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Amsterdam warns British sex and drug tourists to 'stay away'


OK, picture this. You're living in the beautiful city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. You're enjoying a quiet afternoon in your apartment, and then you hear this.


INSKEEP: That's the sound of British boys behaving badly, as captured by Twitter user Stijn de Vries.


Now, Amsterdam is rolling out an ad campaign telling the Brits to stay away.


MARTÍNEZ: The videos will be targeted at young men in the U.K. who search online for terms such as pub crawl Amsterdam.

INSKEEP: Sybren Beneder lives in the city and is all too familiar with these groups.

SYBREN BENEDER: Completely wasted, vomiting in the streets, causing a lot of noise, smoking a lot of weed - yeah, especially I think these U.K. males - they just travel in a small car, drive to the city. They just sleep in their car. They just party for a weekend.

INSKEEP: Beneder is a financial tech developer and is not surprised that Amsterdam chose young British people as a target of this campaign.

BENEDER: That's definitely the loudest and the one that is interrupting daily life the most. They're just, like, this stereotypical, annoying tourist. Like, if you close your eyes, you'll probably think of a British young male.

MARTÍNEZ: The city says it'll direct ads at others later this year, but that doesn't matter to Marco Walker. He's the owner of DesignaVenture, a U.K. travel agency that specializes in bachelor parties around Europe.

MARCO WALKER: My first reaction to it was it was discriminatory against the Brits.

MARTÍNEZ: He points out that young men from other countries like to overindulge, too.

WALKER: British guys do tend to drink, but so do the Irish and so do the Germans as well. And perhaps I think the British are quite loud, but they're having fun. The majority of the British groups that I meet are very kind, caring and chatty and fun.

MARTÍNEZ: All in all, Walker believes Amsterdam's campaign could work.

WALKER: You're going to get groups of guys looking at the headlines and thinking, well, actually, is it worth going over there? Maybe we might get messy, and we're going to get picked up and fined or even put in jail.

INSKEEP: But what if that's the life that some people want? City resident Beneder thinks the campaign could backfire.

BENEDER: They are basically warning about the risks of drinking and taking drugs. Well, I think that's actually why they're coming to the city.

INSKEEP: This is like putting an R rating on a movie. It makes some people want to see it more. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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