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Amsterdam Hostels No smoking

1st July 2008

Amsterdam, the city of Anne Frank, canals, bikes, the famous red light district, and, of course, the infamous coffee shops. So what's to happen when the Netherlands copies many other countries around Europe and introduces a ban on smoking in all hospitality venues in the country on July 1st? Does this signal the end of one of the city's most famous tourist attractions?

Fear not! It's a bit complicated, but bear with me. Venues affected by the new law are all hospitality venues, which means, in a nutshell, anywhere you can get served food or drinks, so think cafes, hotels, restaurants, pubs, discos and snack bars. Anyone in one of these venues will be required to go outside to smoke, unless the venue has a designated smoking area. This is an area closed off from the main area, and smoking is allowed here. However, to protect staff from second-hand smoke, service will not be provided here. With me? Either go outside, or go to an indoor smoking area where you'll not be served food or drinks (for which you have to return to the main area).

So what's to happen in the famous coffee shops? It's almost like the reverse of everywhere else. For the more naïve tourists, food and drinks will be served in a designated non-smoking area. In the more popular smoking areas of the coffee shops, only cannabis will be sold. So if you're looking for a drink or food while you smoke, go join those floating elephants in the other section.



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