Amsterdam mayor won't ban alcohol on canals

Boats on an Amsterdam canal
Boats on an Amsterdam canalPhoto: IraGirichBO/DepositPhotos

Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema will not ban alcohol on the city's canals. Barely a week after such a ban was suggested by the city council, Halsema described it as undesirable and disproportionate. 
"Measures [to combat nuisance] serve to enable Amsterdammers to enjoy their city freely. Only misconduct is curbed", she said in a letter to the city council, Het Parool reports.

Last week Thursday a narrow majority in the city council adopted a PvdA proposal to have the city government look into banning alcohol on the canals. The left-wing parties want to have the possibility of prohibiting alcohol consumption for both skippers and their passengers in the event of extreme nuisance added to the general local regulations, the APV. 

The idea is that such a ban would reduce alcohol-related nuisance for local residents, often caused by tourist filled booze cruises or boats of partying students. The downside is that the ban will also affect the regular pleasure craft.

The proposal immediately sparked criticism. Halsema herself was also unpleasantly surprised by the proposed ban, sources around the mayor told the newspaper. She therefore informed the city council on Wednesday that she will not implement it. 

According to Halsema, imposing an alcohol ban will not only cause legal complications, but is also disproportionate to the problem it sets to solve."There is talk of alcohol-related nuisance on the water, but the severity, extent and urgency of this is not such that there is reason now to include an alcohol ban on the water in the APV." The city is already looking into ways to tackle commercial tour boats that serve alcohol with specific regulations. "In the light of scarce enforcement, this is a more appropriate response to the nuisance than a total ban."