Amsterdam Is Sick Of Your Shit And Doesn’t Want Foreign Travellers In Their Coffee Shops Anymore

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Amsterdam was one of the first international cities I ever arrived in, at least, the first without being with my parents. Like all Australian uni students, I simply couldn’t resist the summer Eurotrip. I arrived in Amsterdam late at night, jetlagged as hell but excited — until I realised that just about everyone in the city centre were also Aussie.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this — I hate travel snobs who refuse to travel somewhere amazing just because everyone else is doing it — but this was the rowdy, off-their-tits kind of Aussie traveller, you know, the one who also frequents Bali. They were all wobbling in and out of Amsterdam’s famous coffee shops.

All this to say, now that the city has announced they’ll be banning traveller from said coffee shops, I truly can’t blame them.


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On January 3 this year, Mayor Femke Halsema proposed the introduction of a “resident criterion”, restricting the use of coffee shops to locals only. The move is yet another in the effort to reduce the issue of overtourism.

The approximately 850,000 people who actually live in Amsterdam have been overrun by tourist in recent times — in 2018 alone they clocked 19 million visitors.

Of these tourists, a 2019 tourist survey the Mayor commissioned showed that a full 57 percent of international visitors in the Amsterdam city centre considered visiting the coffee shops as a “very important reason” for their holiday. So important that 34 percent of foreign tourists said they weren’t sure if they’d come back if coffee shops were banned, and 11 percent said they straight up wouldn’t.


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“Amsterdam is an international city and we wish to attract tourists, but we would like them to come for its richness, its beauty and its cultural institutions,” The Mayor wrote in a recent letter to the Amsterdam city council, as reported by The Guardian. “The problem is: there are just too many of them”.

She has a very fair point. On that same trip, the very next day after a good sleep, I walked all day — out of the centre, and through parks, wandering streets, watching little boats on the canals, visiting museums — and I loved it. None of those rowdy coffee shop tourists ventured out of those main streets, so you got to actually see the beauty and culture. Just trust me, there are plenty more reasons to visit Amsterdam than weed and Red Lights.


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These new coffee shop measures are expected to come into effect in 2022, probably just in time for us to be allowed to travel there again. They follow recent restrictions on tours of the Red Light district and how Airbnb’s can be rented, as well as higher tourist taxes.

(Lead Image: Unsplash / Red Morley Hewitt)