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Amsterdam Attractions under Attack

Blink and you'll miss it - new laws are reforming Europe's debauchery destination

Amsterdam at NightAmsterdam at NightWhat's a weekend in Amsterdam without an eye-opening adventure in the red light district? According to the BBC, "millions of European drug tourists" are forcing the Dutch to rethink their uber-liberal policies.

No more is live and let live the order of the day. ChristianUnion MP Joel Voordewind says that "a series of shocking events has made the Dutch more open to ‘a firm government with outspoken norms and values.'"

Snowballing legislation over the past three years is making Amsterdam a much less risqué place to play.

  • On January 5th one of Amsterdam's largest brothels lost an appeal to stay in business. The judge ruled that they'd been taken over by the Hells Angels.
  • Magic mushrooms were banned from sale last October. Locals are convinced it's because a few dumb tourists took too many chances.
  • September 2007, one third of the strip's "neon-lit" windows (you've seen the pictures of prostitutes posing seductively) were sold. Apparently these storefronts make great homes.
  • The famous coffeehouses had to pick a poison in 2006 - it became illegal to sell both cannabis and alcohol.

Are you into experimentation?

To get the full experience, go soon. A government push to gentrify the city eliminate organized crime is pushing vices from the public eye. I'm not brave enough to try all that Amsterdam has to offer, but whether you're just looking or there to buy, you can still get a joint and java in licensed cafes. And rest assured, that sex worker in the window is one of the safest in the world - thanks to legal prostitution.

Party girl or pretty mild, what would you do on a trip to the red light district?

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