Towards a smoking ban in the old city center of Amsterdam in mid-May?

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From mid-May, the old city center of Amsterdam, De Wallen, the part of the city that includes the red light district, could be banned from outdoor cannabis consumption, Mayor Femke Halsema announced via a Press release.

The smoking ban is part of a series of measures aimed at preventing nuisance from tourists, alongside restrictions on the sale of alcohol and on the opening hours of “windows”.

Cannabis ban in the Red Light District

The press release, reported by states that:

“The ban on the use of soft drugs in public places should reduce nuisance. In addition, the Commission will examine whether a purchase ban for soft drugs from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. from Thursday to Sunday is legally feasible and enforceable. If the nuisance does not decrease sufficiently with the smoking ban, the possibilities of banning the consumption of cannabis on the terraces of coffeeshops in the neighborhood will also be studied. »

For now, only a smoking ban will apply. The municipality of Amsterdam is still investigating whether a ban on the purchase of cannabis from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday to Sunday is feasible.

The announcement is not a surprise. The plan was presented at the end of November by Alderman Sofyan Mbarki. These measures follow the citizens’ initiative “Amsterdam has a choice”, which received 30,000 statements of support in 2020.

“Residents of the old city center are structurally and excessively inconvenienced by crowds and nuisance caused by mass tourism and drug use in public spaces,” the city said. “These measures are part of the package of measures announced last year to combat crowds and nuisance in the red light district,” the city continues. These issues keep residents awake at night, reduce their quality of life, and affect the “safety of the whole neighborhood.” »

For the moment, the resident criterion (i-criterion) which would prevent tourists from accessing coffee shops, has not been mentioned.

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