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Amsterdam Launches ‘Stay Away’ Campaign To Target ‘Sex and Drugs’ Tourists

In the latest proposal of an ongoing bid to improve Amsterdam’s image, curtail unruly behavior from visitors and enhance livability and security for residents, city officials recently announced policy proposals “to limit tourism growth and nuisance” and combat overcrowding.

This latest round of proposed measures includes initiatives targeting troublesome tourist behavior, such as limiting the number of river cruises; implementing earlier closing times for bars, clubs and window brothels; and banning cannabis smoking in certain parts of the city.

A separate component of the initiative focuses on “actively discouraging international visitors with plans to ‘go wild’ in Amsterdam,” which has been dubbed as the “stay away” campaign.
“Some businesses misuse Amsterdam’s image to sell it as a place of ‘unlimited possibilities,”

“As a result, some groups of visitors think of it as a city where anything goes. This kind of tourism, as well as offerings specifically targeting these groups, is not considered desirable by the Municipal Executive.”

The policy proposals, which were announced on November 30 and are part of an extensive push to respond to the large volume of tourism, must pass a vote by the city council on December 21 before they are authorized.

“We should get rid of the image of sex, drugs and rock and roll,” says Remco Groenhuijzen, general manager of the Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Center. “It’s not bad that we have a city that’s a little bit on the edge. But that’s not a free [pass] to come here and misbehave.” 

Groenhuijzen says the majority of the members of the Luxury Hotels of Amsterdam, an association of 24 four- and five-star hotels of which he serves as chairman, generally approve of the city’s bid to polish up its reputation.

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“This would happen through various measures that attempt to address (and prevent) the objectionable ramifications of tourists behaving abominably. “As hoteliers, we think a city should be livable because that’s when it’s nice to come here,” Groenhuijzen says. “That was always the strength of Amsterdam, to have the right balance.”

But in recent years, especially as post-pandemic tourism has come thundering back, over-tourism has tipped that balance recklessly out of whack — especially in highly visited neighborhoods like De Wallen.


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Ella Ford is a mother of two, a Christian conservative writer with degrees in American History, Social and Behavioral Science and Liberal Studies, based in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.


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