Amsterdam Moves to Ban Cruise Ships

July 22, 2023

© NAN / Adobe Stock
© NAN / Adobe Stock

Amsterdam took a first step toward banning large cruise liners under broader plans to reduce mass tourism and pollution, officials said on Friday.

Once implemented, the measures adopted by the city council would bring the Dutch capital into line with other high-profile European cities, including Barcelona, Dubrovnik and Venice, that have already cut cruise liner numbers or are considering doing so.

The council approved the proposed ban on Thursday. "The motivation ... was to reduce the number of tourists, but also for environmental reasons," city spokesman Wouter Moll said.

Amsterdam's executive branch needs to work out details and it is unclear when the measures will be implemented, said Dick de Graaff, managing director of Passenger Terminal Amsterdam. It expects to host 114 sea cruise liners in 2023 with a total of nearly 300,000 passengers.

"We have taken note of the council's call that they do not see any room for sea cruises in the city of the future at the current location," de Graaff said.

"There is certainly no immediate ban on ships - let alone an immediate closure of the terminal."

The city has been actively trying to limit tourist numbers, which run into the millions per year, mainly by discouraging sex and drug-related tourism to the red light district.

Amsterdam resident Peter van Zaanen, 68, believes a cruise ship ban in the city is inevitable at some point. "We're just overcrowded by tourists, and it's not a thing that you'd like in the city that you live in," he said.


(Reuters - Reporting by Anthony Deutsch, Piroschka van de Wouw; editing by John Stonestreet)

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