Amsterdam targets young British men and stag parties with 'stay away' ad campaign


March 29, 2023 at 12:37pm


The Capital city has warned rowdy British sex and drug tourists to "stay away"

A digital discouragement campaign targeted at stag parties and UK-males aged between 18 to 35 is being rolled out by the Dutch city council. The new campaign, dubbed 'Stay Away', will involve people searching online for some getaways in Amsterdam and receiving special warnings.

The ads would show the 'risks and consequences of anti-social behaviour and excessive drug and alcohol abuse' including fines, arrest, criminal records, hospitalisation and health issues.

Ad Campaign

The campaign aims to clean up Amsterdam's reputation as Europe's raunchy party capital. 'The campaign will commence in Britain, aimed at males in the age category of 18 to 35 years,' Amsterdam city council said to RTE News in a statement.

'This online discouragement campaign is aimed at nuisance tourists who want to visit Amsterdam to 'go wild', with all the ensuing consequences.'


It would be expanded to 'potential nuisance-causing visitors from the Netherlands and other EU-countries' in the coming year, it said.

People searching for terms such as 'stag party Amsterdam' or 'pub crawl Amsterdam' will be shown warning advertisements," the statement reads.

Pre-existing campaigns

This initiative will be part of longer-term efforts to clean up the city streets.

As campaign videos go, this one is particularly blunt, the video shows young men staggering around, being arrested, and having their fingerprints and mugshots taken.


The online ads, highlight the risks associated with the excessive use of drugs and booze, and the consequences of these actions.

Messaging that appears in the video is uncompromising, signalling that coming to Amsterdam for a "messy night" could result in a €140 fine, a criminal record and fewer prospects.

The video messaging reads "Coming to Amsterdam for a messy night + getting trashed = €140 fine and criminal record = fewer prospects. So coming to Amsterdam for a messy night? Stay away".

Campagnevideo Stay Away versie 1 from Gemeente Amsterdam on Vimeo.



Historical problem

A liberal drugs policy and well-known red-light districts have meant that the city has long been associated with wild weekends away. With budget air travel and the rise of dedicated stag packages (including canal boat cruises with unlimited booze, steak and strip and red light district pub crawls) created by travel agencies, the number of people visiting the capital city has risen over the last decade.

Over the years, videos have surfaced on social media of drunken tourists urinating in public, puking in canals and engaging in fights.

This is not a new phenomenon, over a decade ago the then Major of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan, invited his London counterpart Boris Johnson, to see for himself what Brits got up to, he's quoted as saying at the time, "they don't wear a coat as they slalom through the red light district… they sing 'You'll never walk alone'. They are dressed as rabbits or priests and sometimes they are not dressed at all. I'd love to invite him to witness it."

Criticism of the campaign


Critics argue the targeted ad campaigns are discriminatory and are based on unfair stereotypes of tourists to one of the world's most visited cities.

Justification for the campaign has been outlined as due to "over-tourism" which is testing the local population's patience and compelling the council. Around 20 million visitors - including 1 million Brits - visit the city each year, which has a population of approximately 883,000.

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