Belgians call for tourist beer ban

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

A group of Belgians have started a campaign to introduce a “beer pass” to stop Dutch tourists buying beer in Belgium. The ironic protest comes in response to the introduction pass system to stop ‘drugs tourists’ from buying cannabis in Dutch border provinces.

The ‘weed pass’ was introduced on 1 May in the southern Dutch provinces of Limburg, Brabant and Zeeland. To buy cannabis at a coffeeshop, customers now have to show membership cards, which are only available to Dutch residents.

Residents in border areas complain of nuisance caused by flocks of mainly Belgian tourists crossing the border to buy soft drugs. But opponents of the new law argue that it plays into the hands of criminal gangs who sell soft drugs outside of the officially tolerated coffeeshops. Dutch and European courts have so far rejected pleas that the pass system is discriminatory.

Indignant Belgians who resent what they see as Dutch discrimination have now hit back with a Facebook campaign to prevent “all those drunken tourists who cause a nuisance” from drinking Belgium’s famous beers.

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