News of: Friday, July 10 2009,
Friday evening, from 9 to 11 pm, there will be a protest against what many see as over-regulation by the Amsterdam authorities.
On Noordermarkt square, in the Jordaan, everyone is invited to stand and drink.
The strict rules for streetside cafes have annoyed so many people, that a group has started, calling itself Ai!Amsterdam (http://www.aiamsterdam.nl). The name is derived from IAmsterdam, the logo that Amsterdam uses to promote itself.
Cafes can have a terrace outside, with chairs and tables, where guests can have a drink. The rules say that standing outside with a drink is not allowed, you must sit on one of the chairs of the cafe.
Standing outside without a drink, for example to smoke (which is not allowed inside any more because of the smoking ban), is allowed.
It is up to cafe owners to explain and enforce the rules.
If cafes get caught with clients who stand outside and drink, they can be fined, and after a few fines they can lose their license.
The rule is strictly enforced by the authorities, who apparently do this by driving by with a camera, take pictures of standing clients with a drink in their hands, and then send the fine to the cafe owner.
This is just one example of the many rules that have been introduced in Amsterdam in recent years. Clamping down on prostitution, soft drugs sales, short-stay apartment rentals, renting houseboats to tourists are other examples, along with rules agains music on boats, music on the street, drinking alcohol in parks etc.
The reason for the city to introduce the rule is that with nice weather large groups of people can block streets, creating hindrance and unsafe situations.
There is a growing annoyance against the increase of rules and this has inspired the people of Ai!Amsterdam to organize the standing drinking party on Noordermarkt square.
Everyone is invited, and you should bring your own drinks (and perhaps an umbrella).
Location of Noordermarkt.