after the pandemic, Amsterdam wants to attract different tourists

Amsterdam has become incomprehensible: we only speak Dutch there. We do come across here and there, at the beginning of July, a few clusters of French people and a pinch of Germans, but, on the whole, the canals have been returned to the Amsterdam residents and the capital to the Dutch, free to pedal from one museum to the other. ‘other. Whoever walks in the humid streets of the hypercentre sees what, for ten years, has inflated the tourist figures like a balloon: a setting for a weekend of teenage debauchery. In terms of gastronomy, bottomless candy boxes, cardboard pizzas and wheels of industrial gouda. On the cultural side, coffee shops and 330 prostitution windows indicated by the inevitable red neon. All that’s missing is the players: mostly European tourists, escorted by low-cost flights. Their slow return is underway, but the city intends to slow it down vigorously, by banning coffee shops to foreigners and by removing prostitutes from the “red light district”.

It has been twenty years since Bert Nap entered the resistance and his self-sacrifice is beginning to pay off. The house of this French teacher, resident of the “red light district” for forty-three years, overlooks the south facade of the Walloon church in Amsterdam and this verse from the Bible: “I will enter your house with Reverense (sic).This psalm 5: 8, he would gladly swallow it – courteously, for he is – to the tens of thousands of tourists who pass through his neighborhood every day and seem to have left the “reverence” at home. He bought a house ” in the woods “ to sleep there on weekends and keep healthy.

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“The quality of life decreases every year”, he said – except, supreme paradox, during the pandemic. Every night the neighborhood takes “Festival tunes”, said Bert Nap, who knows how to tell the time by observing the walkers. If they are still walking straight, it is not four o’clock. “After that, the atmosphere changes every two hours. At 10 p.m., the municipal security forces stop working, because it becomes too dangerous. ”

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Thursday 1er July, it is not yet the revelers who litter the streets, but the seagulls, who disembowel the trash bags on the sidewalk. We come across some sinister mines which are the usual of a historically downgraded district and left to the marginalized, before being a bachelor party destination. In the evening, the atmosphere is already lively, and one can only imagine with dismay the density of the crowd on a Saturday evening when tourism returns.

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