European cities like Amsterdam look to show red light to rowdy tourists
Prague, Amsterdam and Barcelona see tourism silver lining in Covid lockdowns
On a warm Friday night in July, the sun seemed to linger behind Amsterdam’s low, 16th-century skyline. In the red light district, the crush of tourists that was common before the pandemic had long since vanished, making it easy for a delivery worker to cycle past a handful of gawkers around the old town’s notorious storefronts.
While six German men in matching T-shirts ignored signs warning of a €95 fine as they swilled beers on a nearby footbridge, they were the exception. Mostly, only small groups of sedate strollers were about on this midsummer evening.
Centuries before its more lurid attractions took hold, Amsterdam was already a tourist draw. As far back as 1345, when a communion wafer at a local church apparently proved indestructible, pilgrims flocked to see the miracle host. In modern times, decidedly less spiritual activities have drawn millions to the city’s quaint, canal-lined quarters. And the noise, rubbish and violence followed...