Netherlands, a slowdown in the cannabis world?
The Netherlands is presented as an attractive country thanks in particular to its high tolerance policy on cannabis. Amsterdam has thus become a meeting place for many young people looking for discoveries and new experiences.
However, in February 2020, Dutch mayor Femke Halsema says he wants to restrict access to the 166 coffee shops in Amsterdam to foreign tourists. Thus, the shops would be open only to Dutch citizens. Former mayor Eberhard van der Laan expressed his opposition to this idea by saying that “the 17 million tourists will not say “more cannabis”, they will continue to come looking for drugs”. In addition, “This would lead to more theft, more drug squabbles and the lack of quality control of drugs on the market. Everything we worked on would be lost.”
The green mayor wants to see an Amsterdam 2025 without cannabis or prostitutes, which will certainly be moved to the periphery. It now wants to highlight other attractions of the city, such as its charm, its canals and its culture, thus attracting a completely different type of holidaymakers. In addition, the tourism of cannabis does not make so much use outside of drug-related products. Femke Halsema wants to “engage in a war against the Red Light District and its famous windows behind which prostitutes offer their service.”
In this process, the mayor can count on the support of residents, merchants and the police. During Covid, residents had the opportunity to rediscover a quiet and peaceful city, and especially without tourists. During the deconfinement, thousands of Belgians, Germans, French and British were able to make their return disturbing the peace of the Amstellodamois who judged their life more qualitative without tourists.
From an economic point of view, contrary to popular belief, it is not just about soft drugs. The Netherlands is anchored in the service sector housing multiple headquarters of multinationals and banks. Also, the port of Rotterdam which is one of the largest in the world represents a significant source of revenue.
The ecologist mayor wants to change the image of the capital of «cannabis tourists» and «reduce the power of attraction of Amsterdam as a resort of the tourism of soft drugs». As the demand for marijuana has increased in recent years, nuisances would become more and more frequent and intense in the city.