Amsterdam wants ships to moor less, votes to move terminal out of town in latest tourism blow

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Amsterdam wants to move a cruise terminal out of the heart of the historic capital, the latest step in its ongoing fight against pollution and hordes of tourists clogging its narrow, cobbled streets.

The Dutch capital is one of many scenic European cities – from Rome to Venice to Paris – grappling with managing visitor numbers that are rising again following lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic.

The aldermen of the municipality of Amsterdam voted on Thursday in favor of a motion asking the city to move the terminal from its current location near Central Station.

“A clear decision has been made by the council that the cruise (terminal) should leave the city,” Ilana Rooderkerk, leader of the centrist D66 party in Amsterdam, told The Associated Press in an email Friday. “The Amsterdam City Executive will now work on how to implement it. In any case, as far as we are concerned, the big ships no longer anchor in the city center of Amsterdam.

Dick de Graaff, director of Cruise Port Amsterdam which operates the terminal in the city center, told the AP the company had taken note of the vote and was awaiting the next decision from the municipality.

“There is no immediate closure of the terminal. The council’s call is to move the terminal – and we await a follow-up from the alderman on the enquiries,’ he wrote in an email response.

De Graaff said the Amsterdam terminal expects 114 ships to stop there this year and 130 next year.

The vote is the latest step in the Dutch capital’s long campaign to reduce the impact of tourism. Other measures include a ban on smoking weed in the narrow streets of its red-light district and a proposal to move out of the city center from many windows where scantily-clad prostitutes hang out.

Earlier this year, Amsterdam even launched a campaign called “Stay Away” against what it described as harmful tourism.

“Visitors will remain welcome, but not if they misbehave and cause a nuisance. In that case, we as a city will say: Rather not, stay away,” Deputy Mayor Sofyan Mbarki said in a statement at the time.

For Rooderkerk, banning cruise ships is not just about curbing tourism.

“Dirty cruising doesn’t align with our city’s sustainable ambitions,” she tweeted after the vote.

She said the huge cruise ships sailing to Amsterdam are also preventing the construction of a second bridge over the waterway to connect the city to its rapidly growing northern suburbs.

Cruise liners are not the only mode of transport with restrictions in Amsterdam. The national government has also announced its intention to reduce the number of flights at Schiphol Airport, the busy aviation hub that serves the city.


Associated Press writer Mike Corder in The Hague contributed.

Leave a Comment