What do Golden Age canals, care-free two-wheeling down the road and seeing museum after world-class museum have in common?
They’re all top things to experience in Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ vibrant capital.
This week, the city’s been in the spotlight after launching a new campaign warning British tourists seeking a “messy” weekend to stay away. UK travellers attracted to the city’s permissive culture, which includes its Red Light District and cannabis cafes, are being encouraged to go elsewhere – with good reason.
The most surprising thing about the news is that anyone could find this approach the least bit surprising. UK travellers are well aware of their unsavoury “Brits abroad” reputation. In a 2019 YouGov study, Britons were the most likely to take a negative view of their own compatriots, with 57 per cent taking an unfavourable opinion of their fellow countrymen and women as tourists.
In a remarkable show of self-awareness, the research also showed that Brits are the most likely to think that the locals in foreign destinations take a dim view of us as holidaymakers. Around six out of 10 of those questioned thought that residents might have a negative opinion of British tourists, and only 23 per cent believed that we are gladly received.
The faux outrage around the Amsterdam campaign demonstates a willful ignorance of our own well-documented shortcomings, and shouts of “discrimination” on social media are laughable; lack of access to a “stag arrest” (read: ‘hilarious’ prank before being taken to a stripper) is hardly a human rights violation.
Nor is it the first time ‘Brits on tour’ have had to contend with new rules prompted by our over-indulgence. In some parts of the Balearic Islands, those staying in all-inclusive resorts are limited to six alcoholic drinks per day. Other areas have prohibited happy hours, open bars, organised pub crawls and party boat trips. A decade ago the mayor of Malia, on the Greek island of Crete, threatened to keep boozing Brits in “special zones”to be “closely monitored”.
Our boorish behaviour abroad can safely be filed under ‘why we can’t have nice things’, joining such shameful examples as the drunk, flare-up-the-bum louts who made headlines ahead of the Euro 2020 final at Wembley. Yes,…
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