HomeTravelAmsterdam has launched yet another campaign to keep rowdy tourists away

Amsterdam has launched yet another campaign to keep rowdy tourists away


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Amsterdam – it’s the land of tulips, cycling, and… asking visitors to stay away, apparently. Yep, the Dutch capital has just announced yet another ploy to try and deter difficult tourists from visiting the city, now that previous campaigns seem to have wavered in their impact. 

Shall we have a recap of how the city has attempted to clamp down on misbehaving tourists? After a proposal to ban tourists from cannabis coffeeshops fell through, Amsterdam instead implemented a full-on weed ban in the Red Light District early last year. Then came the ‘stay away’ marketing campaign targeting 18-to-35 year olds headed to ‘Dam for a party. And in December, the ‘renew your view’ campaign was announced, which was an effort to encourage visitors to see (and treat) the city like a local would. 

And now? It’s the turn of the online quiz. That’s right – the city has launched a brand-new interactive campaign that asks prospective visitors questions such as ‘What famous Dutch products would you like to try? Cocaine?’ to try and deter them. Seriously

The quiz will be targeted at those searching for things like ‘Amsterdam coffeeshops’ and ‘Amsterdam stag do’. Anyone who answers the questions – which are available online – and shows interest in anything from a pub crawl to ‘exploring the city with a joint in your hand’ is met with a message that reads ‘That is going to be a hassle. It is forbidden.’

You don’t need us to tell you this is a pretty unusual campaign, but what’s the thinking behind it? Amsterdam’s Deputy Mayor Sofyan Mbarki told a council meeting ‘We are doing things a bit differently. Future tourists who Google for ‘Amsterdam coffee shop’, ‘Amsterdam red light district’ and ‘Amsterdam stag do’ will come to this quiz via Google Ads.’

‘The website needs to debunk associations that party tourists have about letting loose in Amsterdam,’ he continued, according to the Guardian

Debunking associations sounds easier said than done, and tourism expert Vincent van Dijk said it’ll likely be ineffective unless there are accompanying fines. And while at least €165,000 (£141,000) has helped fund the quiz, the city is still in need of visitors due to the tourist tax revenue they generate. 

Keep an eye on our travel news page for updates on this story – or for the city’s next anti-tourism campaign, whichever comes first. 

More on tourism measures

Lots of cities are taking steps to manage visitor numbers, but their methods are a little more orthodox than Amsterdam. Seville has recently introduced an entry fee on the Plaza de España, as did Istanbul with the Hagia Sophia. But there’s plenty more where that came from – here are all the destinations that want tourists to stay away

Did you see that these are the surprising European destinations on the rise in 2024?

Plus: this is officially the best rooftop bar in Europe.

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