Amsterdam’s mayor, Femke Halsema, wants to make the city’s coffeeshops off limits to tourists.
The proposed move is aimed at “reducing Amsterdam’s power of attraction as the holiday destination for soft-drugs tourism,” Halsema wrote in a letter on Friday to her city council.
“We’ve noticed in recent years that the demand for cannabis in Amsterdam has increased enormously,” the mayor explained in an interview on Friday with NOS public television. ”This is mainly due to the increased number of tourists,” she added, explaining that some of the visitors are “cannabis tourists” who go to Amsterdam exclusively to consume the drug.
These cannabis tourists are a source of nuisance for the Dutch capital’s city centre, according to the mayor.
“Amsterdam is an international city, and we wish to receive tourists, but we would like tourists who come for the richness of the city, for its beauty, for its cultural institutions,” Halsema said on the public TV station.
The Netherlands has 570 coffeeshops, according to figures from the Public Health Ministry. Amsterdam alone has 166, which amounts to 30% of the total, according to the municipality.
The Dutch Government has tolerated these establishments, which sell cannabis to consumers, since the 1970s. On the other hand, it is illegal to produce or deal in cannabis in the Netherlands.
The Brussels Times