Action needed to curb drunken Brits on stag nights, say Amsterdam businesses

red light districtGroups of young British men and women coming to Amsterdam to celebrate stag and hen nights are becoming an increasing problem for some city centre businesses, broadcaster Nos says on Friday.

Specialist companies have been set up offering ‘striptease dinners’ and ‘best deals on drinks’ to bachelor groups. Website Last Night of Freedom for example states that Amsterdam is ‘a city with no inhibition or self-consciousness, so anything goes.’

‘We’ve had enough,’ said Diana van Laar, of the Zeedijk shopkeepers’ association. ‘They vomit and pee all over the Zeedijk. It is not normal behaviour,’ she told the broadcaster.

Van Laar wants the police to intervene more often, particularly when it comes to public drunkenness. ‘If you are drunk, sober up in a cell and then we don’t have to put up with you,’ she said.

Machteld Ligtvoet of the city’s marketing department agrees that the nuisance caused by drunken tourists needs to be curtailed.

‘Luckily, many people no longer think Amsterdam is just about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll but lots of Brits and people from the provinces still think anything goes,’ she told Nos. ‘And that has to change.’


However, sex club owner Cor van Dijk says the nuisance is exaggerated. ‘Its all part of the area,’ he said. ‘There are just a couple of locals who complain all the time.’  And, he points out, the tourists spend a lot of money in hotels – the British are the biggest group of foreign visitors – and they also visit museums.

Recently, London’s mayor Boris Johnson called Amsterdam ‘sleazy’, which led Amsterdam’s mayor Eberhard van der Laan to invite him for a visit. ‘I’d like to show him how thousands of fellow Brits behave,’ Van der Laan is quoted as telling a council meeting.

‘They don’t wear a coat as they slalom through the red light district… they sing ‘You’ll never walk alone’. They are dressed as rabbits or priests and sometimes they are not dressed at all. I’d love to invite him to witness it.’

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