For many travelers to Amsterdam, walking through the city’s famed red-light district is on their list of must-dos. But many forget that the medieval neighborhood is also a residential area, and locals have officially had enough of the hordes of visitors. First announced in March of last year, a ban on red-light district tours is finally going into effect starting on April 1, 2020.
Amsterdam’s residents and city council are concerned about tourists behaving inappropriately in the red-light district. There are rules to follow in this unique neighborhood, including not taking photographs of the sex workers, not taking part in public drinking or drunkeness, and keeping noise down, which are not always respected. Putting an end to the tours is believed to help with these issues.
The city council’s ban also includes a ban on bar crawls in the area, to reduce the number of potentially disrespectful tourists.
And the red-light district isn’t the only neighborhood cracking down on tourism. Guided tours of other parts of Amsterdam’s historic city center will be capped at 15 people, down from the current max of 20.
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.
A version of this article was previously published on March 21, 2019, by Tim Wenger, and was updated on February 19, 2020, by Eben Diskin.
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