“Residents of the old city center experience a lot of nuisance from mass tourism and alcohol and drug abuse on the street,” the Municipality of Amsterdam said in a statement on Thursday.
“Tourists also attract street dealers, who in turn promote criminality and insecurity. Especially at night, the atmosphere can become grim. People who are under the influence also stick around longer,” it added.
The municipality noted: “Residents cannot sleep well and the neighborhood is becoming unsafe and unliveable.”
In addition to a ban on smoking marijuana on the street, Amsterdam said it will ramp up measures to discourage sales of alcohol. These are already banned after 4 p.m. Thursday to Sunday. The city said it would now also require alcohol to be hidden from view or removed from stores during those hours.
It said it hoped the smoking ban would reduce nuisance. If this doesn’t work, the municipality said it would also consider banning take-out purchases of soft drugs at certain times, and banning smoking marijuana at coffee shops’ outdoor seating areas.
The new rules will take effect in mid-May. Residents will have a chance to offer their opinions on them via an online forum.
City officials want the De Wallen neighborhood, as the district is known in Dutch, to draw visitors who can appreciate its unique heritage, architecture and culture rather than sex and drugs.
Over the past few years, there have been multiple initiatives to reduce the impact of mass tourism and nuisance visitors, and to revamp the area’s image.
CNN’s Blane Bachelor and Katja Brokke contributed to this report.
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