photo by Chris Yunker (Flickr CC)

It may sound like a Dutch version of UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s Big Society: the government cuts social programs and individuals volunteer to pick up the slack.

But in Amsterdam it’s also tourists who are expected to chip in. Imagine a tourist cleaning up your street or telling you to close your shop door in order to save energy by not letting the heat out.

The organization Tourist Save the World puts tourists to work doing good deeds instead of just gawking and buying stuff. But will people start to love tourists or just hate them more?

Well, it’s not as horrific as it sounds. The do-gooder tourists in this case will be part of organized tours and not simply busy bodies poking their noses into local people’s business. The Tourist Save the World scheme may even boost local economies, which do not normally benefit from the tourist trade.

Feitsma said the project aims to attract some 2,400 of the 12 million people who come to Amsterdam every year. Participants are given a map and whatever gear they might need in order to carry out their tasks. A tour lasts three to four hours to complete and there’s a 15 euro ($19) fee. Starting in February, visitors will also have the option to make use of a tour guide.

–Deutsche Welle

In Amsterdam, tourists actually pay to do good. They also sightsee off the beaten path, like in Amsterdam’s multicultural neighborhood of Indischebuurt.

Read more on the story in Deutsche Welle.