Then there was silence on the streets: Developments in the street scene of Rotterdam in the last decade

Cas Barendregt, Dike Van De Mheen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the paper is to give insight in the effects of the Rotterdam drug policy: are there, at first sight, improvements in liveability within the city and in the quality of life of marginalised people? This is an explorative study based on policy documents, literature and qualitative interviews. The Rotterdam street image is described and an overview of measures taken by the municipality to combat and control drug-related and other problems are presented. In general, the street image in Rotterdam became less strongly characterised by the presence of homeless and addicts than in the 1990s and early 2000. In the well-known nuisance-related locations associated with those years the visible presence of the addicts, the drug dealers and the homeless was greatly reduced. In recent years the control of the municipality over the (social) addiction care has increased. Compared with a decade ago, the Rotterdam drug policy has become more pro-active. Although the elements of compulsion and pressure have been increased in the Rotterdam drug policy, it is also coupled with care for the client. Care, treatment and social recovery are the necessary components to prevent recidivism and to decrease nuisance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-511
JournalDrugs-Education, Prevention and Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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