Amsterdam may be a melting pot of art and culture, but it’s known for sex and spliffs.
So: it’s no surprise Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema’s “total weed ban for tourists” has sent travellers into a tailspin.
Of course, the Van Gogh museum, the Vondelpark, the Anne Frank house and Dam Square will still be there. As will the city’s incredible architecture, stunning canals, parks and nature.
But as Happy Mag and Pedestrian TV report, that’s not what brings so many visitors to the city every year. So, why the change? Well, it turns out Mayor Halsema isn’t interested in boosting tourist numbers. Instead, she wants to increase the quality.
Amsterdam are planning to ban weed sales for foreigners? Yall realise most of your tourism is from that 😂😂😂
— Becca⁷ 🇯🇵/🇰🇷 D-36🌺 (@BTSlSSEVEN) February 18, 2020
“The city’s Mayor, Femke Halsema, wishes to address the issue of drug and sex culture that so many associate with Amsterdam,” Happy Mag reports. “The conversation struck after results of a recent survey emerged, revealing that 30-50% of tourists would be less likely to visit if they couldn’t access weed.”
“Normally a decline in tourism is a bad thing, but Amsterdam sees many more tourists than they can handle. The city is only built to fit a million people, but with over 17 million foreigners flocking in to see the Red Light District and enjoy the relaxed laws of the city, Amsterdam is struggling to cope.”
Predictably, tourists are not enamoured with the proposed change. From “don’t ruin one of the best cities in the world!!” to “would kill the city off if they did this” Twitter was full of Space Cadets putting their opinion forward.
Lol say bye to your tourism, nobody buys tulips and clogs anymore
— Ryan Harris (@RyanHarris1992) February 18, 2020
Before you rush to book your flights though, it’s worth remembering the city has discussed banning weed numerous times in the past, and the decision has never stood.
Every year this story comes out and nothing happens.
— Joe (@avuncular_joe) February 18, 2020
In fact, going back through the “Amsterdam weed ban” Twitter search history, you see the same discussion play out every couple of years, with the latest rollback of the proposal coming in 2012…
— Jake Norm (@Jakegolspie) November 2, 2012
… and the latest ban suggestion coming in 2014.
— RYOT (@ThisIsRYOT) April 23, 2014
As they say: there’s nothing new under the sun.