For many travelers to Amsterdam, walking through the city’s famed red-light district is on their list of must-dos. But the locals have officially had it with the hordes of travelers in the oldest neighborhood in the city.
As travel to the Dutch capital continues to rise, Amsterdam’s residents and city council are concerned about tourists behaving inappropriately in the district. “It is no longer acceptable in this age to see sex workers as a tourist attraction,” city councilor Udo Kock said in a formal statement issued on Wednesday. Although it is strictly forbidden to take pictures of sex workers in Amsterdam, this is a constant issue with visitors.
City council has moved to ban all guided tours of the district in an effort to curb overcrowding in the city center and reduce the number of tourists, especially those whose behavior is disrespectful. On January 1, 2020, all organized tours of the red-light district — both free and paid — will be no longer.
The New York Times reported that the red-light district currently sees more than 1,000 tours each week, with tourists clogging the central Oudekerksplein square and prompting many long-time local residents to declare the city center unliveable.
In addition to banning red light tours, guided tours of other parts of Amsterdam’s historic city center will be capped at 15 people, down from the current max of 20, and guides must obtain certification from the city council and pass a “quality check” in order to lead them.
The move to ban tours in the red-light district and restrict them throughout the rest of the city is the latest in a series of steps taken to better control the rapidly rising numbers of visitors to the city each year, which topped 19 million in 2018 according to The Guardian. Previous measures include introducing tougher regulations on Airbnb, implementing a seven percent tourist tax, and restricting development of new hotels and tourist-centric shops.
H/T: The Guardian