Amsterdam has handed out a stern warning to wild British tourists who like to mix sex and drugs: “Keep calm and stay away!” The Dutch city council is using their best digital skills to deter blokes between 18 and 35 from the UK from coming over for a naughty weekend. The campaign is part of a plan to clean up Amsterdam’s image as the wildest party capital in Europe.
Ads Discourage Sex and Drug Tourists
The ads are straightforward and showcase young men staggering around while being handcuffed, fingerprinted, and having their mugshots taken. Talk about being caught with your pants down!
The digital ads will appear when Brits search for words like “stag party,” “cheap hotel,” or “pub crawl in Amsterdam.” They’ll remind them that a long weekend of debauchery in Amsterdam might lead to inescapable convictions. The message clearly warns sex and drug tourists that they may not be able to “enjoy” from now on like they used to do before.
The Dutch Complain About British Vices
In the UK, return flights to Amsterdam are as cheap as £50, so it’s not surprising that travel agencies lure young British men by offering them stag weekends with unlimited booze, canal boat cruises, “steak and strip” nights, and red light district pub crawls. However, locals have had enough of drunken Brits urinating in public, throwing up in canals, stripping off, and getting into drunken brawls.
The Dutch have been complaining for years. In 2014, the deceased former mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan had said that British tourists don’t wear a coat as they “slalom” (moving back and forth) through the red light district, singing “You’ll never walk alone” (Liverpool FC Anthem). He also said that he would love to invite the then-mayor of London, Boris Johnson to witness how some British tourists were dressed as rabbits or priests, and sometimes not dressed at all. Boris described the city as “sleazy.”
The Way Amsterdam Runs
Critics say the campaign is discriminatory and based on unfair stereotypes, but Amsterdam’s cobbled streets and canals are struggling with over-tourism. Every year, around 20 million tourists visit Amsterdam, with a million of them coming from the UK alone.
The council is trying to manage the situation by moving the red light district to a new “erotic zone” and introducing stricter operating rules. Brothels and bars now have earlier closing times, and smoking cannabis on the streets around the Red Light District will be banned from May.
Some locals say that the sheer number of tourists is the problem. One family said, “It feels like we’re living in Disneyland or a zoo.” Deputy Mayor Sofyan Mbarki says that visitors are welcome as long as they behave and don’t cause a nuisance. However, tourists remain sceptical, pointing out the hypocrisy of a city that criticizes the partygoers while continuing to make money from their love of drugs and prostitution.