Just a quick preface here. Stephen and I saw George Michael during the summer in Seattle. He performed a haunting version of The Police's classic, "Roxanne". There was a gorgeous montage of images of girls/boys who look like girls from the Red Light District in Amsterdam behind George. This story just reminded me...
Okay. On with the matter at hand:
"Prostitution and cannabis-vending in Amsterdam are to be curbed in an effort to clean up the city’s historic center, authorities announced over the weekend.
The city council's clean-up strategy will focus on Amsterdam's internationally famous red-light district.
The council aims to beautify the area and make it more fit for regular living and commerce by closing around half of the 482 prostitution windows and 76 licensed cannabis coffee shops in operation there.
The plan is set to be in full swing by 2018.
Prostitution was legalized in the Netherlands in 2000. The consumption and possession of less than five grams of cannabis were decriminalized in 1976, although its cultivation remains illegal.
While liberal-minded Dutch have tolerated this contradictory system of cannabis being grown and dealt illegally to legal vendors, the planned Amsterdam closures -- and a spate of other measures taken by smaller town councils around the Netherlands to close all cannabis coffee shops -- mark a growing concern that the system is breeding crime.
"Money laundering, extortion and human trafficking are things you do not see on the surface but they are hurting people and the city. We want to fight this," Amsterdam deputy mayor Lodewijk Asscher told news agency Reuters on Saturday, Dec. 6.
Wait for it...here's my favorite quote:
"We can still have sex and drugs, but in a way that shows the city is in control."
HAHAHAAA! Who are they kidding? First of all, where are all of the youngun's gonna go for a backbacking trip across Europe? (They aren't going to "Europe", per se; they are going to an "awesome place where they can smoke weed outside and gawk at the hookers" from the sidwalk. I saw a bunch of them at the airport on their way to Amsterdam near our gate for departure to Florence. They were already stinky. Just imagine being shoehorned next to them two weeks later on the flight home!
The tourist/john/stoner industry will die a painful death in Amsterdam.