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Amsterdam Is Fed Up With Tourists Behaving Badly In The Red Light District

By Victoria M. Walker

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The city of Amsterdam wants you to mind your manners the next time you visit the Red Light District. Oh, and don’t visit with a tour group, either.

The city announced that it would ban all organized tours from the city’s Red Light District, which will go into effect Jan. 1, according to a DutchNews report.

The ban doesn’t just include tours, either. Bar crawls, and other guided tours will also take a hit. But it appears that bad behavior from tourists, thousands of whom visit weekly, contributed to the ban. The neighborhood attracts tourists from around the world and brings the city millions of dollars yearly in revenue, but the locals are fed up.

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The city introduced fines aimed at curbing bad behavior for public urination, drunkenness or excessive noise. Security workers, according to the New York Times, patrol the De Wallen neighborhood to remind visitors not to take photos of sex workers.

“We do not consider it appropriate for tourists to leer at sex workers,” alderman Udo Kock told DutchNews. Kock also told the New York Times that gawking and treating sex workers like tourist attractions were “outdated.”


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A tour guide operator told the Times that without tour guides, tourists wouldn’t know how to behave when venturing into the Red Light District alone.

“No one will be there to tell them ‘please be quiet, please behave’ or to educate them about not taking pictures and being respectful,” he said.

Amsterdam’s ombudsman made waves last August after describing the city as an “urban jungle” where “criminal money is leading, and authority no longer exists, and the police can no longer handle this situation,” he told Dutch newspaper Trouw.

Millions of tourists flock to Amsterdam yearly for a glimpse at its famous canals and historic buildings, but the Red Light District is perhaps one of the most well-known worldwide. Some 200,000 tourists visit the city yearly for prostitution, which is legal in the Netherlands.

But if you want to take a guided tour at night before Jan. 1, you’re running out of time. Even before the ban begins on New Years’ Day, tours will not be allowed to take place after 7 p.m. starting April 1.

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Victoria M. Walker

Victoria M. Walker is an award-winning multimedia journalist and full-time lecturer in the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film at her alma mater, Howard University. She was previously the breaking news and viral content video editor at The Washington Post.

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