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Alcoholics in Amsterdam Can Clean the Streets for Beer


Amsterdam is a very understanding city. You can smoke herb at cafes. Hookers strut their stuff out of mall-like windows. Alcoholics get beer.

Other cities might slap public drunkenness charges or try to lock them up in rehab or shame them through interventions. Amsterdam gives their alcoholics beer. All they have to do is clean the streets. The more they clean, the more beer they get, just so long as they keep on cleaning. Amsterdam doles out two cans of beer in the morning to get them in the mood and moving. They get another two cans at lunch and at the end of the day, the city of Amsterdam gives them another can as a way to say – good job. On top of this they get about $13 a day, enough for a couple beers, plus a pack of rolling tobacco. Tobacco given out by the city? In New York they slap you with a fine for smoking on some streets.

The project was started by the Rainbow Foundation. They wanted to keep chronic alcoholics from causing trouble in Amsterdam’s Oosterpark. They said drunks were fighting and harassing women and being too damned loud. Always trying to make a point. And rambling. The foundation just wanted to give them something to do.

Amsterdam thinks this kills two birds with one stone –  the alcoholics get a sense of personal pride and the city gets some civic pride. On top of that – some of the booze-hounds say that at the end of the day they’re too tired to drink.

  • COED Writer
    Tony Sokol is a writer, playwright and musician. He has written for Silver Tongue, Wicked Mystic and other magazines. He has had over 20 plays produced in NYC, including Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera "AssassiNation: We Killed JFK". He appeared on the Joan Rivers (TV) Show, Strange Universe, and Britain's "The Girlie Show." He was born in Brooklyn, NY.