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HomeWorldAmsterdam to Tighten Rules to Clean Up Tourist Hot Spots, Make Streets...

Amsterdam to Tighten Rules to Clean Up Tourist Hot Spots, Make Streets Safer for Residents

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Coffee shop in Red light district in the city of Amsterdam. Shutterstock/Jaroslav Moravcik

As part of a series of bylaws intended to curb tourist excesses and improve life for the locals, Amsterdam’s city council has announced that smoking marijuana on the street in its red-light district will soon be prohibited. Residents of the city today welcomed plans to restrict the hours of sex shows and brothels as well as to outlaw cannabis smoking, but tourists opposed the measures.

In a statement, the council announced that from mid-May, it would be illegal to smoke joints in public in the inner city. It also stated that, if necessary, it would be willing to consider expanding the ban to include the terraces of cannabis “coffeeshops.”

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Sex workers will also be required to close their doors at 3 am rather than 6 am, and bars, cafes, and restaurants will have to close at 2 am rather than 3 am on weekdays and 4 am on Fridays and Saturdays. New customers will not be permitted to enter after 1 am.

The new rules are intended to protect locals from the allegedly “glassy-eyed” tourists at the Dutch cultural center. In the Netherlands, it is illegal to possess, distribute, or manufacture drugs, but the government permits “coffee shops” to sell cannabis under certain restrictions, such as not endangering the public.

Amsterdam Red Light District City. Sexy blonde in red lingerie in the city where legalized prostitution. Shutterstock/Skreidzeleu

Amsterdam’s residents have been complaining that the busiest areas of the city center, including De Wallen – the red-light district – were becoming unsafe. Reports say that there were over 18 million visitors thronging its streets last year.

A ban on drinking in public will be strictly enforced, and stores in the inner city that are already prohibited from selling alcohol after 4 p.m. on Thursday through Sunday will need to remove bottles and cans from their windows or hide them behind screens.

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According to Dutch media, the new measures, which will be available for consultation for a month, follow earlier attempts to deter tourists “whose intention is to drink and misbehave.” The mayor wants to prevent tourists from visiting the city’s cannabis coffeeshops, and the city is still looking into a potential ban on “stag and hen parties,” reports say.

Het Parool, Amsterdam newspaper, dubbed the measures as “historic.” It noted that Amsterdam is known as the city “where everything was possible and everything was permissible – including smoking weed on the street.”

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