Amsterdam Alcoholics Paid with You Guessed it-Beer


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Amsterdam has taken the old adage, "If you can't beat them, join them," and ran with it. In order to ensure that the streets of Amsterdam are clean, officials have hired alcoholics to clean the streets, and decidedly chosen a rather unconventional method to pay the workers. After putting in a day of hard work, the men who have been hired will receive the standard expected payment of 10 euros, which is close to $13.

However, that is not all. The men will also receive half of a packet of rolling tobacco in addition to the coveted five cans of beer. The beer will be distributed in segments throughout the day as a means to continually encourage the work. Two cans will be given at the beginning of the day while two cans will be reserved for the lunch period. The fifth can of beer will be distributed after the full day of work has been completed. Not bad for a hard day's work!

Though the decision to employ such a method may seem cavalier, the underlying principle behind the effort took much consideration. According to the head of the Rainbow Foundation project, Gerrie Holterman, there is a methodical society-benefiting purpose for instigating such a plan, which she shared with AFP. "This group of chronic alcoholics was causing a nuisance in Amsterdam's Oosterpark: fights, noise, disagreeable comments to women. The aim is to keep them occupied, to get them doing something so they no longer cause trouble at the park," Holterman said.

Frank, one of the men signed on to participate in the project, explained why such an idea could potentially have positive results. "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. When we leave here, we go to the supermarket and transform the 10 euros we earned into beers."

The program is sponsored by the government as well as public donations, and sure has gotten the public talking.

[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]