‘Tourists should be banned from coffeeshops’

Do you have an annual come-to-Amsterdam-and-get-high tradition? Or do you love the city’s carefree attitude towards marijuana? Well, it may be a distant memory in the future as two researchers, Tops and Tromp, think Amsterdam should ban tourists from coffeeshops. 

This resident-only system is already used by other cities and means only people who live in the Netherlands and possess a valid ID can access a coffeeshop.

Discussions with Halsema

On Tuesday, Tops and Tromp met with the Amsterdam City Council and Mayor Halsema to discuss the policy and highlight the positive effect it was having in other cities such as Maastricht.

“It would be very healthy if there could be an open discussion about this,” researcher Jan Tromp told the Telegraaf, “Initially, this led to an increase in street trade in Maastricht, but people were prepared for it and managed to suppress that fairly quickly and firmly.”

tourists banned from coffeeshops
People gather outside a coffeeshop in Amsterdam. Source: Dominic Milton Trott/Flickr

Shaking Amsterdam’s reputation as a drug city

Many tourists flock to Amsterdam for its liberal drug policy. Tops and Tromp explain that if this system was to work, Amsterdam would need a ‘cooling down period’ where it makes efforts to change its reputation.

They explain that you cannot merely just introduce the policy “in one go. You must be well prepared.”, the Telegraaf reports. 

Tops and Tromp think Amsterdam has “zichzelf in de vingers” (cut itself in the fingers) by not implementing this policy earlier.

How does the policy work in Maastricht?

The municipality of Maastricht introduced the ban as too many tourists started buying soft drugs and threatening public order.

Coffeeshop owners are fearful that the ban would harm their business but the ban does does not include visitors from Germany and Belgium.

Critics of the policy

Critics of the policy believe the ban violates European Union principles such as freedom of movement and equality.

Marc Josemans, chairman of the Association of Official Coffee Shops Maastricht, does not like the ban. “All these clients who are banned from the Dutch coffee shops… have to return to the illegal circuit in their own country, therefore it will become a bigger problem and cause more criminality in those countries,” the BBC reports.

European Court of Justice

Last December, the European Court of Justice ruled that Dutch authorities could implement the policy and ban foreigns from coffeeshops as it is in efforts to combat overtourism, which causes grave problems for the Netherlands.

What do you think about such a policy? Would you think it would be effective? Let us know in the comments below. 

Freya Sawbridge
Freya Sawbridge
Freya was born in Edinburgh but raised in New Zealand (cue every person she meets saying “oh I have always wanted to go there but it’s so far away!”). A restless and curious nature has led her to move countries 5 times in the last 3 years in attempt to find a place she can call home. She contacted DutchReview on a whim and arrived in the Netherlands in summer 2019 to start her internship.


  1. A lot of us come over to respect and enjoy the freedom that we can’t have in our own countries. Perhaps the Dutch Government could put a proposal forward via the EU that would encourage the other member states to create legalised and regulated markets. That might not help the Brits out though but there would be other countries that will respect the revenue that comes in via coffeeshops.

  2. You would be better off by banning people from pubs and liquor shops, since alcohol is a cause of much more serious problems.

  3. That would be very very sad. If we can do it in the USA and have Trump as a president: you can’t do it it the dam. It would just be wrong and politically incorrect.

  4. Me & my son come to Amsterdam, because its a fantastic holiday, yes we go to Coffee Shops ,& enjoy our time there ,we also enjoy your parks ,museum’s,sightseeing, We both love your way of life ,we have also e joyed some music events ,(Guns & Roases & Australian Pink Floyd, )we could of seen both in England where we live but decided to do so in the Netherlands.

  5. If those other countries want less crime they should just legalize it themselves.

    Also, surely, there will be plenty of places to go for weed in the near future.


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