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‘Turn your backs!’ Crackdown bans gawking and photos

February 23, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District, a Dutch tourist attraction in its own right, is now subject to strict new rules, as authorities try to clamp down on crowds of raucous tourists blocking streets and taking photos.

Only a few months ago, Amsterdam banned “beer bikes”, which let young visitors to the city join groups of drunk and stoned people pedalling communal bikes fitted with beer kegs through the streets. See: End of road for jolly Amsterdam tourist institution

Now attention is switching to the Red Light District. A voluntary code of conduct for tour guides seems to have failed, so tough new regulations have been passed, with heavy fines on guides who transgress.

Not all are behind windows

From April, guided tours of more than 20 people will be banned from the Red Light District, which houses the city’s famous sex workers sitting behind glass shopfronts. Tours must be completed by 11pm, and tour groups will not be allowed to congregate in busy areas like the bridges in the Oudezijds Achterburgwal district.

Visitors on guided tours have always been discouraged from taking photos of the sex workers and this will be enforced. Controversially, tour groups will have stand with their backs to the windows, rather than gawking in.

Amsterdam Red Light District

Private tour guides will face fines of EUR 190 (about AUD 300) under the new rules, while tour operators could be hit with a EUR 950 fine (close to AUD 1500).

Tourism to Amsterdam continues to rise. The Dutch city will be connected to London by Eurostar high-speed train service from April.

 

Written by Peter Needham

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