The city of Amsterdam has launched a new campaign urging what it calls "nuisance tourists" to stay away from the city, which will initially target young British men.
Visitors who want to come to Netherlands' capital to let loose prepared themselves online by using a range of key search terms, the city's council said in a press release. Now, if they search for phrases like 'stag party Amsterdam', 'cheap hotel Amsterdam' and 'pub crawl Amsterdam', they will be confronted with warning ads.
The advertisements will show the risks and consequences of nuisance behaviour and excessive alcohol and drug use, it said, including fines, being arrested, a criminal record, hospitalization, and damage to health. The campaign will initially target British men aged 18 to 35, but over the course of the year, potentially nuisance-causing visitors from the Netherlands and other EU countries will also be added, the council said.
The city will also run a second, 'How to Amsterdam' campaign for tourists already in the city. Visitors will run into ads on social media and warning signs on the street, about the ban on urinating in public, drunkenness, noise nuisance, and buying drugs from street dealers. Hotels will have LCD screens in their lobbies displaying this type of information.
The city's alderman of Economic Affairs and Inner City Action, Sofyan Mbarki, said the measures were to limit "irresponsible growth", and keep the city liveable. In a statement he said: "Visitors remain welcome, but not if they misbehave and cause nuisance. Then we as a city say... stay away."
The campaign comes after city councillors voted to ban the smoking of cannabis in the streets of the city’s famous red light district De Wallen just last month, in a bid to clamp down on antisocial and nuisance behaviour.
The new laws also introduce new curfews in the area. Sex workers will be forced to close their premises at 3am. On Fridays and Saturdays, restaurants and bars will have a curfew of 2am and no new people allowed into the area after 1am.
Additionally, alcohol will be removed from shopfronts. This includes in the windows of shops, liquor stores and cafes, with these premises already only able to sell alcohol before 4pm from Thursdays to Sundays.
Amsterdam is known to be grappling with an ‘overtourism’ issue. The relatively small city continues to welcome around 18 million visitors per year. However, there are hopes the new restrictions will help to crack down on those travelling to the city to take advantage of the relaxed rules on drug and alcohol use.
Dutch media reports the city also has plans to replace roughly 100 of its red light district's famous 249 brothel windows with a multi-storey centre for prostitution and erotic entertainment, built by a private developer on city land.
But the European Medicines Agency has complained to the European Union that two of three different sites being considered were too close to its central business district. "The change of the location of the Red Light District is motivated by concerns of nuisance, drug-dealing, drunkenness and disorderly behaviour... "Locating the Erotic Centre in close proximity to EMA’s building is likely to bring the same negative impacts to the adjacent area."