BFF-91 Amsterdam moots new measures to tame red light crowds

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BFF-91

NETHERLANDS-LIFESTYLE-TOURISM-AMSTERDAM

Amsterdam moots new measures to tame red light crowds

THE HAGUE, Aug 7, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Amsterdam is taking new measures to
ease tourist pressure on its popular red-light district including compulsory
clean-up breaks in streets and monitoring of crowds, the council said
Tuesday.

The announcement comes days after the city’s ombudsman warned its bustling
centre was turning into a “lawless jungle” at night with police powerless to
intervene against crime and violence.

“Apart from existing measures, Amsterdam will now take extra action to
reduce pressure on the city centre and to improve access to the ‘Wallen’,”
the city council said in a statement.

The ‘Wallen’ (Dutch for ‘canal banks’), is the inner city’s seedy red light
district and includes its infamous red-framed windows where prostitutes ply
their trade.

“A lot of rubbish gets thrown in the streets. Therefore ‘mop-up pauses’ are
being introduced for certain streets,” the city said.

“Parts of the Wallen will then be closed off to the public in order to
properly rid streets,” of waste and vomit, it said.

Amsterdam also monitors visitor numbers, coded from green to orange to red,
depending on numbers.

“If a code red is called, so-called ‘hosts’ will be deployed and if
necessary, streets will be closed off,” the city said.

“Hosts” are council workers specially employed to direct visitors to less
busy areas and to address bad behaviour if necessary.

Law enforcers are also now being issued with a mobile pin machine which
will enable them to issue spot fines to tourists and get immediate payment.

“Access to the city’s famous canals are also being closely monitored,” the
city said.

Some 18 million tourists flock to Amsterdam every year — more than the
entire population of the Netherlands.

Over the past year, the city has sought to take major steps to push back
against unruly visitors instituting stiff fines and penalties for breaking
public disturbance laws.

But enticed by cheap travel, groups mostly of young men — mainly from
elsewhere in the Netherlands or Britain — frequently roam the inner city’s
canal-lined streets at weekends, on pub crawls or to celebrate stag parties
drawn by easy access to drugs and the notorious Wallen district.

Things came to a head when Amsterdam’s official ombudsman Arre Zuurmond
warned late last month that the capital’s “city centre becomes an urban
jungle at night.”

BSS/AFP/MRI/2335 hrs