UNITED KINGDOM: Young British males looking for a “messy” weekend are being advised to stay away by the city of Amsterdam through a geo-targeting campaign. According to research, British men between the ages of 18 and 35 and Dutch men around the same age tend to cause the most disturbances in the red light district, making life for locals miserable with stag parties, bar crawls, and all-night binges on alcohol and drugs.
Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light District is a carnival of vice, with skimpily-clad commercial sex workers in brothel windows, raucous bars, haze-filled ‘coffeeshops’, strip shows, and mind-boggling museums. It’s not for everyone.
Amsterdam, a major trading port since the Middle Ages, has been a magnet for the ‘world’s oldest profession.’ As early as the 1300s, women carrying red lanterns (due to their flattering light) met sailors near the port, and bars, clubs, and risqué entertainment venues flooded into the area. But sex work wasn’t legal until 1810, and brothels weren’t legalised until 2000.
Changes continue: since 2007, city officials have taken measures to clean up the district by reducing the number of red-light windows in an effort to eliminate pimps, human traffickers, and money launderers (all of which are illegal).
When individuals in Britain type terms like “stag party in Amsterdam,” “cheap hotel in Amsterdam,” and “pub crawl in Amsterdam” into search engines, the internet campaign, which launches this week, will be activated. They will watch videos with warnings about the risks and consequences of drinking and using drugs too much, such as fines, jail time, hospitalisation, and long-term health problems.
The promotion will begin in Britain before moving on to the Netherlands and other countries. Posters, screens in hotel lobbies, and hosts approaching people to remind them of their manners are all part of the side-by-side “How to Amsterdam” campaign. The “visitor economy vision” of the city includes contentious proposals to partially convert the red light district into an erotica centre, an earlier closing time for brothels and bars beginning this weekend, and a prohibition on cannabis smoking in public in central Amsterdam starting in May.
Conscious Hotels CEO Marco Lemmers stated that he would favour a proactive campaign similar to Switzerland’s. “You could show people that they will get in trouble with certain behaviour, with a bit of humour, but you shouldn’t act like everyone who comes here for a wedding is a criminal!” he said.
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