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More than 20 million people visit Amsterdam each year, making it one of the most popular tourist stops in Europe. But these days, the Dutch capital is getting picky about what it guy of tourists you want to attract.
Amsterdam is shaking off its global reputation for sex, drugs and rock & roll.
As Dutch resident Els Iping so aptly summarized for DW news, he’d like to stop regularly cleaning up tourist vomit from his front steps and instead see more visitors appreciate his town’s historic charm.
Today’s commuters feel the backlash of new rules created to protect the livability of the city.
With all the recent changes, tourists in Amsterdam need to know exactly when and where they can enjoy the city’s nightlife and cafe culture.
Here are five changes travelers should keep in mind before visiting Amsterdam this summer:
1. It is now illegal to smoke cannabis in public anywhere in the old city.
As of May 25, 2023, Amsterdam visitors are not allowed to use ‘soft drugs’ like marijuana in public in the old city centerwhich includes the Red Light District, Nieuwmarkt and Dam Square.
This accumulates in former rules banning cannabis in public on weekends everywhere except the Red Light District and designated cannabis coffeeshops. Smoking marijuana in the streets of the historic center now comes with an expensive souvenir: to Fine of €100 on the spot.
Here are the updated city penalties that apply to loud partygoers:
- €100 for drunkenness
- €150 for noise pollution
- €150 for urinating in public
- €150 for littering
At first glance, the no-grass-on-the-street rule may seem like a killjoy to some tourists. But it’s worth noting that the clearer streets make enjoying the city easier for everyone, both day and night.
2. They are cracking down on coffee shops that sell marijuana to tourists.
Technically, there are no new rules here. They are being applied for the first time.
Amsterdam’s famous cannabis coffeeshops are technically only authorized to sell to Dutch customers. But until now, this was generally considered more of a suggestion than a requirement; sales to foreigners have been openly tolerated.
Not so this summer. Cannabis coffeeshops have been ordered not to advertise or attract foreign customers. Meanwhilethe mayor has even raised plans to ban tourists from these stores temporarily.
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Cannabis is not legal in the Netherlands, but the country has long adhered to a policy of tolerance policy, or tolerance. However, with new rules about smoking in public and selling to tourists, this seems to be slowly changing.
According to a recent survey, half of Amsterdam’s 20 million annual visitors say visiting one of these iconic coffeeshops is one of the main reasons for their visit. With tourists worth a significant portion of an industry estimated to be worth $1.4 billion, it’s unclear if the city can afford to stick to this particular rule.
3. Red Light District businesses are closing a few hours earlier than last summer.
The new restrictions mean that bars, restaurants and sex shows in the Red Light District must now close at 2am. The closing time of the brothels was brought forward from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m.
The recently implemented rules are meant to give fed-up locals a good night’s sleep, but have caught some visiting revelers by surprise in recent weeks.
4. The recent « Stay Away » and « Stop de gekte » PSA campaigns might make you feel less than welcome.
You may see some “Stop de gekte” (or ‘stop the madness’) members of the neighborhood patrol in yellow vests, warning tourists that they are getting out of hand and reminding them to respect the property and peace of the locals.
Even before arriving in Amsterdam, you may have seen the city Videos of the “Stay Away” campaign if you googled cheap accommodation or pub crawls. While these PSAs are primarily aimed at young male British tourists, they can make any visitor feel less than welcome.
Don’t be fooled, though: Amsterdam still has a warm welcome waiting for self-respecting tourists.
like the city visitor information The site reminds us: “Amsterdamers live in every neighborhood, including the Red Light District and Leidsepleing.” If you refrain from turning your home into a mind-blowing slum, most of the locals will be happy to share Amsterdam with you.
5 – Despite the new cannabis bans, The Smoke Boat is still legal (for now).
Tourists wanting to channel their inner chill in public seem to get around these new regulations with the help of Amsterdam’s « Smoke Boat. »
This cannabis-powered tourism cruise It’s been around for a decade, but today it’s more popular than ever as a loophole for tourists wanting to abide by the new rules while enjoying a truly Amsterdam-style trip.
We know these new changes may seem like a lot. But don’t worry, the people of Amsterdam still want you to enjoy their city.
Amsterdam’s own tourism page sums it up best: “Limit noise and drunkenness, clean up your mess and don’t urinate in the canals. Keep the locals in mind and they will welcome you with open arms.”
If you are one of the many travelers who want to experience the beauty and nightlife of Amsterdam with respect, you are free.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com