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Amsterdam Takes Bold Step: Cruise Ship Ban to Address Overtourism

Overtourism has been a much-debated topic in the world of travel for a while now. Some travel hotspots are actively asking visitors to stay away, while certain European cities popular for boozy trips and stag parties are taking measures to clamp down on rowdy tourist behaviour.

Amsterdam has already warned rowdy tourists to stay away and cracked down on smoking weed in the streets of its famed Red Light District. Now, city leaders are targeting what they see as another scourge: giant cruise ships, which dock at a terminal near the center of the Dutch capital.

Political party D66 Amsterdam said Thursday its proposal to relocate the terminal, effectively blocking cruise ships from the city, had been adopted by a large majority of the city council. An announcement said the proposal is meant to address concerns around air pollution emitted by ships and the crush of tourists who pour into the city during port visits.

Amsterdam is expected to receive more than 18 million overnight visitors this year. By 2025, that number could reach 23 million, in addition to another 24 million to 25 million day visits. Under a 2021 ordinance called “Amsterdam Tourism in Balance,” when the number of overnight visitors reaches 18 million, the council is “obliged to intervene.”

Earlier this year, the city launched a campaign revamping its approach to tourism, notably including tactics designed specifically to discourage British tourists on stag parties.

The online “Stay Away” campaign aimed to deter young British men planning to visit Amsterdam to cut loose and “go wild,” warning visitors between the ages of 18 and 35 of the consequences of of drinking too much, taking drugs or behaving antisocially.

Amsterdam also announced this year that it would ban the use of marijuana on the street and take new steps to discourage alcohol in its red light district, the traditional center of the city’s legal sex trade.

Amsterdam’s city council has voted to ban cruise ships in its latest attempt to curb mass tourism and pollution.

The main cruise terminal on the River IJ, which is adjacent to the city’s main train station, will close as a result of the ban.

Amsterdam, the Dutch capital known for its museums, coffeeshops and canals, is one of them. The city recently launched a ‘stay away’ campaign aimed at British men searching for stag dos and banned smoking cannabis on the streets of the red light district. And now, in the latest move to tackle overtourism, Amsterdam is set to ban cruise ships from the city centre.

Amsterdam voted to ban cruise ships in an effort to cut back on the inflow of tourists and reduce pollution from the giant vessels.

“The polluting cruise is not in line with Amsterdam’s sustainable ambitions,” said Ilana Rooderkerk, the local leader of the socially progressive D66 party, which introduced the motion. “Cruise ships in the city center also do not fit in with the task of combating mass tourism.”

Amsterdam’s ban on cruise ships

Amsterdam is one of the biggest cruise ports in Europe, which annually welcomes 700,000 cruise passengers and hundreds of mega-ships. Other cruise ports in the nation include Rotterdam and IJmuiden.

However, the latest move comes in order to cut back on the inflow of tourists and reduce marine ollution from the giant vessels.

A statement from the centre-right party D66, which governs the city alongside the social democrats PvdA and environmentalists GroenLinks, claims that “polluting cruise ships are not in line with the sustainable ambitions of our city.” The liberal party also asserted that the proposed new bridge between the Noord district, the subject of current development initiatives, and the city’s historic southern section could not be constructed with cruise ships passing over it, reported The Guardian.

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