The oldest part of Amsterdam city centre is to get a major facelift costing hundreds of millions of euros, the Volkskrant reports on Monday.
The project involves a sharp reduction in the amount of prostitution, an overhaul of hotels and bars and efforts to bring in high-value retail.
The city council, police, tax office, housing corporations, investment funds and private investors such as the Hotel Krasnapolsky are all involved in the project.
‘It is time to step in,’ council finance chief Lodewijk Asscher told the Volkskrant. ‘The days when the prettiest part of the old city was in the hands of petty crime are over.’
In particular, prostitution will be removed from the area around the Oude Kerk church, which will be brought back to life as a cultural centre.
The city also wants the legal age for prostitution to be raised from 18 to 21 and more efforts to ban pimping and forced prostitution. These measures require national legislation, but have the support of a majority of MPs.
The Damrak, which leads into the city from central station, will also be completely restructured to get rid of the numerous souvenir and drugs coffee shops and connections to organised crime.
‘We will use every measure at our disposal,’ Asscher told the Volkskrant.
The total revamp, nicknamed Project 1012 after the city centre postcode, is expected to take some 10 years.
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