Skift Take

Amsterdam is struggling to shake off its historic image of the city where everything goes.

Amsterdam’s Stay Away campaign hasn’t discouraged reckless tourists, according to a letter on Tuesday from the Mayor to the city council.

“The campaign results show that the approach of the campaign partly adjusts the image of the city but does not yet lead to a direct decrease in the attractiveness of the city for party tourists from the UK,” wrote Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema.

Launched in March, “Stay Away” aimed to discourage male partiers from the UK between the ages of 18 and 35. Ads focused on consequences for going wild, such as fines, arrests, and hospitalizations.

The message didn’t get through.

“The alcohol ban, smoking ban, early closing times of catering establishments, [bans against] sleeping in cars and urinating in public, etc., are unknown to a large part of the target group,” said Halsema.

Many tourists still view Amsterdam as a place to let loose.

“Among the target group of party tourists, there is still a strong image of Amsterdam as a city where everything is allowed, including drug use, debauchery, and crossing boundaries,” said Halsema.

Overtourism has been a headache for Amsterdam residents. One longtime local told Skift in March that their quality of life has suffered from overcrowding, road incidents, and noise.

European Partiers Are Next

In early 2024, the city will launch the second phase of the campaign. It will target aspiring male partiers in the EU and the Netherlands, said Halsema. UK partiers will still be included.

City officials will conduct research into how to make the campaign more effective.

Amsterdam Tourism Board Launches New Campaign

On Wednesday, amsterdam&partners, the tourism board, unveiled a new campaign in collaboration with the city government. The campaign is focused on attracting the kind of tourist who wants to “enrich the city” and contribute “positively.”

Called “Renew your view on Amsterdam,” the campaign aims to rectify the one-dimensional image of the city as a place where “everything goes.” It features a variety of locals from all walks of life.

Advertising channels include display programmatic and social media banners, out-of-home digital ads in public spaces, and print.


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Tags: amsterdam, europe, marketing, netherlands, overtourism, tourism, uk

Photo credit: Amsterdam's Red Light District. Matt Pictures / Unsplash

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