From April 2018, any guide giving a tour to a group of five or more people will need a permit to enter the area. This includes all boat, cycle, walking and Segway tours. What’s more, groups larger than 20 people will no longer be allowed.

Further rules and regulations state that tours must be finished by 11pm, groups are not allowed to convene at places prone to extra traffic, tour participants are not allowed to take photos of sex workers and the use of loud speakers is prohibited. Alcohol and drug use during tours is banned, and prior to starting the tour, operators are obliged to instruct their tour groups to show respect for local businesses, residents and sex workers.

Respect for workers and residents

The number of organised tours visiting de Wallen has risen sharply in recent years. It is now estimated that more than 31,000 visitors a week pass through the area in organised groups. At the busiest times, as many as 27 tour groups an hour cross Oudsekerksplein; the church square in the heart of de Wallen.

Economic Affairs Alderperson Udo Kock said: “To keep the district liveable for the people of Amsterdam and for other visitors, groups should not be too large, and they need to behave themselves. Amsterdam will be deploying additional enforcement staff to check whether guides are complying with the new rules. The fine will be 190 euros for an individual guide offering illegal tours, and 950 euros if he or she is doing so on behalf of a company. Moreover, we will revoke the guide’s permit to give tours in the area after three violations.”