You might wanna plan your trip to Amsterdam ASAP because the city’s mayor is proposing a ban on tourists purchasing weed, which could put a bit of a dampener on your holiday.
Amsterdam is undoubtedly a beautiful city, with tonnes of artistic and historic sites, plenty of beautiful cycling trails and gorgeous canals. The city is also home to the Anne Frank House, Dam Square, the Heineken factory and tonnes of other non-drug related attractions. Honestly, you should add it to your travel itinerary regardless of the drug laws. But there’s a reason so many young people are flocking there in their gap years, and it’s probably not to check out the Van Goh Museum.
It’s the weed.
Nothing quite says “I’m on a Euro trip that I put on my dad’s credit card” quite like eating a weed cookie in an Amsterdam cafe or smoking a joint after a long day of cycling around the city. But if the city’s mayor has her way, tourists could be exempt from the city’s relaxed drug laws.
Mayor Femke Halsema proposed a plan to clean up the city’s image, which would mean addressing the issue of the sex and drug culture that many of us associate with Amsterdam. The campaign comes after a recent survey found that 30-50% of foreign tourists would be less likely to visit the city if they couldn’t buy weed in local cafes.
Obviously, a decline in tourism sounds like a bad thing, and it usually is. But Amsterdam is so overrun with tourists that they’re struggling to cope, and have actually stopped advertising certain attractions because they simply can’t cope with the influx of foreign tourists.
For a national capital, Amsterdam is pretty tiny, with only 1.1 million people. But throughout the year, over 17 million tourists visit the city, mostly to check out the infamous Red Light District and enjoy the relaxed drug and sex laws.
Obviously, there’s more to the beautiful city (and the rest of the country) than just the legal weed and sex work, but there’s no denying that this is the reason most of us have added it to our bucket list.
In addition to tightening the laws on foreign drug use, Halsema is also keen to investigate whether or not the city’s legal sex work regulations are actually working. Sex work was initially legalised to help protect those in the field, but recent research suggests this may not have actually done much to ensure the safety of workers. If only our leaders in Australia cared this much about making laws and legislations to actually PROTECT us.
There’s no word on when and if this law will come into place, but if Amsterdam is on your bucket list, you might want to organise your trip sooner rather than later.Image: Getty Images