Amsterdam is one step closer to saying goodbye to wild bachelor parties and rowdy tourists.
The popular destination is launching a new campaign this spring to curb tourism-induced “nuisance and overcrowding” and build a more responsible visitor economy by 2035, according to the city’s tourism plan. The campaign’s new rules will affect some of the main tourist attractions: the Red Light District, river cruises, pub crawls and coffee shops.
City officials say they’ve had enough of companies “misusing the city’s image to promote it as a place of ‘unlimited opportunity’,” according to the Amsterdam Tourism Vision 2035. The city has long attracted tourists from around the world who want to experience are liberal laws on prostitution tolerance of soft drugs.
Should I book my summer trip now?:Travel experts share how to find the best deals.
Delta Airlines was the most timely carrier in 2022 according to DOT data
Officials say it has been “at the expense of quality of life and accessibility for residents”.
“If we continue like this, I think that in 10 or 20 years there will be no more people living in the city center,” Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema told Nederlands Nieuws. “They will have moved because they can’t afford it, because the atmosphere is too ordinary, because the city has become too dirty… in every way.”
The campaign puts the spotlight on the city’s cultural wealth, such as historic canals and museums. There’s even an initiative called “Stay Away,” which actively discourages visitors planning to “go wild” from coming.
This is not the first time that Amsterdam has cracked down on difficult tourists. In 2019, the city banned tours of the Red Light District. Last year, the mayor wanted to ban non-residents from participating in coffee shops.
Read below how the new campaign could impact travelers.
It’s not just about the Red Light District: 13 cool ways to spend a long weekend in Amsterdam
Overcrowding management:Why bookings could be the future in Hawaii
What are some of the proposed measures?
The tourism plan outlines measures that “have consequences for overnight stays, excessive tourism and nuisance”.
- Shortening the opening hours of bars, clubs and the Red Light District at weekends. Bars and clubs close at 2 a.m. and no new visitors are allowed in after 1 a.m., while sex work establishments close at 3 a.m., three hours earlier than now.
- Restrict river cruises
- Extension of the ban on guided tours and pub crawls
- A ban on smoking cannabis in designated areas of the city centre
- Restrictions on entry and exit points for party boats in the Red Light District.
- Convert hotels to residential or office use
When do these new rules take effect?
The campaign will start this spring and the new rules should be introduced in mid-May. But the overarching rebranding of Amsterdam’s visitor economy will take place in 2035 over the next 12 years.
Will Amsterdam limit the number of tourists?
Yes, the city wants to take action against the number of overnight tourists. In 2019, more than 18.4 million overnight tourists came to Amsterdam. In 2021, the city council adopted a regulation “Amsterdam Tourism in Balance” that has set the number of visitors at 20 million. If more than 18 million people come to Amsterdam, “the mayor and aldermen must take action” – this year the city predicts that many tourists will come.
Katheen Wong is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Hawaii. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org