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Overtourism in Amsterdam

It looks like residents of the city of Amsterdam are not happy with the current tourism atmosphere. Specifically, they are frustrated with overly rowdy tourists and crowds. It looks like the government will take some steps to curb this sort of over tourism in order to bring more balance in the city.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ceciliarodriguez/2018/05/17/amsterdam-overwhelmed-by-tourists-gets-tough-on-airbnb-tourists-taxes-too-much-partying/#4eda39302be5

Posted by
3326 posts

I had heard about this. Thank you for the link to the Forbes article. I wonder where tourists can board a canal boat if they will no longer be accessible in the city center. So where would those boats be? Not near Amsterdam Centraal?

These changes includes raising the "tourist tax" to 7%. Is that a sales tax that applies to all tourists both Dutch and foreign? A hotel tax? So if you opt to stay in a hotel in Hoofddorp instead of Amsterdam, will this 7% tourist tax not apply? What is the current "tourist tax"?

For a city that has legalized marijuana, soft drugs and prostitution, it seems illogical that they're now upset that such laws actually attract an international clientele who WANTS to partake in these offerings and party.

The two pictures show mobs of tourists. We were last in Amsterdam in April 2016 for the tulips which I would have thought is prime tourist season. We never saw mobs of tourists/partiers like that.

Posted by
8827 posts

Just mail a check to city hall and stay home. That should make the city fathers happy, the money without the bother of outsiders cluttering the city

Posted by
5262 posts

We were there on the weekend after King's Day and were struck by how many tourists were in the central area, and glad we were staying in Haarlem. King's Day itself, at least in the evening, was a zoo, even in Haarlem, but what the hell it's the national holiday. We asked our hotel clerk about the loud street music, and he said not to worry, it would stop at 10:00. Sure, we thought, you bet. But he was right, and by 10:15 the crowds were gone.

Continental makes a good point -- don't act surprised if you legalize pot and prostitution and then become party central for international visitors.

Posted by
3713 posts

It being crowded for special events like King's Day or the Pride Parade, two events which those pictures document, shouldn't be a surprise. Anyplace is going to be crowded for special events like that.

The writers chose photos that dramatically depict very crowded areas. We were there the week before the Queen turned over the reins to her son in 2013. There was a build up of excitement and decoration, and a few folks started partying early, but we were staying in the Museumplein area so we missed a lot.

We flew home on the major day of celebration so we missed what surely would've been a very active scene with the bands that were playing there that night. We didn't miss the set up of banks of port-a-potties for the concerts. Our favorites were the open urinals, certainly not a sight you'd see much of anyplace in the USA.

Posted by
13658 posts

We just picked a nephew and his wife up at the airport this past Wed. after their week in Amsterdam. They had a wonderful time but spent it all on foot just exploring the neighborhoods. Upon my recommendation, they went to see the Red Light canals in the morning before it got insane.

Amsterdam is not one of my favorite cities, I'll be honest about that. We got really tired of (young, male) tourists asking us every other block which way to the RLD. We were also woken up late one or two nights by the drunks on the otherwise-quiet streets outside our hotel. Interestingly, none of the drunks we saw/heard nor requestors for directions to the RLD were Americans, not to say some don't contribute to the issues.

Anyway, reminds me of the frustrations the Venetians and locals in the Cinque Terre are having with being overrun.

Posted by
1213 posts

The only crush of tourists I've seen since I've been here are near the Red Light District and the city center. That was annoying - especially the drunks near the RLD - but it just makes me glad I chose to stay away from the center in De Pijp. Mostly locals, no crowds yet it's an quick walk or tram right to where you want to go. And there are great restaurants and cafes all over the neighborhood. I would think seriously about avoiding a stay in the city center.

Posted by
143 posts

"These changes includes raising the "tourist tax" to 7%. Is that a sales tax that applies to all tourists both Dutch and foreign? A hotel tax? So if you opt to stay in a hotel in Hoofddorp instead of Amsterdam, will this 7% tourist tax not apply? What is the current "tourist tax"?"

Tourist applies to everyone who stays in a hotel/hostel/camping/... in the municipality in Amsterdam. At the moment tourist tax in Amsterdam in is 6% for the centre and 4% outside of it. A lot a Dutch municipalities have a tourist tax and that can also be for things like museums or ferrys. It does apply to non-residents of that municipality, both foreigners and Dutch.

The current tourist tax in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer (eg Hoofddorp and Schiphol) is 6.05%

"For a city that has legalized marijuana, soft drugs and prostitution"
Soft drugs are not legal in NL. There is a policy of "gedogen" (tolerating), but that is not the same as it being legal. Several municipalities restrict this policy in varies ways. For instance by not allowing sales to non-residents.

Posted by
8995 posts

Ban all discount airlines from Schipol Airport and "overtourism in Amsterdam" vanishes overnight.

Posted by
3326 posts

The current tourist tax in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer (eg
Hoofddorp and Schiphol) is 6.05%

Floris, thanks for your info. Does the above mean that Hoofddorp's hotel tax will increase to the 7% tourist tax or stay at 6.05%?

Ban all discount airlines from Schipol Airport and "overtourism in
Amsterdam" vanishes overnight.

So only limit an Amsterdam visit to the wealthy and not for the rest of us? Glad you're not in charge. I will be taking the Deutsche Bahn from Dortmund to Amsterdam Centraal for €19.90. Do you wish to ban cheap rail fares too?

Posted by
143 posts

@ continental: Tourist tax is set by the local municipality. As Hoofddorp is part of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, changes in Amsterdam dont affect Hoofddorp. Just as changes in Haarlemmermeer dont affect Amsterdam. Unless the municipality of Haarlemmermeer changes its tourist tax, that will stay at 6.05%.

Posted by
6773 posts

Heck, we have a tourist tax in my home town. Applies to rental cars, hotels and restaurants, and pays for things like the convention center. Not sure how much it is, but I thought it was pretty common in the US.

Posted by
3326 posts

@ continental: Tourist tax is set by the local municipality. As
Hoofddorp is part of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, changes in
Amsterdam dont affect Hoofddorp. Just as changes in Haarlemmermeer
dont affect Amsterdam. Unless the municipality of Haarlemmermeer
changes its tourist tax, that will stay at 6.05%.

Thank you!

Posted by
2326 posts

I visited Amsterdam in April 2017 and stayed in the Museum district, peaceful and felt like a neighborhood. I mainly explored the 9 Straats area and enjoyed that a lot, any time I got near the fray at Centraal I quickly became irritated and worked my way out quickly.

Posted by
2326 posts

I visited Amsterdam in April 2017 and stayed in the Museum district, peaceful and felt like a neighborhood. I mainly explored the 9 Straats area and enjoyed that a lot, any time I got near the fray at Centraal I quickly became irritated and worked my way out quickly.

Posted by
4535 posts

So only limit an Amsterdam visit to the wealthy and not for the rest
of us? Glad you're not in charge.

While his comment was a joke, it actually did have some truth to it. Most communities that combat over-tourism often resort to raising tourist taxes, which makes visiting more expensive. The thought is more people will stay away, especially those looking just to party versus those with more funds to spend money at stores and restaurants. Limiting AirBB type accommodations also raises the costs of visiting.

It's also true that the permissiveness that Amsterdam is famous for has had its unintended consequences. Cracking down somewhat on that might help alleviate some of their issues.

Posted by
5262 posts

I'm not sure how much of the reason for tourist taxing is to discourage "overtourism," vs. just raising revenue in a politically easy way. Many local governments in tourist areas tax the hell out of hotel rooms, rental cars, and such, often to pay for stadiums and convention centers and the like, but also to raise funds for more general purposes without the voter backlash that might follow raising income or sales or property taxes.

Posted by
1680 posts

The taxes is just a part of a whole package of measures. Like banning bike bar and segway tours, limit the number of nights for places with airbnb. The problem with massive tourism is the commercial interest of among others investment groups buying property only for using it as airbnb “hotels”, as a result prices of houses are rocketing, becoming too high for locals to buy a new one. The locals have a good reason to complain, they want a city that is livable and the measures are really needed.