Amsterdam plan to clean up red light district by banning smoking outside and cutting brothel hours
Plans to ban cannabis smoking outside in Amsterdam’s red light district and limit sex shows and brothel opening hours were welcomed by the city’s residents today – but condemned by visitors.
The new regulations which are set to come into force in May aim to save residents from the ‘glassy-eyed tourist zombies’ that can dominate the centre of the Netherland’s cultural heartland.
It is a crime to possess deal or make drugs in the Netherlands but the Dutch government allow ‘coffee shops’ to sell cannabis under conditions including not causing a public nuisance.
The drug is sold dozens of coffee shops across the country with the most famous located in Amsterdam’s red light district where scantily-clad sex workers offer their services in windows.
Residents have told MailOnline how the sickly cannabis smoke can overwhelm pavement bars and café and ‘stoned’ foreigners can cause accidents.
Cannabis users Miguel Correia and Mafalda Felicia light up in the city centre. The couple come to Amsterdam for holidays because they can smoke in public
Waitress Daphne, 45, said: ‘People should be able to smoke cannabis but not in every space of the city’
Sisters Sam, Marie and Ijk Van Hattum said they were in favour of personal freedoms, but the city’s cannabis and sex trades had gone too far.
Marie, 36, a psycho-therapist, said: ‘Amsterdam is renowned around the world for weed and prostitutes. But this is not what our city is all about.
‘In the summer the whole of the city centre stinks of weed.
‘I think it is now necessary to limit the use because the freedoms that allow people to smoke weed are being abused.
‘We have a friend who suffered a broken leg after one of these stoned zombies walked out in front of her when she was cycling and caused a crash.’
Ike, 32, an archeologist, said: ‘There’s a difference between the perception of Amsterdam and the reality of daily life.
‘We need to limit its use as a means of precaution. It will make our city safer.
Sam, 32, a teacher added: ‘I think these new rules are a good idea. We don’t smoke cannabis and never have.’
Zohaib Khan, who works in a cannabis shop in the city, said he didn’t like it when people blew smoke in his face
It is a crime to possess deal or make drugs in the Netherlands but the Dutch government allow ‘coffee shops’ to sell cannabis
Amsterdam’s famous red-light district has long attracted tourists on the basis that they will be able to enjoy things that are banned elsewhere
An English tourists smokes a cannabis joint on the streets of Amsterdam. The new rules will ban the smoking of the drug in public spaces in the city’s red light district from Thursday to Sunday from 4pm to 1am
Café waitress Daphne Pommerel told how tourists seem to believe they have the right to smoke everywhere.
Daphne, 45, said: ‘People should be able to smoke cannabis but not in every space of the city.
‘Tourists seem to think they have the right to smoke everywhere.
‘They sit down in the café and blow smoke over customers who are sitting down to lunch. It’s not right.
‘And we don’t want drunken men wandering around looking for sex.
‘There needs to be limits.’
And even a cannabis shop workers agrees with the new rules.
Zohaib Khan, who works at the Cannabis Seed Bank, told MailOnline: ‘I don’t think people should be able to blow smoke into other people’s faces.
‘Sometimes I’m walking down the street and I cannot help but inhale their smoke. I don’t like it.
Signs warn tourists that it is illegal to buy drugs from street dealers. Cannabis can be sold in Amsterdam’s famous coffee shops
Sex shows will have to shut at 2am and brothels closed at 3am, instead of staying open until dawn, when new rules are introduced in April
Sisters Sam, Marie and Ijk Van Hattum said they were in favour of personal freedoms but that the current rules were too relaxed
‘If they want to smoke they should smoke somewhere that does not disturb others.’
From May the new rules will ban the smoking of the drug in public spaces in the city’s red light district from Thursday to Sunday from 4pm to 1am. And a total ban of smoking cannabis outside is also being considered.
From April sex shows will have to shut at 2am and brothels closed at 3am, instead of staying open until dawn.
But tourists visiting the beautiful, canal-strewn city have condemned the crackdown.
One coffee shop worker, who gave his name only as Francesco, claimed the city would crumble without cannabis.
He told MailOnline: ‘Some 80 per cent of our business is from foreign tourists. It’s the same with all of the coffee shops in the centre.
‘People come to the centre of Amsterdam because of cannabis and then they spend their money on other things as well.’
Miguel Correia and Mafalda Felicia from Portugal said they had only come to Amsterdam so they could smoke cannabis.
Miguel, 19, a student, told MailOnline: ‘In Portugal young people smoke cannabis but it has to be hidden, to be a secret.
‘Here in Amsterdam it is no big deal. You are free to smoke in the street. It is much more relaxed.
‘We have come on holiday to Amsterdam because of this. I don’t know if we would come if we could not smoke.’
Tourists visiting the beautiful, canal-strewn city have condemned the crackdown and one bouncer described the rule changes as ‘bullshit’
Ron, 68, a painter, said: ‘I don’t like this at all. Cannabis brings a lot of money to Amsterdam by the back door’
Tourists claimed that the main reason that they visit the city was for the free access to cannabis
One cannabis smoker said he was baffled by the new rules.
Bob, 28, from Dublin, Ireland, told MailOnline: ‘I don’t what to make of these new regulations at all. I only moved to Amsterdam a few months ago, I don’t know what is going on.’
Another smoker Arad Aria, 26, from Iran, claimed that the free access to cannabis was the main reason tourists visit Amsterdam.
He said: ‘Most people come to Amsterdam to smoke cannabis. They spend their money in the coffee shops and keep the country going.’
A doorman at a sex show described the crackdown as ‘bull***t’.
The thick-set muscle-bound man with tattoos on his neck, called Nick, told MailOnline: ‘Drugs and sex are the only reason most people come to Amsterdam. These new rules are bulls***.
‘What are they trying to do to us?
‘They have already shut down half of the working girls.’
Amsterdam resident Ron Furby said he was appalled by the crackdown.
Ron, 68, a painter, told MailOnline: ‘I don’t like this at all. Cannabis brings a lot of money to Amsterdam by the back door.
‘Tourists come to smoke weed and spend their money on other things as well.
‘I smoke occasionally at social events and parties. This is normal in Amsterdam.’