Alcoholics in Amsterdam Being Paid With Beer to Clean Streets

Alcoholics need alcohol, streets need to be cleaned; with those two facts in mind, the Dutch capital of Amsterdam has decided to pay alcoholics with beer to help keep the streets tidy.

Searching for a way to quell the disturbances that some alcoholics were causing in one of the city parks, the plan was hatched by the Rainbow Foundation project, which is funded by the state and donations.

“This group of chronic alcoholics was causing a nuisance in Amsterdam’s Oosterpark: fights, noise, disagreeable comments to women,” Gerrie Holterman, head of the Rainbow Foundation project, told AFP. “The aim is to keep them occupied, to get them doing something so they no longer cause trouble at the park.”

The men start the day with two beers, work until lunch, are fed a warm meal with two more beers, continue working, and are then off the clock with another beer, 10 euros (approximately $13) and a half-pack of rolling tobacco.

While the novel approach would likely be maligned in other places, it suits Amsterdam’s pragmatic outlook.

“You have to see things like this: everyone benefits,” said Holterman, “They’re no longer in the park, they drink less, they eat better and they have something to keep them busy during the day.”

“It gives our lives some structure,” said one of the participants.

Said another, Lots of us haven’t had any structure in our lives for years, we just don’t know what it is, and so this is good for us.

USA Today reports on the story in the video above.

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article by Melissa Breyer


Donna Ferguson
Donna F4 years ago

I read others' comments, but . . . the alcoholics are still self-harming. I used to live a life of self-harming behaviors. I don't recommend it for anyone.

lisa O.
lisa O4 years ago

Why can't the US figure stuff like this out! Kudos to Amsterdam!

Sue H.
Sue H4 years ago

Good on Amsterdam!

Magdalen B.
Magdalen B4 years ago

Looks like a good idea to me.

barry Werbowsky
barry Werbowsky4 years ago

I have never said this before but by definition I am an alcoholic. I drink for a couple of days then stop. Unfortunitely that is my life,health I am as fit as a fiddle.Giving these guys a few beers, to me that would be demeaning.Lets look at another addiction, SIGARETTES. Ooops I shouldn't mention that now should I. When I walk every day and see 13 year olds smoking.

Lynn C.
Lynn C4 years ago

What a good idea!

Helen Krummenacker

It's a start in the right direction, I guess, but I hope they are also offered options to help them out of what is best a holding pattern and get in control of their lives.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson4 years ago


Jane Cassi
Jane C4 years ago

This is a really creative idea...but are you sure this isn't a story from The Onion?

Lisa D.
Lisa D4 years ago

At first i read the title and thought "that is insane!"

However after reading the article, my mind has been changed.. it is actually a very clever way of keeping them busy while being useful to their society..

They are only giving then a few beers really and truly.. if they can't get over the alcoholism they might aswell learn how to live with it, and that is what they are doing!