Amsterdam Bans Red Light District Tourists From Staring At Sex Workers
Visitors to Amsterdam may be in for a shock come this April, as the famously laid back city takes a tougher stance on tourists in a bid to curb overcrowding and reduce anti-social behaviour.
New laws set to be put in place by local authorities will see tourists banned from staring at prostitutes through the city's famous window brothels.
While sex work is legal in Amsterdam, selling sex on the street is not, hence why many sex workers stand in windows to try and attract customers.
New rules will put the onus on tour guides to ensure that visitors keep their backs to women standing in the full-length windows.
They will face heavy fines for flouting the laws, as will visitors. Shouting, alcohol and drug use are also banned.
Amsterdam had previously tried to introduce a voluntary code of conduct, but after it failed to have the desired effect, local authorities felt compelled to put in place stricter laws to curb the famously outlandish behaviour of some tourists.
The Dutch capital has been a popular city break and stag-do destination for British tourists for many years, and tickets for a new Eurostar service between London and Amsterdam recently went on sale.
However, complaints from locals and rising crime have encouraged the government to try and curb visitor numbers, particularly with regards to the city's 'weed cafes'.
Recent years also saw a rise in human trafficking (much of it women forced into sex work) which the government has been trying to prevent.
Between 1995 and last year, Amsterdam's famous coffee shops fell in number by half, from 350 to 167, with a combination of growing tourist numbers and shop closures blamed for an increase of street dealers selling drugs.
Though seen as inherently liberal, the city's policy has long been one of toleration more than anything else, and it's introduction of new laws is a sign that local authorities (and many locals) believe the benefits of high tourist numbers have been outweighed by the negatives in recent years.
Featured Image Credit: PA