Amsterdam Puts Alcoholics To Work - For Beer

Netherlands Working for Beer
AP Photo/Peter DejongFred Schiphorst, an alcoholic and former construction worker, sets out on his daily route to collect litter in Amsterdam's eastern part.



Amsterdam officials are experimenting with a possible solution to the city's problem with chronic alcoholics: put them to work and pay them in beer.

The city is working with a charity in hopes that the initiative will improve the neighborhood and give alcoholics a chance to better their lives, reported the Associated Press. The workers pick up trash in exchange for a daily package that includes a meal, five beers, tobacco and 10 euros ($13.55). All they have to do is show up at 9am three days a week and make it through the morning and afternoon shifts.

The total worth of the package – $25.75 – is less than the Netherlands' minimum wage, but it's better than nothing for people with a crippling addiction and without job prospects. Members of the nonprofit Rainbow Group Foundation hope the positive approach will motivate their participants to rethink their lives and renew within them a sense of purpose.