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Amsterdam campaign to tell ‘nuisance’ British tourists to ‘stay away’ from capital

‘The aim of the discouragement campaign is to keep out visitors that we do not want. If we love the city, we must take action now’ says deputy mayor

Ella Doyle
Tuesday 06 December 2022 17:09 GMT
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The campaign will launch in Spring 2023
The campaign will launch in Spring 2023 (Getty Images)

A new tourism campaign in Amsterdam is attempting to discourage “nuisance” British tourists from visiting the city.

The campaign, named the “discouragement campaign”, is attempting to keep away tourists headed to the city simply to drink, take drugs, and have sex, The Times has reported.

The main message of the campaign will be “stay away”, and will initially be targeted at British tourists, according to the Netherlands broadcaster Noord Holland.

The campaign comes as part of a move from city councillors to establish a new reputation for the city in Europe and beyond.

Currently, many tourists associate Amsterdam with drugs and alcohol, and councillors are concerned that the red light district is attracting problematic or voyeuristic tourism.

The campaign will begin next spring, and attempt to establish a new standard of behaviour for those visiting the city.

Amsterdam’s deputy mayor Sofyan Mbarki is heading the campaign to implement the new measures. He said: “The aim of the discouragement campaign is to keep out visitors that we do not want. If we love the city, we must take action now.”

“Action is needed to prevent nuisance and overcrowding,” he continued.

“Amsterdam is a world city and bustle and liveliness come along with this but to keep our city liveable we need to choose limits instead of irresponsible growth.”

Mbarki has also unveiled plans to move 100 brothel windows away from the on-show Wallen district, ban cannabis smoking in the street in Amsterdam’s city centre, and placing caps on the number of river cruises and bachelor party bookings at venues.

Both Amsterdam’s red light district and its cannabis coffee shops have historically attracted large groups to visit for hen and stag dos. Big groups of young men visiting the red light district are thought to disrespect it and create an unwelcome atmosphere.

Amsterdam isn’t the only city reckoning with the effects of overtourism. Travel publication Fodor’s recently published a “No” list of 10 destinations to avoid in 2023, from places suffering from overcrowding and erosion to nations with water shortages exacerbated by tourism.

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