Tour guides in Amsterdam get more restrictions

It’s like they hibernate because I only see them during those couple of months Amsterdam has a bit more day light. They drag along sticks and signs, always pay seperate and some of them wear headsets: Tour guides. This year they all have to deal with some strict rules coming from the Amsterdam city council. Do they agree with these new Amsterdam tour guide regulations?

They meet at my place for a coffee and a quick lunch and send the tourists somewhere else. I guess for their own peace of mind and I ask reasonable prices.

Andre is one of the cynical older tour guides who replies to the question if they agree with the new regulations by telling me ‘all Amsterdammers who complain should move to the country side’. He’s been a tour guide for 15 years and has seen the Red Light District evolve.

“A maximum of 20 tourists in one tour, ridiculous! For the locals? Give me a break. If you want peace and quiet, you can move to the countryside. This city lives because of tourists!” – André

Can you guess how many tourists are in this tour photo?


While taking their orders, I see most agree with him. Except for Ellen.

“Well, 27 groups in one hour is a bit too much. If those groups are 30 people big, it might give a lot of noise. Also I agree with not doing tours at night after eleven. And not making pictures of the prostitutes, we can all agree right?” – Ellen

The alley in the Red Light District that helps to remind everyone to repect the ladies and take no photo's. this is one of the Amsterdam tour guide regulations.

The group nodds. Does it mean the guides have to do more tours to get paid the same, I wonder. But that is answered by one of the guides before I get the chance to ask the question.

“The tours will become even more expensive, which means people expect more and more. But will I get paid more? Pfff, not a chance. Also smaller tips because of this!” – No tip woman

High fines

I wonder if it would be ok to remind the woman who just made this comment, she also never tips for her lunches. But then I remembered the fines are going to be pretty high and I ask if they have to pay those themselves or their bosses.

“950 euros when you work for a company and 190 euros when you work for yourself. But it is mostly those cheap smaller tour guides who are students during the day and let people drink or try drugs during the tours who ruined it all.” – André

Two handhaving on bicycles in amsterdam to enforce the Amsterdam tour guide regulations

Amsterdam tour guide regulations – a list

The new regulations will be enforced by extra ‘handhaving‘. So if you’re a tour guide, make sure your permit is up to date and you follow these rules:

  1. The tours must be finished at 11 p.m. the latest.

  2. Tour groups are not allowed to stand still in crowded places like on the bridges of the Oudezijds Achterburgwal and before shops while opened.

  3. Photographing the ladies (sexworkers) is prohibided and tour guides must make sure tour groups turn their backs to them.

  4. Using sound reinforcement, shouting and using alcohol or drugs during the tours is prohibided.

  5. The tour guide has to explain up front to the group how to show respect to locals, ladies and shop owners.