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Alcoholics Are Being Paid With Beer To Clean Up Litter In Amsterdam

1. Alcoholics in Amsterdam are being given beer in exchange for cleaning up litter on the city’s street.

Alcoholics in Amsterdam are being given beer in exchange for cleaning up litter on the city's street.
MIHAI ANDRITOIU/MIHAI ANDRITOIU

The company responsible for the program is the Rainbow Group – a private organisation that’s partially funded by the government. The Rainbow Group say that their aim is to help people dealing with various addictions and homelessness.

2. 20 alcoholics have joined the Rainbow Group’s scheme. They work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and are given breaks to eat a hot lunch, drink beer and smoke cigarettes – all of which are provided.

20 alcoholics have joined the Rainbow Group's scheme. They work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and are given breaks to eat a hot lunch, drink beer and smoke cigarettes – all of which are provided.
MIHAI ANDRITOIU/MIHAI ANDRITOIU

3. The Dutch government say other countries should get rid of “old-fashioned political correctness” and adopt a similar program.

The Dutch government say other countries should get rid of "old-fashioned political correctness" and adopt a similar program.
Michael Kooren / Reuters

4. Janet van de Noord, who runs the Rainbow Group’s scheme, says that the program is “cost effective.”


“It’s quite difficult to get these people off the alcohol completely. We have tried everything else. Now this is the only thing that works. We might not make them better, but we are giving them a better quality of life and it’s better for the neighbourhood, they’re giving something back to society…

“If people are being arrested, it also costs society a lot of money. So this can only be a good thing. I don’t see why other countries wouldn’t want to do it.”

5. The homeless members of the program were cleared from benches in local parks such as Oosterpark.

The homeless members of the program were cleared from benches in local parks such as Oosterpark.

In the 12 months the program has been running, local police have reportedly had fewer reports of muggings and stabbings in the park.

6. One of the alcoholic men involved in the program explained, “I come for the beer. If there was no beer then why would I come?”


He added, “They used to treat us like garbage - and now we are picking up their garbage, we are not the garbage anymore.”

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