In something of a “what the hell are they thinking?” move, the Dutch government is proceeding with shutting coffeeshop doors to tourists after allowing them to smoke in their country for more than 30 years. With so much of the economy revolving around tourists who specifically visit the Netherlands to smoke openly in the shops – a well honored pastime – the new policies are poised to be an economic death sentence.
Consider these two stats: Each year almost half a million Americans go to a coffeeshop while in Amsterdam – and 10 percent of all tourists who visit Holland cite coffeeshops as their number one reason for a visit. Regardless of statistics or demand, the Dutch coffeeshops will close to all tourists.
The Netherlands originally established their renowned coffeeshops in the 1970s as part of an effort to combat hard drug use by tolerating marijuana (which remains technically illegal). Despite the collapse of the conservative coalition government on April 23, 2012, policies were put into effect banning tourists from coffeeshops in the country’s southern provinces beginning May 1. Amsterdam will say goodbye to the tolerated operations beginning January 2013. Read More