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Amsterdam Takes Drastic Measures to Control Tourism

Amsterdam City Council has voted to shut down its cruise terminal in order to control tourism, and pollution. Thus, no cruises from Amsterdam.

It happened very unexpectedly this evening.

I understand why this happened but there are going to possibly be some major consequences by this unexpected vote which I think takes effect immediately.

I expect other cities will be following.

UPDATE. Please see post from Dutch _ Traveler who has clarified my information and has even corrected it.

Posted by
8657 posts

I looked at the news article and it was pretty short on details. I’m not sure when this ban will begin. I believe ports and cruise companies enter into contractual agreements so it is hard to believe it will start immediately.

I am also curious if this ban will extend to river cruises as well. I also wonder if those same ocean cruises won’t simply dock in Rotterdam instead and bus the passengers to Amsterdam.

Cruises add to the local economy so it is quite telling that the council felt the crowding/pollution negatives outweighed the economic positives.

Posted by
2352 posts

hey hey
WOW, not that surprised. with overload of tourism and pollution , had a feeling something drastic was about to happen.
with it's "party atmosphere & reputation", it became too much for the city. as a victim of it's own popularity.
been twice few years back and could see residents not that happy. even our great landlord of an apartment we rented, visiting/discussions with her. plus the owner of the houseboat we rented. very interesting pros and cons.
marijuana smoking in streets and availabity, red light district problems, drunks falling in canals, bachelor parties getting out of hand.
city council says enough is enough.
i'm sure more cities will be following trying to cut back on what they can.
aloha

Posted by
18860 posts

The closure of the downtown terminal does not yet have a timeline, but when it does close, cruising to Amsterdam will go on. Many cruise/cruise ferry itineraries already use terminals in IJMuiden or Rotterdam to provide a shore excursion to Amsterdam, so cruisers will still be able to travel to and from the city - but with different logistics.

Posted by
1427 posts

A few corrections/nuances from a local; the city council has not voted to shut down the cruise terminal, it doesn’t take effect immediately and it wasn’t unexpected.

For some time now there is a debate going on in Amsterdam about how to control the huge number of tourists that visit the city each year. On top of that there is increasing awareness about the huge air pollution caused by these enormous ocean cruise ships. When they’re docked their engines still need to run, at a lower level, to generate the electricity needed to power all systems on board. For years, there has been talk about moving the cruise terminal to a place outside the city. In 2016 the city decided to move the cruise terminal to somewhere more near the harbor, but concrete plans weren’t made yet.
The city did reduce the number of cruise ships that are allowed to dock at the Amsterdam cruise terminal to a maximum of 190 ocean cruise ships per year.
Yesterday, the city council has decided speed up the process of moving the cruise terminal for ocean cruise ships. In other words; it’s time we stop talking about it and start taking action.
That’s it. So there is definitely no immediate shut down of the cruise terminal in Amsterdam. Until the new terminal is ready, ocean cruise ships can still come to Amsterdam and dock in the Cruise Terminal.

Posted by
8245 posts

Venice has already prohibited the large cruise ships from entering the lagoon.

We sailed into Ravenna which is 85 miles south of Venice by car/bus. Most take a much longer train trip requiring one transfer. We found Venice to still be packed.

I also expect Amsterdam to be packed with tourists.

Posted by
2689 posts

The ban of cruise ships for the reason of pollution is really useless and not target-oriented because neither the ships nor their pollution disappear. They are just out of sight. In Germay we have the saying "Aus dem Auge, aus dem Sinn." (Out of sight out of mind).

Much more promissing is to build land power supplies (supplied by renewables) with obligation for cruise ships to use it.

Posted by
6685 posts

Cruises add to the local economy

Not much compared to regular visitors. Cruise passengers spend a lot of their money on the ship.

A study from Bergen, Norway - a popular stop for fjord tours - found
that up to 40 per cent of people never left the ship. For those who
did go ashore, their average spend was less than €23.

https://www.euronews.com/travel/2023/04/20/cruise-ships-erosion-air-pollution-and-overtourism-are-driving-cities-towards-bans

https://theconversation.com/cruise-lines-promise-big-payouts-but-the-tourist-money-stays-at-sea-66350

https://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/environmental-group-says-cruise-ships-bring-far-less-economic-benefit-to-victoria-than-non-cruise-tourism-1.5852288

Posted by
254 posts

The place has definitely become far less enjoyable to visit. I'm pretty sure we have made our last visit there.

Posted by
8657 posts

The economic impact varies on whether the port is merely a stop or if it is an embarkation/debarkation location. My local city (Seattle) is the starting/ending point for Alaska cruises and estimates an enconomic impact of about 900 million dollars a year from cruise passengers.

Posted by
7728 posts

I feel for Amsterdam, it was one of my favorite cities once (still is in my memories). However, limiting crowds is a bit of a fool's errand, lots has been tried, some of it good or needed changes, but most to no effect. A popular place will remain popular until people get disgusted with it, or the cost to go, prices most out of the market. The only effective action I have seen in Amsterdam, was basically shutting the city down for much of the pandemic. I was able to wander the RLD almost alone, even the ladies in the windows had a 6 PM closure. What restaurants that were open were easy to get into, bars were not wall to wall people, it was downright peaceful, if not a bit sad.

Moving the cruise ship dock elsewhere may seem logical, but those ships will still be at the new location, still running their engines...plus a string of buses clogging up the roads to Amsterdam to drop off passengers. It does help the aesthetic for the immediate area of central Amsterdam, and the council gets to pat themselves on the back for taking "bold moves", but not sure it will reduce numbers greatly, solve the problem of pollution, or accomplish world peace.

Posted by
1990 posts

I remember when COVID was finally getting managed and the first cruise ships were beginning to operate again, crowds of locals greeted the passengers as they left the ships. And the passengers were waving back.

It is a shame that the situation has become out of control

I think it all has something to do with Revenge Travel.

I personally know people who can not seem to just relax and stay home. Every month, they are somewhere else and when they are not somewhere else, someone is visiting them from somewhere else.

They all seem to be behaving frantically like they have to see everyone they have ever known before the next pandemic.

Posted by
15724 posts

I personally know people who can not seem to just relax and stay home. Every month, they are somewhere else and when they are not somewhere else, someone is visiting them from somewhere else.

They all seem to be behaving frantically like they have to see everyone they have ever known before the next pandemic.

There is nothing wrong with this. Some people, including me, love to travel. We prefer that rather than just staying home. Many go on vacation to relax. It has nothing to do with being frantic. It's how we enjoy our lives.

Putting a group down because they travel different than you is not the way we do things here.

Posted by
1990 posts

Frank II

I did not feel I was putting anyone or any group down.

I was thinking of persons who I personally know who seem to be traveling frantically for whatever reasons. And some of them seem exhausted like maybe they should not be traveling so much.

I see the news media interviewing people all the time who have been stuck in airports for hours if not days and have no idea when they will finally be able to fly out. I see packed cities on line. and on TV. I see heavily crowded tourist sites like shoulder to shoulder.

And now in a lot of places, we have over 100 degree weather and 90 degree water

That is not my idea of a vacation or relaxing. It does not look like fun to me.

I do my one cruise a year but would like to add one more vacation in the Spring. That is enough for me. I have the money and the time to go somewhere tomorrow if I wanted to but I avoid travel during the heavy travel season. I do not travel during the holidays either.

And I am aware that many other persons feel differently but I am writing about how they look to me. And again I am talking about friends who I speak to or am on Facebook with or get together with. Or when I see travelers being interviewed in the airports or at vacation spots where it is over 100. Or when I see tourists should to shoulder in a museum or waiting two hours in line just to get inside a museum.

I am aware that many persons on this forum have traveled a lot and still do travel a lot. That is why I turn to you for advice and information.

So you prefer traveling rather than staying home but do you go to the popular museums and other tourist sites where you stand in line for an hour or so just to get in and are then shoulder to shoulder because that does not sound relaxing?

Maybe because you and others travel so much, you have a better understanding and attitude of how to travel. Maybe you better know when to go and where to go. Maybe you like crossword puzzles that you do when the plane is delayed or have work to do on line.

So apologies if I said it wrongly and thank you for jumping in and prenting an alternative viewpoint/

Posted by
5144 posts

I agree with Frank II. It sounds like these people bostonphil knows are experienced travellers who have both the desire and discretionary funds to "relax" in their favorite way, which is to travel. Multiple trips per year does not equate to 'frantic'. And I venture to guess that quite a few regulars on this forum would take umbrage at being characterized as such. Speaking for myself only, our trips are, in fact, carefully considered and planned in advance. And we delight in receiving guests who stop by for a visit while on their travels as well.

As for blaming Amsterdam crowding problems on Revenge Travel, I disagree. This has been an identified and growing problem since well before the pandemic. Reducing or eliminating the number of cruise ships porting in the city may help with their pollution problems. Relocating the embarkation/disembarkation point to Rotterdam or other ports may also disperse a proportion of cruisers to other locales, rather than all of them flooding A'dam. Not unlike what Venice has done. How the cities deal with the remaining crowds of non-cruise tourists remains to be seen. But studies have shown that cruisers on average spend much less than land visitors in the places they visit, so are a logical target as a first step in reducing tourism numbers.

And this isn't limited to European ports. Similar restrictions have been enacted in Bora Bora. Both Key West and Bar Harbour in the US are also dealing with cruise ship passenger restrictions.

Posted by
15724 posts

People are free to travel anyway they wish. Sometimes they can only travel during the summer time depending on their jobs, family, etc. While I might not like traveling in high heat or the most crowded time of the year, who am I to judge what other people do or why? i wish to travel the way I like to travel and less experienced people might think it's crazy.

There are even some people who need the answer to every little thing even when their trip is over a year away. But if that's what makes them happy.

Posted by
9436 posts

bostonphil is talking about his experience, his friends, his perspective.
Stop piling on.

Posted by
5144 posts

bostonphil is talking about his experience, his friends, his
perspective. Stop piling on.

Disagreeing with someone's assumptions, and giving a counterpoint view is not 'piling on'. It is an attempt at discussion. Isn't that one of the purposes of a discussion board?

Posted by
1990 posts

First, bostonphil is a girl, not a boy.

No reason to apologize because this happens a lot. I am used to it and not the least bit offended. I even get x rated pictures from x rated sites of girls who think I am a. boy with offers that I can say no to.

I do not mind opposing opinions or other points of view

BUT, I was talking about PERSONAL people in my own life and the travels of these people. And I have good reason to say what I said.

I was not talking about anyone at all on Rick Steves. If some of you do a very lot of traveling and love it, all the more power to you. Good for you. Keep us all updated.

However, cities and resorts are now having to cut back on tourism and visitors because so many people are traveling to the same places at the same time.

So who is doing all this traveling? Probably the more affluent among us with a lot of available time. It is not the lower income or the working classes. it is not persons who have to be in a work place during regular business hours. Those people might take vacations but they have to save for vacations and or take vacation time from their jobs.

Posted by
1990 posts

Mister E

I have friends who are doing ok financially and otherwise. They are very strong environmentalists and progressives. They are opposed to the very large cruise ships because of concerns about pollution. And they wish to stop these large cruise ships from not just porting but also operating.

One friend in particular does scuba diving and goes around the world to great places scuba diving. She can afford it and I assume it not cheap. But she gives me a bad time for cruising once a year on a large ship because of the pollution that cruise ships especially the large ones cause.

Many persons, who are not as fortunate as my friends who want to shut down the very large cruise ships, which includes yours truly can only afford a cruise on the very large cruise ships.

If the very large cruise ships are shut down, I will probably not be able to afford a cruise although I will still be able to travel a couple of times a year to one place for a week or so.

Posted by
1990 posts

I am on Facebook groups for Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Some guests have very bad experiences with Norwegian or while on the cruise. Many are disappointed with good reason.

They post about their experiences and other members jump them and I mean jump them. The jumpers are merciless. It turns out that many of the members who are jumping the poster are in the travel industry and travel free while also getting White Glove treatment. Or they are affluent and in The Haven or Balcony with Spa. They are not the masses in steerage.

Posted by
1990 posts

CJ Jean

"bostonphil is talking about his experience, his friends, his
perspective".

Thank you CJ Jean

I am only talking about my personal experience with observing my personal friends and what I see and what they themselves tell me. I have good reason to say what I said.

I am not talking about anyone else especially any members of this forum.

Posted by
1990 posts

Hi Badger

At least one of the studies you have mentioned is possibly biased because it was done by an environmental group and they want to shut down the cruise industry especially the large cruise ships.

You mention a study that was done in Norway but did not provide a link. So who knows who did it, what was asked and what was the population screened. Why did only 60 percent of the passenger go on shore? But depending on the ship, 60 percent can be a lot of people. There had to be a reason if accurate. And how does the researcher know that only X amount of money was spent.

But furthermore, is it only about money? I sometimes get the feeling when I am in port that we cruise passengers are seen as dollar signs and nothing more. I am there to learn about the culture and to meet people and see the country.

Don't the residents want to know me and show me and teach me.

Forget how much I spent.

Posted by
18860 posts

I try not to be critical of what a city or a country does in situations such as this. They have home rule, generally democratic and generally with thousands of forces working from every imaginable directions. A situation too complicated to make an informed statement about unless you are somehow vested in the location. If they want to close the cruise port, great for them. If they want to double the number of ships, great for them too.

What may have happened is that travel has become so inexpensive that a different sort of tourist has emerged. It will be interesting to see how the natural flow of political life deals with that over time. But I am an optimist and I think it will work out in time.

Posted by
1990 posts

Mister E

"What may have happened is that travel has become so inexpensive that a different sort of tourist has emerged. It will be interesting to see how the natural flow of political life deals with that over time. But I am an optimist and I think it will work out in time."

I fully agree with you. But also it is not just that travel has become so inexpensive but that workers are making so much money, at least in the USA. People have a lot of money right now and are spending it. and one of the ways that they are spending it is on travel.

It will be interesting to see what the near future of travel is.

Yesterday, on the news, there was a very interesting story of international criminals who are coming to the USA as tourists and breaking into the homes of affluent Americans who are on vacation. These Americans were stalked for some times by these international gangs. The criminals knew what they were doing.

Posted by
1990 posts

Frank II

I quote you. and I believe that you are talking about me

"There are even some people who need the answer to every little thing even when their trip is over a year away. But if that's what makes them happy."

Without going into too much that is personal, I have had a difficult and challenging life. I was not able to go anywhere at all for over 20 years of my life

Things have greatly improved and I was able to begin a little traveling about 13 years ago beginning with AARP conferences and graduating to cruises and seeing old friends

I am way behind in travel and I have made some very serious mistakes

I was able to put away some money but i need to budget and can afford one cruise a year. Thus my one cruise. a year has become very important to me. Or i could perhaps afford two or three one week vacations in one destination

My cruise in October will be my second cruise abroad so it is very important to me. It will be my second time traveling since COVID.

There is so much that I. do not know and am trying to learn but I am also very excited about having the opportunity to travel. It means so much to me after being homebound for over 20 years of my life

I am running out of time and money. There are only a few more cruises left . Ditto land vacations.

it seems that you have been more fortunate.

Posted by
15724 posts

Boston Phil... I was trying to point out that we all do things differently when it comes to travel and it is not our place on this board oranywhere to criticize the way others travel. Continue to do the things you have been doing and I wish you happy travels

Posted by
6770 posts

@ Bostonphil- I know this thread is about Amsterdam, but I can't immediately find your Le Havre thread, so apologies that it is in the wrong place.

I saw this you tube video earlier from some American cruisers about a slightly different way (which didn't crop up in the original discussion) to tour Le Havre and of a non ship organised guided tour to Honfleur- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGRYJK53Of0

It also shows you more clearly than anything I have seen before as to where the cruise terminal is and the likely shuttle bus arrangements into town. I reckon it is about 2km from the cruise terminal to the railway station and bus terminal, having now seen this.

Posted by
847 posts

Cruise ships are a terrible thing. They add nothing but money. Oh, yeah, right, that’s it. That is it entirely.

Posted by
967 posts

And that's where I think I'll close this thread as there have been some issues here and I don't need this to turn into a pro/anti cruising thread. Thanks, everyone, for their contributions.