The latest ruling on large cruise ships could disrupt hundreds of cruise plans when it goes into effect
The crackdown on cruises is expanding to another major city.
In a multi-step effort to tame what they call “nuisance tourism,” leaders in this tourist-favorite city are looking to place limits on cruise ships.
Amsterdam city officials confirmed Friday that they voted to ban cruise ships from disembarking passengers in the downtown area or docking at a terminal near the center of the Dutch capital.
The ban comes as the latest effort by city officials to cut down on the high volume of tourists coming into the city each year and to prevent air pollution.
The political party D66 said in an announcement on Thursday that a majority of the city council voted in favor of the proposal. The liberal political party has a strong focus on combating climate issues.
“Cruise ships in the center of the city don’t fit in with Amsterdam’s task of cutting the number of tourists,” said D66 party leader Ilana Rooderkerk.
Rooderkerk also recently compared cruise tourists to a type of “plague of locusts” when they descend the ship to spend a short time in the city all at once.
The ban is the latest step in the endeavor to clean up the city. Prior measures include restricting marijuana use in the city’s Red Light District and even pleading with male travelers who planned on hosting their bachelor parties there against visiting the city.
“Visitors remain welcome, but not if they misbehave and cause a nuisance. Then we as a city say: rather not, stay away,” Deputy Mayor Sofyan Mbarki said in a statement earlier this year. “To keep our city livable, we now opt for limitations instead of irresponsible growth.”
The goal of lowering air pollution levels in Amsterdam is the other motivation for preventing cruise ships from docking in the capital, of which there are more than 100 every year per the BBC. A 2021 study of nearly one 3,000-person cruise ship found that it had produced the same levels of nitrogen oxides in one day as 30,000 trucks.
Dick de Graaff, director of Cruise Port Amsterdam said that 114 ships were slated to stop in Amsterdam this year, per the Associated Press. Next year? 130 were expected to pass in.
“There is no immediate closing of the terminal. The council’s call is to relocate the terminal – and we await a follow up from the alderman on investigations,” he wrote in an email to AP.
Amsterdam is not the first popular tourist destination in Europe to ban cruise ships from docking in their port. Venice banned the ships from cruising through the city center in July 2021.
The Italian city’s goal for the block against the ships was similar to Amsterdam’s hope: to preserve and protect the “environmental, artistic and cultural heritage of Venice,” per a statement from the government at the time via CNN.
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