Alcohol sales ban in Amsterdam Red Light District extended to prevent nuisance
The alcohol sales ban in the Amsterdam Red Light District will be extended to prevent crowds and nuisance in the area. Terrace extensions on a large part of Burgwallen-Oude Zijde and the entire Nieuwmarkt will also be taken away, and there will be more crowd control and measures taken against street deals.
Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema, alderman for Economic Affairs Egbert de Vries and the deputy chair of the city center Micha Mos announced this in a letter to the city council. The alcohol sales ban will come into effect on May 6 and will apply on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 4 p.m. for retail outlets, snack bars and liquor stores, but not for catering. The same ban has already been in place from 10 p.m. on these days.
In addition to the measures that were announced, the city council is preparing additional changes. If the situation calls for it, the alcohol sales ban can be extended or closing times on weekends reduced to 3 a.m. or 2 a.m., or after a certain time no visitors will be allowed in catering establishments. Consideration is also being given to closing off access to the area at peak times and targeting visitor numbers to 70 percent of the pre-coronavirus levels, perhaps even by installing revolving gates.
The temporary terrace extensions were allowed to accommodate catering entrepreneurs during coronavirus times. Now the permits, which actually ran until the end of October, will be withdrawn on May 6 because "with the start of the summer season and the return of tourist pressure, accessibility, quality of life and public space are coming under pressure."
Effective immediately, the municipality will do more to manage crowds by deploying hosts who guide visitor flows in the right direction. There will also be one-way traffic in various alleys and on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal.
The city is taking the extra measures because the crowds of tourists within the popular area are returning even faster than expected. For example, visitor numbers and nuisance reports during the Easter weekend were comparable to the period before coronavirus, when tourism within the district peaked. "We consider the announced measures necessary to improve the situation in the short term," the letter said.
Reporting by ANP