Amsterdam is set to stun travelers who have plans to visit the Dutch capital by preparing to ban travelers from being able to visit its famous coffee shops. Whilst Amsterdam has a lot to offer travelers, with its scenic canals, galleries, and countless other cultural experiences, there are still many travelers who flock to the city in their droves to enjoy its relaxed drug laws in its quirky coffee shops – but if local politicians get their way, it could spell the end of such activities for tourists.
Whilst Amsterdam won’t be the first popular destination to introduce policies to tackle drug use and the anti-social behavior that comes with it, such a move could have negative consequences towards its tourism levels – and is already being opposed by some businesses in the city. Here’s a look at the proposed change, why it is being considered plus a reminder of the entry requirements of the Netherlands at present.
Coffee Shop Ban – What Travelers Should Know
Whilst it may not be everybody’s cup of tea, research has shown that as much as 30% of all of the tourists that visit Amsterdam end up visiting a coffee shop for the purpose of purchasing and consuming cannabis, taking advantage of the laid back drug laws that have helped to put Amsterdam on the map for tourists of all types. However, this could all be set to change soon with changes planned by politicians in the city.
The plan was brought up once more by Amsterdam’s Mayor, Femke Halsema. Under the planned rule change, cannabis would be able to be purchased from the city’s 166 licensed coffee shops by residents only, leaving tourists unable to purchase it. Adding a residents-only rule to Amsterdam would see the city’s policy on cannabis match the policies of some other cities in the Netherlands.
According to Mayor Halsema, by limiting the use of coffee shops to local residents, many of the city’s problems will be solved. “Many of the major problems in the city are fueled by the cannabis market: from nuisance caused by drug tourism to serious crime and violence,” Halsema said, adding: “Banning sales to tourists is a necessary intervention… and a first step towards regulation.”
However, not every politician in the city agrees with the move. City councilors from three political parties are in talks to form a coalition to block the planned policy change. The groups argue that not only would such a change fuel the rise of illicit drug dealing by young people to fulfill the need for the drug, but that the city currently does not have enough resources needed to enforce and police such a change.
Whilst the news may be concerning for travelers, they needn’t worry too much just yet. This isn’t the first time that such plans have been made, with previous plans to introduce the policy in Amsterdam failing to get off the ground back in 2012. However, the pandemic has led to countries re-thinking their approach toward tourism, so it shouldn’t be ruled out completely.
In order to be able to visit the Netherlands at present, fully vaccinated travelers from the US, Canada and the UK do not need to present a negative Covid-19 test, but must complete a health declaration form prior to travel. Unvaccinated travelers who have recovered from Covid-19 within the past 180 days may also enter – more details can be found here.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com