On Thursday, a new era began in Amsterdam’s red light district, with a ban on smoking cannabis on the streets officially taking effect.
The ban is part of a city-wide effort led by Mayor Femke Halsema to make the famous area more welcoming to residents and workers.
According to Reuters, The signs “are posted in canal-side neighborhoods known for brothels, sex clubs and marijuana cafes that attract millions of tourists annually, but are a nuisance to residents.”
Anyone breaking the new law will be fined €100 (about $110).
The law was proposed by the Amsterdam City Council earlier this year.
“Old town residents suffer from large numbers of tourists and the abuse of alcohol and drugs on the streets. Tourists also attract street vendors that cause crime and insecurity. “Affected individuals wander around for long periods of time. Residents do not sleep well and neighborhoods become unsafe and difficult to live in,” the city council said in a statement at the time.
“Banning smoking on the street should reduce nuisances. We will consider whether we can ban it,” the council added.
The city council gave final approval to the proposal earlier this month, and it was ready for Thursday.
According to Reuters, “Smoking will continue to be permitted inside and on terraces of coffee shops selling marijuana and hash in the district and other parts of the city,” people said.
The cannabis smoking ban is part of an effort to improve conditions in the red light district led by Halsema, Amsterdam’s first female mayor.
CNN reported in 2019 that Halsema “presented four options aimed at protecting sex workers from hostile conditions, fighting crime and reducing the impact of tourism in Amsterdam’s De Wallen red light district.” rice field.
“There are four scenarios for discussion, including closing window curtains so that sex workers cannot be seen from the street, reducing the number of rooms with windows, relocating brothels to other parts of Amsterdam, and possibly having sex workers. proposed to.” A “hotel” is born. According to CNN. The plan aims to protect sex workers from spying on tourists and camera phones, and to combat the rise of abuses such as human trafficking. The four proposals will be discussed with sex workers, residents and businesses in July before being submitted to the city council in September. The mayor’s office confirmed that the plan would eventually evolve into a new policy on sex work. ”
The Red Light District, known locally as De Wallen in Amsterdam, has been a popular destination for visitors to Amsterdam for many years.
CNN reported earlier this year “It is estimated that around 10% to 15% of Amsterdam’s tourism industry is based in the red-light district.”
CNN said at the time: “City officials want De Wallen, known in Dutch as the district, to attract tourists who can appreciate its unique heritage, architecture and culture, not sex and drugs.” reported. Over the last few years, several efforts have been made to reduce the impact of mass tourism and unwanted visitors and to refresh the image of the area.
In 2020, guided tours will be banned from passing through windows for sex workers, and there are talks of relocating window brothels to districts outside the city center, a debate that continues today. . ”