Amsterdam Bans Cruise Ships to Preserve City's Charm

Amsterdam Bans Cruise Ships to Preserve City’s Charm

Amsterdam City Council Takes Stand Against Overtourism, Approves Ban on “Polluting” Cruise Ships

Amsterdam’s ongoing battle with overtourism has reached a significant turning point as the city council greenlights a proposal to prohibit “polluting” cruise ships from entering its port. The move comes as part of Amsterdam’s comprehensive strategy to tackle the pressing issue of excessive tourism.

A spokesperson representing Amsterdam Deputy Mayor Hester van Buren, in charge of the city’s port affairs, confirmed that the council officially sanctioned the proposal on Thursday, signaling a major step towards preserving the city’s charm and sustainability.

The center-left party D66, a member of the council, expressed full support for the initiative, stating that the proposal secured a clear majority during the decision-making process.

The municipality of Amsterdam is now set to conduct a thorough investigation into the implementation of the ban, involving consultations with the management of the North Sea Canal, other canal-side cities, and the Dutch government.

Ilana Rooderkerk, chairwoman of the D66 party, underscored the significance of this move, emphasizing that “polluting cruise ships do not align with Amsterdam’s sustainable ambitions.” Rooderkerk further added that the influx of cruise ships in the heart of the city contradicts Amsterdam’s goal of reducing tourist numbers.

Amsterdam’s tourism figures have been escalating, with an expected influx of over 18 million overnight visitors this year alone. By 2025, this number could surge to 23 million overnight visitors, alongside an additional 24 to 25 million day visits. This rapid increase prompted the city council to intervene under the “Amsterdam Tourism in Balance” ordinance, which mandates action once overnight visitors reach the 18-million mark.

Earlier this year, Amsterdam introduced the “Stay Away” campaign, targeting British tourists, particularly those on stag parties. This innovative online campaign aimed to dissuade young British men, aged 18 to 35, from indulging in excessive drinking, drug use, or antisocial behavior while visiting the city.

Furthermore, Amsterdam also took bold steps to curb unwanted activities in its red light district, the epicenter of the city’s legal sex trade. The city announced a ban on street marijuana use and implemented measures to discourage alcohol consumption in the area. Additionally, in 2019, tours of the red light district were halted, addressing concerns about treating sex workers as mere tourist attractions.

In an effort to curtail tourism and prevent disturbances, Amsterdam has further plans to limit river cruises, convert hotels into offices, and impose earlier closing times on bars and clubs.

While the ban on cruise ships in the city center is a groundbreaking decision, the spokesperson for Amsterdam’s deputy mayor admitted that implementing the proposal will be a time-consuming process. However, the city remains committed to striking a balance between tourism and preserving the unique essence of Amsterdam.

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