Bye, Bye Bachelor Parties
Amsterdam has banned beer bikes amid complaints about rowdy tourists being drunk and disorderly. As of November 1st, tourists, bachelor parties, and uncharacteristically rowdy locals will no longer be allowed to ride the obnoxious beer bikes around the Dutch capital’s city centre, striking a major blow for those who like to drink, sightsee, and cycle in circles.
The practice of cycling through the city on a bierfet – a bar on wheels surrounded by bike seats which tourists pedal along while drinking – was invented in the Netherlands in 1997 and has long been popular with visiting stag and hen parties.
However, in 2016 a petition begging Amsterdam city council to outlaw the “terrible phenomenon” garnered thousands of signatures. Amsterdam District Court stated that “the beer bicycle may be banned from the city centre to stop it from being a nuisance,” and on Tuesday 31 October a ruling was passed by judges to enforce the ban, or bierfietsverbod.
Public Order Problem
Per the BBC, the court ruling calls the beer bikes a “public order problem”. For many residents, they’ve become a symbol of the trouble associated with ‘the wrong type of tourism’. The council recently announced plans to increase hotel taxes to try to reduce the number of budget travellers.
The Dutch are famous for their cycling culture but few will miss the inebriated foreigners who commandeer these novelty vehicles, sometimes at the expense of those who use bikes as a practical and sensible way to get on with life.
Amsterdam’s late mayor, Eberhard van der Laan – who died last month – agreed with the residents and instituted a ban on the bikes.
This was challenged in court last year by four beer bike operators, who said that the city was “imposing on people’s freedom”. “The combination of traffic disruptions, anti-social behaviour and the busy city centre justifies a ban,” they said.
In the last year alone, Amsterdam has started keeping a closer eye on Airbnb renters, prohibited the construction of new hotels and tourist-centred shops in the city centre, and increased taxes on hotel rooms, all in an attempt to lessen the negative impact of mass tourism.
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