Amsterdam wants to keep foreign tourists from coffee shops

Foreign tourists should eventually be banned from coffee shops in Amsterdam. Mayor Halsema, the Public Prosecutor‘s Office and the police want only residents of the Netherlands to be allowed in the future.

Over the past twenty years, the number of coffee shops in the capital has been reduced from 283 to 166, but despite this, demand for soft drugs has increased. According to Halsema, the so-called cannabis tourists have contributed a lot to this: We have seen that many groups of young people come to Amsterdam to visit a coffee shop.

Almost 30 percent of the coffee shops in the Netherlands are in Amsterdam. According to Halsema, this is a strong incentive for foreign tourists.

The soft drug tourists regularly cause nuisance to local residents, says the mayor.

Halsema points to research that shows that a large number of foreign tourists do not want to come to Amsterdam anymore if they can’t go to a coffee shop anymore. This study also showed that in 2025 ‘only’ 73 coffee shops are needed to serve the local market, whereas there are now 166.

Takes a while

We will not introduce this plan tomorrow. Before we get there, I think we‘ll be a year ahead, says Halsema. She has not yet spoken to coffeeshop owners about the idea; first, the mayor wants to discuss it with the city council.

Amsterdam did not want to meet the so-called residence criterion (i criterion), which means that only residents of the Netherlands can be admitted. It was feared that this would increase illegal street traffic.

Halsema calls it a real risk that moves the trade to the street. However, she thinks that the number of foreign tourists will decrease, because they often smoke at home: These tourists mainly come to Amsterdam to sit in our coffee shops. The question is why they should still come here, if they can’t.

She wants to investigate further to what extent the trade in cannabis really moves to the streets when the coffee shops are no longer accessible.

Other tourists

Halsema hopes to attract a different kind of tourist after corona: We would like tourists who come for the wealth and beauty of cultural institutions. Not the tourists who only come to walk around here drunk and stoned.