Flowery bikes, eco-living and a rules quiz: Amsterdam paints a new vision of the city for tourists

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Amsterdam has desperately been trying to shake off its ‘party capital’ image – with limited success.

After its 2023 campaign urging drunken British tourists to ‘stay away’ failed, the city is trialling a softer approach.

Hoping to attract “a different type of visitor”, according to a press release from the local authority, the new ‘Renew Your View’ campaign encourages tourists to see the city through a local’s eyes.

Taking aim at those who “seek sensation and vulgar entertainment” at the city’s Red Light District and ‘coffee shops’, it promotes a different side of the city, free from transgressive behaviour and rowdy bachelor parties.

The Dutch capital has also launched a pre-trip quiz for visitors including drug-related questions which hopes to deter reveller tourists. 

Amsterdam launches pre-trip rules quiz for tourists

Amsterdam has launched a website where those planning a holiday to the city can take a quiz about the purpose of their visit. 

Called Amsterdam Rules, it hopes to encourage party-focused visitors to reconsider their planned activities in the city. 

If you agree to answers such as wanting a guided tour of sex workers’ windows or pub crawls, the website responds that these activities are now forbidden and suggests the city is not the best destination for you. 

Another question asks “What famous Dutch products would you like to try?” and offers the options of stroopwafels, poffertjes (mini pancakes) tulips, molly (slang for ecstasy) and cocaine.

If you pick one of the last two options, a message appears stating: “Buying drugs from street dealers is illegal. Street dealers sell fake drugs which are dangerous for your health. Buying drugs on the street can lead to getting fined.”

If, however, your answers show your intended activities follow Amsterdam’s rules, you are directed to the official tourism portal of the city – Iamsterdam.

Get to know real Amsterdammers

Painting the city as a place for “ideas, initiatives and inspiration”, Amsterdam’s ‘Renew Your View’ campaign – which will run until the end of 2025 – features flower bikes, LGBTQ+ culture and green living.

It emphasises the city’s diversity of people and viewpoints, saying “Amsterdam makes you see… how you can be just you, while giving room to others too.”

But if being you means chugging 10 beers, getting high out of your mind and trawling the Red Light District, you’re still not welcome.

Stay Away campaign expanded to other European countries

Amsterdam’s headline-grabbing Stay Away campaign initially took aim at young British men when it was released in March this year.

The city is carrying the message into 2024 – and expanding it to men aged 18 to 35 from EU countries as well as the Netherlands.

Since its launch, the campaign has been coupled with measures to curb nuisance behaviour in the city centre. These include a weed smoking ban and early closing of restaurants and food vendors in the Red Light District – rules the local authority intends to make clear in its ongoing messaging.

It also warns that a messy weekend in the city could land you with a fine and a criminal record.

So far it has not significantly discouraged tourists but it has somewhat changed the image of the city and made visitors more aware of the rules, Mayor Femke Halsema said in a letter to the city council.

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