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Dutch Treat: Sex and Drugs Contribute More to Economy Than Cheese

It's official! Sex and drugs are making Holland's economic engine hum more than cheese. Authorities said revenue from red-light prostitution districts and "coffee" shops selling drugs contribute $3.4 billion a year to the national economy, or slightly more than the Dutch consumption of cheese. Official calculations made public on Wednesday under new European guidelines showed the industry accounted for about 0.4 percent of gross domestic product. About half of the consumption is domestic, much of it in coffee shops and brothels, and the rest is from export, primarily of drugs, according to Statistics Netherlands. Britain's Office for National Statistics estimated last month that drugs and prostitution would add almost 1 percent to GDP. But France says "non!" because it says such transactions are not always based on mutual consent.

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- Reuters