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After a Year Without Rowdy Tourists, European Cities Want to Keep It That Way

Pandemic lockdowns meant fewer crowds and less garbage. Now Amsterdam, Prague and Barcelona want to make some changes permanent.

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On a warm Friday night in July, the sun seemed to linger behind Amsterdam’s low, 16th century skyline. In the red light district, the crush of tourists that was common before the pandemic had long since vanished, making it easy for a delivery worker to cycle past a handful of gawkers around the old town’s notorious storefronts.

While six German men in matching t-shirts ignored signs warning of a €95 ($112) fine as they swilled beers on a nearby footbridge, they were the exception. Mostly, only small groups of sedate strollers were about on this midsummer evening.