Amsterdam cafes are reconsidering their ban on tourists as the city continues to recover from last year’s devastating pandemic. The policy was designed to protect locals, but Amsterdam residents say it is making them feel unwelcome and that they don’t need protection.

Amsterdam coffee shops are reconsidering their ban on tourists as they recover from the pandemic. The coffee shops want to make sure that tourists can still enjoy the city, even if they cannot access cannabis. Read more in detail here: are amsterdam coffee shops open to tourists.

Amsterdam Cafes Reconsider Ban on Tourists as They Recover From the Pandemic

Travelers from all around the globe have visited Amsterdam. It is known for its gorgeous and bustling settings, but it is also known for its notorious cannabis business. The city of Amsterdam has voted to prohibit tourists from possessing cannabis due to unruly visitors; however, opponents and cannabis café owners are concerned that the restriction could jeopardize the industry’s recovery from the coronavirus outbreak. 

Reimagining Europe’s Sin Capital

Cannabis cafés all around Amsterdam may be driven underground as a consequence of the restriction on foreign visitors, particularly when considering how delayed their recovery is from the effects of the epidemic. In order to defend and renew the city’s image, Femke Halsema, the mayor, recently disclosed a plan to prohibit tourists, notably foreigners, from accessing cannabis-based enterprises. The premise behind the prohibition is that it would minimize the number of visitors who get boisterous and disturb residents. 

While the ban was proposed with good intentions, café owners and employees believe that it may make recovery from the epidemic more difficult. It’s also troubling since it gives underground marketplaces and street sellers a foothold. 

Prior to the coronavirus epidemic, Amsterdam received roughly 20 million visitors each year, generating substantial cash for the city’s residents. Regrettably, the lockdowns and travel restrictions implemented to combat the epidemic led in a huge drop in cannabis tourism and income. 

Eve Mcguire, a barista at Amsterdam’s Coffeeshop Reefer, told Deutsche Welle (DW) that without visitors, a significant chunk of the cafe’s earnings would vanish. “80 percent of our clients would be gone… if they (Amsterdam authorities) genuinely banned visitors,” she says. The Dutch do not hang around at coffee shops. You purchase your cannabis and go home if you’re Dutch. Tourists are the ones who hang around at coffee shops.”

According to Gary Gallagher, the manager of the Amsterdam Cannabis Museum, although travel restrictions were eased during the pandemic, money earned was still roughly half of what it was before the epidemic. Gallagher goes on to say that, considering the amount of money made in the cannabis market by foreigners, the prohibition is unlikely to pass… Even if it does, he and others are likely to drive the marijuana sector underground. 

“I believe they can modify the regulations but not the culture,” Gallagher says. “When they stopped the coffee shops for Corona, there were drug traffickers on every street corner,” says Amsterdam. So they reversed the action a few days later. Despite boisterous and bothersome passengers, Amsterdam has been a leading example of the success cannabis industry can achieve; why they would wish to retreat and open doors to the unlawful market is beyond ridiculous. 


There will be no marijuana, and there will be no tourists.

Despite the fact that Gallagher and other opponents of the planned ban do not think the government would allow it to be implemented, he admits that Amsterdam has been quieter without the regular influx of visitors. “It was pleasant not to hear people going in and out seven days a week, 24/7,” Gallagher adds. The street never stops up, I didn’t miss the visitors, to be honest.” We’re sure he misses the cash flow, however. 

Residents of Amsterdam are no strangers to drunk and unruly visitors, but is banning cannabis tourism the best solution? A intoxicated guy once walked down his street and puked into his window, according to a 26-year-old Amsterdam resident. Party-goers have no regard, according to the homeowner, and “it’s a community, but they don’t perceive it as a neighborhood where people live.” This is a real worry, however it seems that alcohol was the issue in this case.

Officials in Amsterdam argue that banning cannabis will help the city to attract more wholesome visitors, which makes sense when you consider that individuals visiting for the city’s liberal drug laws and sex business are not the same people visiting to appreciate the canals and Van Gogh House, for example. If the authorities desire this, Gallagher tells DW then policing the regions more severely and aggressively could be a better answer. 

“They could have more of a police presence in the red-light area,” Gallagher says. “If they want to reduce down on the rowdy UK bachelor parties, we’re all in favor of that, but preventing people from spending money, particularly today, I don’t think that’s very sensible,” he says, adding that “if they want to cut down on the rowdy UK bachelor parties, we’re all in favor of that.” 

According to CNBC, Europe’s “city of sin” has changed dramatically since the outbreak, but “many residents are relishing the fact that they can roam and bike around their city without evading hoards of visitors.” Ben at Barney’s Coffeeshop agreed with Gallagher, telling CNBC, “Obviously [it’s better] compared to last summer with the corona[virus], but this year it began becoming busier, but it’s still nothing compared to the years before.” Only truly French visitors, French and Germans, have been coming here, not many English, and not many Italians.”

Another Amsterdam resident told CNBC that although she appreciated the calmer city, she did not believe tourists should be barred from visiting cannabis-based cafés. She says that “they would purchase it anyhow,” which encourages unlawful behavior, and that the restriction would discriminate against visitors.

“It was also lot more pleasurable to pedal about the city without tourist cyclists with little riding expertise,” another local said. Overall, things were considerably more pleasant.” When the subsequent resident was asked whether the visitors were a bother, he said emphatically, “Yes.” Tourists that come solely for the shopping are not always good company.” 

It seems that boisterous and rude visitors taking advantage of Amsterdam’s permissive cannabis sector have jeopardized the chance for others, such as myself, to enjoy the wonderful city and its world-class cannabis. Hopefully, a solution can be reached that reflects the best interests of all parties, including the café employees and residents. 


Chane Leigh, nicknamed The Bud Fairy, is a cannabis advocate and enthusiast from South Africa with a fiery personality and a desire to travel. She enjoys educating others and challenging social conventions.

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Amsterdam is considering a law change that would allow tourists to visit the city again. The law change would be effective starting in 2021. Reference: amsterdam laws for tourists 2021.

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