Amsterdam Warns ‘Wild’ British Blokes To Stay Away In New Campaign

"Coming to Amsterdam for a messy night? Stay away."

Amsterdam Warns ‘Wild’ British Blokes To Stay Away In New Campaign

Image: TripAdvisor

One of the few nations on earth able to rival the glorious Australian nation’s ability to sink some beers, get loose, and have a good time, is my own hometown, the United Kingdom. Luckily for us, the Brits are a good 15,000km away, but not so for the humble Hollanders, who have launched a new campaign urging ‘messy’ Brits to take their bachelor parties elsewhere…

Planning your mate’s bachelor party? Well, if you’ve got ambitions to sink some beers and get a little unruly, it might be time to strike Amsterdam off the list of potential venues. Though Aussies are no strangers to getting on the grog during their travels, this week the great and good of Amsterdam have called out partying Brits as the world leaders of taking it too far.

This week, Amsterdam’s city council launched an online campaign warning young British men to “stay away” from the city if they plan to visit with uninhibited partying in mind. The move is part of the city’s wider efforts to tackle so-called nuisance tourism, particularly amongst younger visitors aged between 18 to 35, who seem to be especially rowdy.

Beware your mindless Google searches: The campaign targets tourists who search for terms such as “stag party Amsterdam,” “cheap hotel Amsterdam,” or “pub crawl Amsterdam.” If they are detected doing so, a video “advertisement” (read: stern warning) will appear, cautioning them against the many legitimate dangers of excessive drinking, drug use, and antisocial behaviour.

The videos are quite a thing to behold, presenting inquisitive travellers with a series of off-putting equations:

“Coming to Amsterdam for a messy night + getting trashed = €140 fine + criminal record = fewer prospects” threatens one video, with the text overlaying footage of a young man being arrested by local authorities, before closing out with the caption “coming to Amsterdam for a messy night? Stay away”.

Another video shows a seemingly unconscious young man slumped on a park bench before being rushed to hospital in an ambulance, with the accompanying text as follows: “Coming to Amsterdam to take drugs + lose control = hospital trip + permanent health damage = worried family” before rounding out with – you guessed it – “stay away.”

On top of this, the council is engaging in talks with local businesses that provide bachelor party packages and services in an effort to figure out how they can reduce nuisance tourism in the historic city centre. One idea that’s been floated for achieving this is the rollout of a tourist tax – the council await the return of research data to see if this is a viable option.

The “Stay Away” campaign has been so well received by locals and their businesses that it may extend to include visitors from the Netherlands and other EU countries who have the potential to cause a bit of trouble, according to the local authority sources.

Compared to many other major European cities and tourist hotspots who are happy to let chaotic visitors do as they please in return for steady cashflow, Amsterdam is already taking extensive measures against excessive tourism and nuisance:

The city will also launch a “How to Amsterdam” campaign later this month, aimed at providing some much-needed guidance to visitors who are already in the city, warning them against drunkenness, excessive noise, purchasing drugs from unlicensed street dealers, and public urination.

This follows a decision taken last month where the city announced a ban on the public use of marijuana, as well as several restrictions on alcohol use in its infamous red-light district, where around 10 to 15 percent of the city’s total tourism industry is based.

Harsh but fair: City Deputy Major Sofyan Mbarki. Image: PvdA

Deputy Major Sofyan Mbarki was keen to emphasise that tourists are very much welcome to the city, so long as they behave themselves, adding that the city is “already taking lots of measures against excessive tourism and nuisance” and that they are willing to introduce “even more [in] the coming years if we want to give tourism a sustainable place in our city.”

In 2023, the city anticipates more than 18 million overnight visitors, the number at which the city council is “obliged to intervene”, according to a 2021 ordinance “Amsterdam Tourism in Balance”, which was created after an increasing number of visitors engaged in disruptive behaviour while visiting the city.

Understandably, such behaviour has been poorly received by local residents, who complain that the negative impacts of tourism on the city’s quality of life are beginning to outweigh the economic and cultural upsides. This is why the city council has stepped in with this new campaign, hoping to allay local concerns.

Though we sympathise with the frustrations of wannabe stags everywhere who have long considered the city a mecca of debauchery, this marks a long overdue first step towards a more sustainable kind of tourism industry.

Rather than the kind of party NIMBYism that we’ve come to expect of some nations, especially my fellow Brits, whereby they decamp to a nearby European hub for the weekend, letting off all the steam built up in their homeland, leaving a trail of chaos in their wake to be cleaned up by someone else’s tax dollars (or Euros), its time for tourists to play fair.

If you wouldn’t want it going on in your own backyard, then you shouldn’t be doing it in someone else’s, no matter how much fun public urination off the arch of tiny Dutch bridge may be…