbarki said.
The full city council has not yet debated many of the measures.
Those tourists who do visit the city will be targetted with more statements about how to act properly in the capital. They will be told over social media and on warning signs that “it is forbidden to urinate in public, be drunk and disorderly, to cause noise pollution and to buy drugs from street dealers,” the city said. Hotels will also be asked to use video screens in their lobbies to enforce the messages.