Amsterdam center devolves into "lawlessness" at night, Ombudsman says

Amsterdam's Red Light District
Amsterdam's Red Light DistrictRungbachduong / Wikimedia Commons

At night the Amsterdam city center devolves into "lawlessness" to such an extent that the police can no longer handle it, Amsterdam Ombudsman Arre Zuurmond said to Trouw. The police confirmed his findings to the newspaper.

After multiple complaints from local residents, especially residents around the Red Light District and Leidseplein, Zuurmond decided to rent a home in the Red Light District to experience the situation for himself. 

"In the city center, criminal money is leading at night. The authority is no longer present", the Ombudsman said to Trouw. "The police can no longer handle this situation." According to Zuurmond, emergency services can't reach emergencies like a heart attack or fire. "If the police want to go after a criminal, they simply can't get through the crowd."

It is time to take a "broom through the center", area by area, starting with Leidseplein, Zuurmond said.

Zuurmond previously stated that Amsterdam's city center turns into "a jungle at night, in which survival of the fittest applies and in which the government is intolerably absent". He also said that crime pays too easily in the Dutch capital, making the criminal career path too attractive for young people. 

In response, a spokesperson for Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema said that the problems in Amsterdam city center are stubborn and that tackling them is high on her agenda. She is speaking with Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security about getting more police officers on the city's streets.