Amsterdam city council deserves to be praised for finally daring to take action to stop the rot in the heart of the medieval city.
Its plan to revitalise the area and go upmarket has been a long time coming. But now someone in city hall has finally woken up to the fact that drunken British lads on stag nights might not be the most desirable tourists that a city can attract.
Amsterdam’s red light district is indeed a great tourist draw. But as the councils officials presenting the plans said: the days when Blonde Greet plied her trade are over.
The red light district is not innocent, harmless fun any more, if it ever was. Organised crime has moved in.
And there is something rather sad about the endless parade of tourists who come to stare at the unfortunate girls in skimpy underwear.
A tourist trade based on cheap sex, drugs and neon bars attracts a certain type of tourist, the sort who will be sick on your doorstep or end up in casualty after eating too many magic mushrooms. While Amsterdam has so much more to offer.
The red light district is the oldest part of the city. Some of it dates back to the 13th century. The city council rightly wants the area to be visited for its beauty, history and charm, not because it is the best place in Europe to get drunk, stoned and have paid sex.
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