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Amsterdam wants to ban tourists from coffee shops

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(dpa) – Amsterdam is planning to cut tourists off from one of the city’s biggest draws: drugs. Officials in the Dutch capital announced plans on Friday to ban foreign visitors from entering its so-called coffee shops and thus from buying hash or marijuana.

The public prosecutor’s office, the police and Mayor Femke Halsema say the measure is intended to stop drug tourism.

The canals and the artist Rembrandt are far from the only attractions in the city, and Amsterdam’s cannabis shops and red-light district have grown all too popular for the city’s taste.

In 2019, more than 20 million visitors came to the city, which has only around 800,000 inhabitants.

If the city’s parliament approves the new plans, only residents of the Netherlands will have access to the coffee shops and will need a passport or ID to do so.

In the Netherlands, soft drugs like hash and marijuana are legal to buy in coffee shops for personal consumption. These are also open during the lockdown currently in force, but customers now have to take whatever they buy with them.

In principle, only residents of the country are allowed to buy drugs in the coffee shops, but Amsterdam has an exemption. For this, however, the city had to greatly reduce the number of outlets.

But drug tourism, especially from Britain, increased sharply. Studies have shown that mass tourism will strongly decrease with a ban on access to coffee shops.

Amsterdam has been scaling back on its tourism industry in recent months, and the city has banned landlords from renting out properties in central parts of the city via tourist platforms like Airbnb. It has also cracked down on other tourist attractions, such as group tours through the red-light district.

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